The New York State Canal Corporation today announced the official opening of a newly rehabilitated four-mile segment of the Erie Canalway Trail/Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail in Schenectady County.
The trail between Washington Avenue in Schenectady and Route 146 in Niskayuna is part of the 35-mile bike-and-hike Canalway Trail between Albany and Rotterdam Junction.
The project included drainage improvements, milling of the existing asphalt surface, and construction of a new 10-foot wide asphalt trail between Jay Street and Route 146. New directional and informational signs also were installed to help trail users navigate the on-street portion of the trail route in the City of Schenectady, between Jay Street and Washington Avenue.
An official ribbon-cutting for the rehabilitated Canalway Trail segment was hosted by Canal Corporation Director Carmella R. Mantello at the Nott Street trailhead in Schenectady. The event was attended by numerous state and local officials, community members, and trail volunteers.
“The Erie Canal is a source of pride for New Yorkers who enjoy its miles of parks, trails and waterways,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “The Erie Canalway Trail provides opportunities for New Yorkers of all ages to experience the beauty and history of the Erie Canal while also encouraging physical activity and promoting economic development in upstate New York.”
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “With the rehabilitation of the City of Schenectady Erie Canalway Trail section, we are one step closer to maintaining the history of the Erie Canal and the rich character of Upstate New York. Preserving the Erie Canal Corridor promotes our natural heritage and maintains access for our communities and tourists alike. Revitalizing our local walkways, bicycle paths, and transportation corridors will promote economic development, create new jobs, and promote vibrant communities for the future.”
Congressman Paul Tonko said, “I commend the New York State Canal Corporation for completing this project which will greatly enhance recreation along the Canalway Trail. I look forward to continuing our partnership with the state and our local communities to develop opportunities along our waterways that will help promote increased use, tourism, and economic development.”
Canal Director Mantello said, “Today’s ribbon-cutting represents another step forward in our efforts to connect canal communities and encourage increased recreation, tourism and economic development along the entire Canal System. As with many other Canalway Trail projects, the partnerships forged between the Canal Corporation and other organizations, including local governments, are vital to the Trail’s success. The Canalway Trail provides a tremendous statewide link, creating new and exciting recreational opportunities here in Schenectady County and all along the scenic and historic Canal Corridor.”
State Senator Hugh T. Farley said, “The bike-hike trail is a wonderful asset for our community and I am pleased to help celebrate the opening of this rehabilitated section. These improvements will be welcomed by the many long-time users of the trail, and will also provide an opportunity for other residents and visitors to discover this valuable recreational resource.”
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said, “As a strong advocate for open space, trails, greenery, physical fitness and good health, I’m delighted to support this project to offer more recreational opportunities to Schenectady County residents. This new Canalway Trail segment will enable residents to enjoy a scenic walk, run or bike ride along the historic Erie Canal and Mohawk River.”
Susan Savage, Chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature, said, “The bike-hike trail is one of the County’s best recreation assets, and we’ve worked hard for the past six years to improve the trail for the enjoyment of all of our residents. Today we are proud to say that the trail is fully connected through all of Schenectady County. Thank you, New York State Canal Corporation, for helping us complete this trail.”
Schenectady Mayor Brian U. Stratton said, “The Canalway Trail was just a dream in Schenectady back in the 1960s, but that didn’t stop local citizens from striving for its creation. Today, the New York State Canal Corporation’s investment to upgrade our local section ensures that this cross-state trail system continues to provide recreation, tourism, and economic development opportunities for residents of Schenectady and our visitors. The repaving and re-engineering of this trail to accommodate those with disabilities was a much needed investment. It ensures that the work started by the Organization for Action on the Riverfront, OAR, led by Eleanor Brown and Dick Blackmer continues to provide benefits to all of us.”
Niskayuna Town Supervisor Joe Landry said, “We are very pleased with the improvements to the multi-use path along the Erie Canalway trail segment in Niskayuna. I would like to thank all the different public and private entities who are responsible for the success of this project, including the Canal Corporation and the New York State Department of Transportation.”
Alane Chinian, Saratoga-Capital Region Director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “The Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail is one of the Capital Region’s great recreational resources. The trail improvements will enhance the experience of cyclists, runners, hikers and others who come from all over to explore the scenic and historic Erie Canalway. State Parks is grateful to the Canal Corporation for spearheading the project.”
Mary Ivey, Regional Director, New York State Department of Transportation, said, “We have been fortunate to work with our transportation partners that see the value of the non motorized transportation facilities along the Erie Canal Corridor. It is through projects like this that we can provide connectivity between residential areas, business districts, schools, parks and communities while reducing emissions and fuel consumption and, those who use the facility will be healthier for it.”
The four-mile Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail segment is part of the planned statewide Erie Canalway Trail linking the Hudson River and Lake Erie. The $1.2-million project was funded through the Federal economic stimulus funds under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The grant was administered by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Partners in the project included the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Schenectady County, the City of Schenectady and the Town of Niskayuna. The project was constructed by Carver Construction Company of Altamont, N.Y.
More than three-quarters of the 348-mile Erie Canalway Trail from Buffalo to Albany is now completed.
The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.
The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. In 1992, State legislation transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.
For more information about vacation opportunities and events along the New York State Canal System, please call 1-800-4CANAL4 or visit www.canals.ny.gov. For information about boating safety and marine recreation in New York State, visit www.nysparks.com or call 518-474-0445.