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Full Speed Ahead For Area Bike/Hike Trail

The Albany-Hudson Electric Trolley operated along the proposed trail corridor. The line transported millions of passengers over its three decades of service.
Albany-Hudson Electric Trail
The Albany-Hudson Electric Trolley operated along the proposed trail corridor. The line transported millions of passengers over its three decades of service.

The Albany-Hudson Electric Trail is a proposed 35-mile bicycling and pedestrian rail-trail path, running from the City of Rensselaer to the City of Hudson. Officials hope to have the trail operational by 2020.

The Albany-Hudson Electric Trail would incorporate the old Albany-Hudson Electric Trolley line into the larger Empire State Trail project. The goal is to complete the walking/cycling trail network from Manhattan to Buffalo by 2020.

The project is in design phase, with public informational meetings being held over the next two months regarding the draft plan. New York State Parks spokesman Randy Simons: "The public comment will really continue for the next year as we conduct the design phase. The plan right now is we will put the bid out for the project in the fall of 2018. We expect to start construction in the spring of 2019."

The  trolley operated between Albany and Hudson from 1899 to 1929.  Today the land is owned by National Grid and used for electrical transmission lines. The utility has agreed to let the state restore the trail.  Y 2 "The state, we've already committed to paying the full $35 to $40 million of construction costs for this 35-mile section of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail," says Simon.

The trail would be between 10 to 12 feet wide, paved with asphalt in more developed sections; surfaced with stone dust in areas of lower use. The proposed pathway runs through Rensselaer County (The City of Rensselaer and Towns of East Greenbush, Schodack, and Nassau) and Columbia County (The Towns of Chatham, Kinderhook, Stuyvesant, Stockport, and Greenport along with the Villages of Valatie and Kinderhook).
A bridge in Albany is not yet part of the trail initiative, but the Livingston Avenue Bridge Coalition's Martin Daley says it could and should be a key connection.  "There's so much happening both in the Albany Warehouse District and with the improvements at the Corning Preserve Trail that we'd really be remiss if we didn't make those physical connections that would support those economic development initiatives in both Albany and Rensselaer with their waterfront development. And the Livingston Avenue bridge provides a remarkable opportunity. The bridge is over a hundred years old and due to be reconstructed or rebuilt, and the current incarnation has a walkway on it. And so if the bridge is reconstructed or rebuilt, the coalition is advocating for the replacement or inclusion of a walkway on the new structure."

Amtrak uses the bridge, considered to be a critical component of a future high-speed rail system.  The New York State DOT and Federal Railroad Administration are examining the structure to see whether the best option would be rehabilitation or replacement.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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