Posted by: David Giacalone | June 22, 2018

Trail Extension Feasibility Study unveiled

IMG_4095Last night (June 21), the County held a Public Meeting at the Central Library unveiling its Bike Trail Extension Feasibility Study on linking the existing segments of the ALCO Heritage trail along the Mohawk River to Riverside Park and the Stockade neighborhood. Currently, the riverbank trail ends at River Street, along the East Front Street neighborhood.  The meeting was hosted by Ray Gillen, who is the head of County Economic Development and Planning and the chair of Metroplex, and by Gregg Urspring, a representative of the engineering firm performing the Study.

This is a brief summary of the Meeting and the Study. We were promised that the Schenectady County website will soon post the slide images and the text of the draft Study, along with a way to leave comments, and I will add that information as soon as I receive it. [update: Find a link to the PowerPoint presentation from the Public Meeting at the bottom of this County webpage.]

The Feasibility Study:

  1. TWO OPTIONS. The study presents two options for making the linkage from the current extent of the ALCO Heritage Trail to Riverside Park:
    1. OPTION 1: Under the CSX Bridge:  Trail would run under the existing CSX/Amtrak Bridge, with two alternative alighnments (a steeper one with an 11% slope and one with an 8% slope). It would require placing fill against the existing bridge abutmenmt, out to the first pier; constructing a protective cover over the trail where it runs under the bridge; removal is likely to be needed during winter months due to ice floes.
    2. OPTION 2: Front Street Path: It would start at the “Riverside Park Walkway”, cross Union College property (with an Agreement already in place), run through Front St. Park, then along a sidewalk on Front St. and through either CSX railroad or vacant property to the existing ALCO Heritage Trail.
  2. IMG_6724 STUDY ASSUMPTION: Riverside Park is already Part of the Bike-Trail System. The question addressed in the Study is how to link with it. However, to the relief of many at the Meeting who demurred at deciding how to link to the Park without first deciding whether the Park walkway would be converted to a bike trail, the Study does provide that there must be an additional planning stage in which necessary “improvements” are considered at Riverside Park, especially to its existing “walkway”. An example of a possible improvement/reconfiguration of Riverside Park is to create a separate pedestrian path to meet many concerns expressed about a trail’s impact on the Park’s current users. [editor’s note: For explanations of our concerns, see our discussion at http://tinyurl.com/RiversideBikes2 ]
  • There was no final attempt to reach a consensus at the Meeting between Options 1 and 2. More thoughtful evaluation will be possible when the Study is online. At this point, I personally am leaning toward Option 2, given the significant problems raised by placing a segment of the trail under the bridge, with worries about floods and ice floes, and seasonal closings. I still want a chance to read the Study before coming to a final conclusion.
  • See Stephen Williams’ report on last night’s meeting here in the Gazette.

Here are images from the Study slideshow that help illustrate the points above.

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OPTION ONE

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OPTION TWO

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NEXT STEP & RIVERSIDE PARK

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PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS

    Readers of this website know that I am an avid user and strong admirer of Riverside Park (as a mellow and beautiful experience and a photography subject, in fair weather and foul). From the first declarations that Riverside Park would be getting a shared use path — one path for both pedestrians and bicyclists, going in both directions — I have voiced and posted concerns that increased numbers of bicycles, many going at fast speeds, would ruin the Riverside Park experience, for many current users, by creating a “scared use” path. The response from Bike Schenectady proponents has consistently been that they will assure that a shared-use path meets engineering requirements, not that the shared-use notion might be abandoned.

    Therefore, acknowledgment in the Feasibility Study and at the Public Meeting that there must be strong consideration to having separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists, in order for a Bike-Ped Trail to be safe and workable, is a positive outcome.

  •  I presume that, if further study and public input show it is not feasible to reconfigure Riverside Park to adequately meet justifiable concerns over safety and aesthetics — that is, without significant damage to the quality of the Park experience — options will be fully considered and proposed that have cyclists skirting the Park or walking bikes through the Park. [seeˆLet’s Make Riverside Park a Pedestrian Sanctuary“]

 

  • Note that Option Two in the Feasibility Study shows that trail proponents realize we can have a successful Trail without the need to hug the riverbank wherever possible.

As further information or insights arrive, I will update or follow-up this posting.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | June 9, 2018

sidewalking on a pretty Saturday morning

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We had a lovely day for the 2018 Stockade neighborhood Sidewalk Sale, organized by the Stockade Association. Nice weather and friendly vendors made me wish there were more stops on my truncated stroll around the neighborhood. I’m sorry I never made it to east of Lawrence or up Green St. to N. College Street. This posting has two dozen or so photos, including five taken in the lovely garden of Jorge Luis Alvarez (224 Union Street), which you may remember from the fabulous 2016 Stockade Garden Tour.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | May 18, 2018

a selective 2018 Stockade tulip sampler

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My tulip searches around the Stockade turned out to be too early or too late this year. But, on May 14, I grabbed my camera and monopod determined to get a few good photos, despite post-peak fears. Riverside Park’s west-end garden and the entryway to First Reformed Church are featured in this posting. As often happens, I need to thank the sunlight for helping to make things interesting. [Click on an image for a larger version.]

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. . above: west end of Riverside Park, looking [L] east and [R] west . . 

below: entryway of First Reformed Church, Union Street at N. Church St. .

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 Here are two collages, one with Riverside Park tulips and one with First Reformed. Click on either for a larger version:

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Posted by: David Giacalone | May 12, 2018

more arboreal Stockade splendor

Its trees made the Stockade even lovelier than usual on May 9 and 10, 2018. We’re much more than cherry blossoms, you know.

IMG_7129-001 . . Lawrence with pear tree

 

 . . redbuds . 

13 Front St. rear, along Governor’s Lane . . IMG_7142-001

Please enjoy the Slideshow.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | May 6, 2018

cherry blossoms ’round Town

. . above: Central Park Rose Garden; middle: Schenectady City Hall; bottom: Congregation Gates of Heaven, Niskayuna . .

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No, I did not go everywhere in Schenectady and environs where lovely arrays of cherry blossoms can be found outside the Stockade neighborhood [you can go here to see our extensive 2018 Stockade blossom coverage]. But, I did go to City Hall (on Thursday, May 3), and to Congregation Gates of Heaven and Central Park (on Saturday, May 5).  It is now rather official: I have taken enough blossom photos for 2018, and while they last I plan to actually observe them in person, with my own eyeballs.

  • To see a larger version of a photo in the Slideshow, pause the Slideshow on the photo, right-click, choose Show Image in New Tab.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | May 4, 2018

Let’s make Riverside Park a Pedestrian Sanctuary

IMG_4095  Many thanks to the Schenectady Gazette Opinion Page for publishing the Guest Column “Preserve Riverside Park for pedestrians” (May 4, 2018, at C4, by David Giacalone; click for a 2-page pdf. version).

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  • Please let your Schenectady City and County legislators and executives know your opinion about the best ways to preserve what is best about Riverside Park for its users of all ages, and for future generations.
Riverside Park Map H

Riverside Park Map

 

Feel free to download and display our sign, in green, or black and white:

 

Posted by: David Giacalone | May 3, 2018

The Stockade is in the pink (updated)

IMG_7017 . .  view Noon Friday, May 4, from 16 Washington Ave.

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Cherry blossoms arrived in earnest overnight on the Stockade’s Washington Avenue, and around the entire neighborhood. Some serious wind and rain might decimate them this afternoon, but here are some views taken Thursday morning, May 3, 2018, on Washington Avenue. More will be added throughout the day.

 

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  • IMG_6932 update: 5 PM, May 3. See the Slideshow below, which has about 80 images taken early Thursday morning on Washington Avenue, and then around noon in a circuit up Front St. to Lawrence Circle; then south on N. Ferry to Union Street; and then up Washington Ave. and back to Front St. and Cucumber Alley. They are in the order taken, showing what grabbed my eye on each block.

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. . click on the collage for a larger version . . 

. more coming soon .

IMG_6948 . . view of St. George’s Cemetery from N. Ferry St.

MORE – May 3, 2018

To see a larger version of any photo in the following Slideshow, pause on the image, right-click and then choose Open Image in New Tab.

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Feel free to download any photo for non-commercial purposes. If placed online or on paper, please attribute the photo to “suns along the Mohawk” – giacalonephotos.com .

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. . Hill House on Wash. Ave.  IMG_6889

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2-10 Union St.

IMG_6912 . . Washington Ave. at Cucumber Alley

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magnolia tree at Gov. Yates home

. . 17 Washington Avenue. . IMG_7001

EVEN MORE – Friday, May 4, 2018

IMG_7054 The sunlight near noon Friday was brilliant and brought me outside for a bit more blossom watching and shooting. Slideshow II, below, and a few individual images, show the results.

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IMG_7033 . . 15 Washington Ave.

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IMG_7044 . . YWCA front lawn . . IMG_7047

. . May 5th from my front porch:

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FINAL CHERRY BLOSSOM INSTALLMENT for 2018 (May 7, 2018)

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  • Click our Cherry Blossom Category Link for a list of prior coverage of Stockade and Schenectady County cherry blossoms over the last decade.
Posted by: David Giacalone | May 1, 2018

May Day brings a breath of blooming beauty

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. . above: white magnolia trees in bloom at [L] St. George’s south lawn; and [R] Schenectady County Historical Society . .

A warm and sunny May 1st gave me my first opportunity to enjoy and photograph healthy arrays of blossoms in the Schenectady Stockade — at this point, mostly white magnolias on trees and cherry blossoms on a few neighborhood trees that traditionally bloom first. I’m pleased to see healthy buds on other cherry blossom trees that will sure be popping within another day or two of sun and warm temperatures, as well as pink magnolias on the verge, plus some red bud trees about to burst.

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above: cherry blossoms [L] on Front Street south of Lawrence and [R] at Union St. and Washington Ave. 

This slide show presents the first batch of 2018 Stockade Blossoms here at suns along the Mohawk.

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