Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

Village to ask Metro-North to keep Breakneck platform closed 

With the hiking season about to begin in earnest, the Village of Cold Spring said it plans to ask Metro-North to keep its stop at Breakneck Ridge closed. 

Deputy Mayor Tweeps Woods, who chaired the Wednesday (April 6) meeting in Mayor Kathleen Foley’s absence, cited the amount of time that first responders spend rescuing injured and stranded hikers from Breakneck’s trails. 

Woods said the request, which is also being made by the Town of Philipstown, will help bring to light safety issues at Breakneck, prompting further discussion with state officials. 

Trustee Eliza Starbuck agreed that Breakneck rescues put “a crazy burden on our emergency service providers” but cautioned that with the Breakneck platform closed, hikers will walk there from Cold Spring up Route 9D, a situation she said is also unsafe. 

Woods said she supports keeping the platform closed “until the Fjord Trail is at least partially up and running.” Trustees Joe Curto and Cathryn Fadde also expressed support for asking Metro-North not to reopen the platform.

The village has asked the Fjord Trail organization to provide an update to its plans at a public meeting at the firehouse in May. No date has been set.

In other business …

  • A public hearing on the proposed 2022-23 budget is scheduled for Wednesday (April 13) at 7 p.m. via Zoom. After adjustments made over the last week, the estimated increase in the tax rate has fallen to 1.95 percent, from 2.16 percent. The final rate will be determined later this month after Putnam County updates the tax assessment rolls. No changes were made to the proposed water and sewer budgets, which are funded through usage fees. 
  • Curto suggested that, with the public restrooms near the pedestrian tunnel opening within days, the village discuss with the Chamber of Commerce long-term options for cleaning and heating the facility. 
  • The removal of mold in the basement of the Cold Spring firehouse has been completed. 
  • Village officials met with Metro-North representatives to discuss options for fixing persistent water leakage in the walls of the pedestrian tunnel under the tracks. 

5 thoughts on “Notes from the Cold Spring Village Board

  1. Hikers are going to create emergencies regardless of whether the Breakneck platform is open. The question is whether we prefer for them to bypass us and disembark at Breakneck or we want them to disembark in Cold Spring and/or drive and park here.

    That the mayor and three trustees cannot see how their position will simply encourage our village to be overrun by even larger hordes of hikers and tourists is baffling. Thank you to Trustee Starbuck for bringing sense to local government. Let’s hope they follow her advice and not the mayor’s.

  2. As a transportation professional and someone who cares deeply about climate change, I find the decision by the Village of Cold Spring to push for the continued closure of the Metro-North station at the Breakneck Ridge station utterly mystifying.

    Breakneck Ridge is one of the most beloved hikes in the Hudson Valley, and keeping the adjacent train station closed doesn’t mean for a second that hikers won’t continue to come in large numbers — it simply means that they’re more likely to drive and park along Route 9D, or walk from the Cold Spring train station, both of which create conflicts that are routinely chronicled in the pages of The Current.

    Further, in a climate crisis, we should be making the greenest transportation solution — taking the train — the absolute easiest for people to choose. I hope the Village Board will reconsider its position.

  3. This is indeed a conundrum! It seems to make a lot of ecological sense to encourage hikers to use the train rather than use cars, presuming they have use of one.

    On the other hand, trains from New York City and other points south stopping at Breakneck Ridge have been observed letting off hundreds of people at a time, which puts tremendous pressure on the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference stewards and state parks staff at the trailhead, to say nothing for masses going up the trail around the same time.

    For hikers who would get off at the Cold Spring station intent on climbing Breakneck, they would not, as Trustee Eliza Starbuck suggested, walk along Route 9D. As a trail steward, I’ve observed that nearly all Breakneck hikers coming from Cold Spring stop at the Washburn trailhead across from Little Stony Point and learn they can get to Breakneck by hiking on the Cornish Estate trail to another trail that leads to 9D south of the tunnel. It’s safe and not on the road.

    When the Fjord Trail plans were being discussed at a recent Philipstown board meeting, Supervisor John Van Tassel remarked that he hoped Metro-North would not open the station until the new construction for that area was completed so that the infrastructure would be in place to handle the number of train-arriving hikers. This helpful action by the MTA would thus reduce the pressure on local rescue squads and other emergency staff.

    This makes a lot of sense. Of course, the big picture is that there are way too many people congregating at one location. Until that is addressed, such as with a permitting system to hike or park, we will continually be nibbling around the edges of a massive and often mind-boggling challenge.

  4. The station should remain closed, because having hikers get off at Cold Spring, load up with paper products from the public restrooms, walk through the village in the middle of the streets and return to do the same is such a positive for taxpayers. [via Facebook]