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Here's an idea. The City of Beacon buys the old Matteawan train station on the east end of town, which is currently listed at $649,000. We then operate it as part of a feeder line for the main waterfront train station.

This line could ultimately run from the town of Fishkill to the waterfront, picking up passengers from Fishkill, Glenham, the proposed hotel by the falls, Beacon's east end, the proposed developments on the creek and at Madame Brett park, and Denning's Point/Beacon Rivers and Estuaries Institute.

This would save the need for hundreds of parking spaces, promote smart growth, be a viable connection to the far (mountain) end of town, make everything more walkable, reduce traffic, be an integral part of the proposed TOD, and be a draw in itself. It could form a loop with an electric hybrid bus/trolley on Main.

The top floor of the train station could be used to house the Beacon Historical Society, which is currently crammed into a tiny room at the Howland Center. Of course the city will need to put its grant writer to work, but I believe federal funds could be obtained for this type of transportation-related project.

Tags: TOD, train, transportation

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Interesting idea. I wonder if some sort of public-private partnership might be a better option, politically and otherwise.
There you go again Mark coming up with a reasoned solution to the traffic problem.Will anyone listen?
This kind of rational thought is not helping my campaign of fear mongering.It occurred to me that
impending fatherhood may be effecting your ability to think cynically.I pray for your speedy recovery.
Like I said - Draft Mark Roland for DC Legislator.
Visit the Dutchess Goes Green information section on the Dutchess County website to learn more about what Dutchess County government is doing to be green, to share new ideas in how to make Dutchess County a greener place to live, and to learn more about green behavior. Included in the new Dutchess Goes Green section are topics and links focusing on:

Current County GREEN Practices
Household Recycling
Daily GREEN tips
Ride sharing information
Energy Savings in the home
GREEN construction resources
Local and Regional Environmental Groups
Renewable and indigenous energy sources
Janine Lambers said:
We just walked the "Walkway over the Hudson" aka the former railroad bridge just north of the Mid-Hudson bridge in Poughkeepsie - what a delight. (Thanks Tom for the tip) Very simple and practical in design - exactly right - nothing to distract from the stunning river views. We think there must have been close to a thousand people there.

To get there we had to park our car and walk ~ 1/2 a mile to the entrance. The bridge itself is the longest elevated walkway in the US (maybe even the world) with 1 1/4 miles -the place was packed - ergo: give the American people a chance to walk in a safe, beautiful environment and they will walk!
For more info -

That would also be a creative and probably less costly possibility for the Matteawan rail track.
I think this topic morphed into a discussion about the old rail line.
Yes, this idea has been kicked around for years (although having the train station up for sale at this time could be fortuitous.) It's certainly not original to me Many people have thought of it makes sense.The MTA claims "studies show" it would not be effective. Yet every time a city puts in a light rail system, it exceeds expectations within the first year of operation.

Al F. said:
I think this topic morphed into a discussion about the old rail line.

"Vesuvius" wrote: Other communities have successfully converted older rail tracks into walking and bicycling paths, which would be the much more thoughtful alternative.

Most rail trail conversions are for recreational cycling. We need transportation and parking solutions. Bicycles are vehicles and function fine on roads. Pedestrians already have many existing sidewalks. Rather than shunt bicycles and walkers off to a nature rail trail, we can reduce traffic with train and trolley service, promote bicycling with bike lockers at the train, signage, traffic calming, etc.

The MTA were the ones who insisted the River Walk trail NOT be built on the tracks, by the way.
OMG - will people please stop asking the CIty to buy about Mark and some of his friends get together and buy the train station, open the establishment up as whatever he wants to, create real jobs, not drain more money from private citizens, and supplies a dubious need to residents of Beacon.
Great idea - makes sense. It would help the Beacon economy too because I get the sense most day visitors, esp from NYC, aren't thrilled with having to walk up the hill from the train, then several blocks if they want to explore the east side of main. But the question as some below have posed is how best something like that would get paid for. Government takes forever. We'd have to start a social revolution or something.
It's not going to happen. MTA themselves studied this around 2004 and released a report that said serious infrastructure work would have to be done to run a full train on it. I've spoken to a few conductors about the line when I was working on the Harlem line as a contractor. Basically they said all the track would have to be replaced, much of the ballast is not stable anymore and that most if not all of the bridges and culverts need major repair. Currently they only run trucks on it. The mayor insisted to me that they run trains on it 4 times a year but that is not true...Glenham paved over the tracks almost 2 years ago now...and look at the dirt and silt in the crossing at east main. Additionally MTA has said that the entire communications line and all the grade crossings need to be replaced because they are either non existent or to far out of date to use. The tracks are also listed as exempt. No trains run on this rail because they can't. Only the trucks with street tires and trail wheels. They also cannot connect to Brewster anymore because the fence is too close to the tracks on the Putnam Bike Path. Dutchess is also expanding the trail from Hopewell, through Stormville and down to The Putnam line eventually. The whole idea is to create a full network of trails throughout the state. Right now you can get to most of the major towns on bike paths in Westchester and even parts of Putnam. Would be nice if you could do that in Dutchess.

The other major problems with the extra trains are that 1)the trains come in south of Beacon and would not service that station. and 2)they don't have enough room on the tracks as it is now to run anymore trains. They need to build another rail to Croton in order to accommodate more traffic. My old company did some estimating for the possibility of doing this, we did a lot of railroad work. 3) they will need more trains and people to run/maintain them.

The reality of it is that this is a project that will cost many millions if not billions to make happen. Neither the city (Beacon or NYC) nor the MTA nor the State have that money right now.

They stopped running freight on it many years ago and MTA has concluded many times that there is not enough demand for passenger service. While I understand that there is some demand I wonder how much. Who else would you service? Fishkill? Maybe Hopewell? Past that and most people go to Brewster, its closer, so now you need to even more trains, etc. I can say this about demand...I spent the last year dropping my wife off at the station and the amount of cars there has dropped dramatically. Before I started driving her, she used to have to park on Main street if she was even 10 min behind you can always park at least on the hill.

I would rather see it turned into rail trail. I have been renting A LOT of bikes lately and almost everyone asks if there is a rail trail around same with the residents who are buying bikes. The river trail and Dennings is only a 3 mile loop. Poughkeepsie will see an increase in tourism because of the bridge and trail, it is a HUGE boom for New Paltz and Amenia/Millerton have built businesses around their trail. Beacon needs one. There is a huge demand both from tourists and local residents for a local recreational trail that has some length and that will connect Beacon to the rest of the county. When I lived in Tarrytown the bike shop and coffee shop where always busy with people who rode 2 miles off of the rail trail to visit. People would ride from northern and southern Westchester to come visit.

A rail trail in Beacon would be hugely beneficial to the city in many ways.


(AND yes I know I have a bit of a business stake in this...but frankly it's much more than that, I've been donating and supporting rail trails for many years before I opened the shop.)
Hi Tom, thanks for all the technical info. Maybe they no longer run them, but I saw trains (without rubber wheels) on this line when I was at my old store location on East Main. I think for many years someone ran a leaf peeping tour or something. I was also told this was the last of eight lines not converted to rail trail and the MTA wanted to keep options open. I was also told they insisted the river trail be built parallel to the rail bed, not on it. All hearsay at the moment, and apparently very wrong according to your information.

I was not envisioning a full train, but a one or two car feeder, like they used to run from Brewster to Pawling.

As you know, I'm all for bicycling, but I have mixed feelings about a rail trail. A favorite refrain of drivers yelling at bicyclists is "Get on the sidewalk!" With a rail trail it could be "Get on the rail trail." It has the danger of further marginalizing cycling (out of sight, out of mind) as a recreational activity or a kid's pasttime.

Floor one wrote: Since moving to Beacon, I have heard many suggestions as to how to get visitors up to Main Street - everything from "green alternatives", trams, to mini-train systems - all of which are great ideas. But, these ideas are about as viable as the Newburgh/Beacon Ferry (which is subsidized into the millions and would never exist on it's own two paddles).

I was not thinking mainly of tourists. If you look at the major (major) developments on the board, they are all situated along this railway. And you have Fishkill residents, a big contributor to the traffic mess. I believe done correctly, this would be a huge draw for people visiting Beacon as well as current and future residents.

If you want to talk subsidies, the automobile is the biggest beneficiary of subsidies of any mode of transportation, from fuel costs to roads, highways and bridges to parking spaces, increased health care, policing, etc. etc. etc. It may be taken for granted at this point, but it's there. We need to (re)develop other, smarter ways to get around that ultimately cost less--fiscally, socially, environmentally.

The Beacon Ferry may be subsidized, but as it continues to catch on with Orange County commuters, it saves us from offering that many parking spaces on our riverfront, for one thing, as well as taking those autos out of the traffic on 9D.

As far as tourists walking up to town, I agree, it's not such a huge hill to deter most inveterate NYC walkers. As has also been discussed many many many times, there needs to be a specific infrastructure, perhaps a series of broad stairs, with big landings displaying sculptures or info kiosks, maybe the steepest little portion could be an escalator, harking back to our Incline Railway history.

All these things may be "too expensive" or "impractical" but I seem to recall an "economic stimulus" program. Why can't we still look for great public projects in this country? Why do we hand everything over to the highest bidder and hope for the best?

9D Bridge over Fishkill Creek


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