Click for an interactive maps version of this image: http://beaconline.org
Manhattan has the High Line
Poughkeepsie has The Walkway Over the Hudson
Make the Beacon Line
a legal subsection of the T.O.D.
zoning and rules.
Get the MTA to concede to a rail-with-trail scheme for the Beacon Line from the Klara Sauer Trail to Churchill Street. Rail-with-trail is the idea of a recreational trail running along a working but very rarely used rail line. The concept is not new or radical, it is a widely used concept in the USA with plenty of legal precedent and experience: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rails_with_trails
Notes and Issues:
- Big return for very little investment. A little grading and signage, and you have a way to shunt tourists to East Main from the train station and Dia. Maybe get the MTA to pay for the grading and signage and the city responsible for ongoing maintenance?
- With views of Wey-Gat (Wind Gate, the Hudson Highlands) and the magnificent falls in Madam Brett Park, this is a tourist destination in and of itself.
- Use of Scenic Hudson's Klara Sauer Trail is mandatory for this scheme to succeed, but it is Scenic Hudson's goal to unite Dennings Point with Madam Brett Park. This is the way to do it.
- Dia and Beacon Institute's participation is voluntary, but it's an obvious and excellent linkage for them to the wider city and tourists.
- On weekend summer days, renting bikes at the train station and/ or Dia could be commercially viable.
- Grading: since its a rail line, its already graded, only the little linkages need to be smoothed out. The potential link to Dia off Dennings Avenue runs along an old flat, straight rail bed.
- Fill: past talk has concerned putting fill in between the existing rails. However, it might be superior, to avoid bikers being perched precariously on a narrow ridge, to actually run the trail to the side, filling in the small ditch. Specifically, to the left side of the tracks the entire way (facing Beacon bound) so the trail never actually crosses or touches the tracks.
- Drainage: there are implications with using the ditch rather than perching the trail on the rails, but a cursory survey reveals nothing expensive or prohibitory.
- Sight Lines: Maybe some warnings/ railing in a few spots with rapid drop offs to the Hudson River or MetroNorth tracks.
- Signage: Directions and maps mostly, but the trail intersects no streets until Churchill Street, where the trail should probably end (for now, maybe go to Fishkill and Hopewell Junction/ the Dutchess Rail Trail someday)
- Crosses no streets/ uses no rail bridges. However, you skirt the shoulder of two streets briefly:
- Tioranda/ South Avenue: You need lots of signage, road surface markings and maybe even permanent traffic cones. You have a heavy confluence of bikers, walkers, and cars intersecting in the sharp cornered, narrow, zero visibility gap under the railroad bridge on the way to/ from Madam Brett Park.
- Dennings Avenue: You are already past the Beacon Institute's security gate and don't have to worry about cars. If Dia is involved, the main concern is warning people from turning onto the MetroNorth tracks, which are immediately adjacent with no security barriers at the Beacon Institute's parking area.
- The old dump site: is this a zoning challenge in terms of environmental regulations? The trail barely touches the land on that parcel, this may not be a problem at all.
- Make Dennings Point/ Madam Brett bike friendly? This will require grading and sight lines so as to avoid fast bike/ slow hiker kerfuffles. Not necessary, but a nice touch.
- Suggestion: call it the Pete Seeger Trail.
- Install lighting or close it at dusk?
Please contact me with ideas to flesh the beaconline.org
site out, or any other ideas to stump for the cause of the Beacon Line. I am currently looking for a graphic/ slogan for the advocacy effort.