Fjord Trail Drops Some Elements, for Now

Says it will initially take ‘trail-first’ approach

Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail Inc. announced on Monday (June 12) that it plans to remove some elements from its plans for the proposed 7.5-mile trail between Cold Spring and Beacon.

Citing a desire to ensure the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail (HHFT) does not “inadvertently add to visitation and congestion,” the organization said that an environmental impact study it is preparing will not include a play area and outdoor classroom at Little Stony Point, or a swimming area with a floating dock.

The organization is also dropping plans for “forest nets,” a system of elevated wooden walkways that were to carry visitors through forests and have hammocks where people could relax.

Amy Kacala, HHFT’s executive director, said in a statement that the nonprofit, a subsidiary of Scenic Hudson, is taking a “trail-first” approach that prioritizes managing the crowds that visit the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and the impact on Cold Spring. That will mean a focus on the main trail, parking areas, trailheads and a visitor’s center at Dutchess Manor on Route 9D.

The Cold Spring, Philipstown and Nelsonville boards held a joint hearing on Monday (May 8) in the Haldane school auditorium to discuss the proposed Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail.

The Cold Spring, Philipstown and Nelsonville boards held a joint hearing on May 8 in the Haldane school auditorium to discuss the proposed trail. (File photo by Ross Corsair)

Amy Kacala, HHFT’s executive director, said in a statement that the nonprofit, a subsidiary of Scenic Hudson, is taking a “trail-first” approach that prioritizes managing the crowds that visit the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and the impact on Cold Spring. That will mean a focus on the main trail, parking areas, trailheads and a visitor’s center at Dutchess Manor on Route 9D.

In response to concerns expressed on Facebook that HHFT was removing features that would appeal to children, Lori Moss, a representative for the group, said “it is important to note that these features are not completely off the table, but rather they will only be considered after the main trail is built. That is the priority at this point. School groups and families will continue to use points along the preferred HHFT route for recreation and learning.”

Chris Davis, a Philipstown resident and philanthropist who chairs HHFT’s board, said the “focused and strategic approach” will ensure the project provides “managed access” to the park.

“Many of the program spaces were included to accommodate existing local uses of areas within the park,” he said in a statement. “But we want to proceed with care to ensure we don’t inadvertently add to visitation and congestion.”

Construction of the trail began in March. When completed by 2031, it is expected to include the Breakneck Connector, an $85 million segment with a 445-foot span over the Metro-North tracks and a half-mile trail between the north end of the bridge and the train stop at Breakneck.

Another major element is the Shoreline Trail, a 1.5-mile segment along the Hudson River between Dockside Park in Cold Spring and Breakneck Ridge. Parking areas along Route 9D; two comfort station buildings and a trail steward station; and shuttle service for hikers and other visitors are also part of the plans.


A rendering of a shoreline portion of the Fjord Trail

The project, envisioned as a way to reduce congestion in Cold Spring and along Route 9D from visitors to Breakneck, has faced organized opposition from some Philipstown residents who formed a group called Protect the Highlands. Their chief complaint is that the trail will bring more people to the village, especially those wanting to access the Shoreline Trail at Dockside Park.

On May 8, residents filled Haldane’s auditorium to air their concerns at a forum organized by elected officials in Cold Spring, Nelsonville and Philipstown. Kacala, officials from the state parks department and Richard Shea, the former Philipstown supervisor who is a member of HHFT’s board, responded to questions.

HHFT said on Monday that Philipstown and its two villages, along with the Town of Fishkill, have been asked to name representatives to a Visitation Data Committee that will review the project’s traffic study, pedestrian counts and projections for numbers of visitors.

The committee will have funding to hire a third-party consultant to provide technical assistance for its reviews and will share its findings in a series of public meetings this fall, according to HHFT. At those meetings, residents can learn about and comment on alternative routes through Cold Spring, and be able to view live models showing how visitors would use each route, it said.

The meetings will take place before the project’s draft environmental impact study is finalized and submitted to state parks, said the organization.

“HHFT is demonstrating through these actions the degree to which we listen to and incorporate community input,” Shea said in a statement. “I urge all to join in these important conversations to find the best solution for the villages, town and region.”

On June 7, Cold Spring Mayor Kathleen Foley met with Metropolitan Transportation Authority legal and government-relations staff to discuss the proposed Dockside Park to Little Stony Point section of HHFT, which closely parallels the Metro-North Railroad tracks. She said at the Village Board meeting on Wednesday (June 14) that the MTA reassured her it would enforce its safety requirements, which require that the trail be a minimum of 25 feet from the tracks and the fences be at least 8 feet high.

33 thoughts on “Fjord Trail Drops Some Elements, for Now

  1. “HHFT is demonstrating through these actions the degree to which we listen to and incorporate community input,” Shea said in a statement.

    Mr. Shea you obviously didn’t hear the sentiment in the room on Haldane May 8. The “downsizing” of options such as forest nests, floating docks, amphitheaters and swimming areas are an absolute joke when you still propose to build a cantilevered/pillared boardwalk through one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the Hudson River estuary.

    A true downsizing would be to go back to the original woodland trail connecting parking areas to trails and do away with the Walt Disney attractions. And before Amy Kacala accuses us of not providing solutions, a multitude of solutions have come out of the May 8 meeting. These include defined parking areas, paid parking, permitted entry, timed entry and enforcement of all of these. It is HHFT that refuses to budge from their mega-boardwalk plan even when confronted with the negative impacts of their proposal, the least of which were forest nests.

    As part of any EIS study all possible mitigation methods have to be explored, and one of those possible mitigation methods is the no-build option for the boardwalk. If Mr. Davis truly wants the public’s thank you, HHFT should use his sizable donation to improve the parking and east of Route 9D access to the trailheads and implement the solutions provided by the community. Do not use his money to build a mega-attraction that destroys habitat, destroys views and destroys quality of life for Philipstown taxpayers.

  2. This important reporting shows the careful reader two basic things: 1) the apparent “frills” of the trail are now marginalized, thanks to public criticism, and more importantly, 2) the most harmful and excessive aspects of their planning are still, quite unfortunately, with us.

    The folks up in Poughkeepsie are attempting to put lipstick and mascara on a pig! They still want to use Dockside Park as an entry point — an issue which was loudly shouted down by the huge audience at the May 8 meeting as being destructive to the quality of life here in a very small village, and the Fjord Trail people are also stuck on their vision of an elevated boardwalk, along the river, from town to Little Stony Point — another over-the-top idea, involving a long time of construction, noise, and needless distraction from local beauty.

    How about the folks planning this project make Dutchess Manor the main hub, with a trail going south to Breakneck and ending there, and a trail going north to Beacon? Any mention of Cold Spring as being part of this trail will most definitely result in the NY Times and every other paper and magazine around highlighting an attraction that will draw untold numbers of people here, overwhelming the village and Route 9D. A traffic and pedestrian nightmare… End the southern edge of trail at Breakneck! Keep Cold Spring out of this!

  3. I’d like to know more about what Chris Davis envisions as a “focused and strategic approach” to “ensure the project provides “managed access” to the park. What “existing local uses of areas within the park” were the “program spaces” supposed to accommodate? How serious are he and HHFT about not “inadvertently” adding to “visitation and congestion?”

    If HHFT and Chris Davis really want to discourage over-visitation and congestion, perhaps they could stop advertising and promoting this “linear park” and insist that their partners, for example the MTA, do the same.

  4. How did the Fjord Trail forum go in Beacon? I wasn’t able to make it but it seems as if there is less hostility toward the development of the Fjord Ttrail here in Beacon. I, and many of my fellow Beaconites are looking forward to family days planned around biking to Cold Spring and contributing to our neighbor to the south’s commerce.

    • Great! As currently designed, the trail/boardwalk will drop you off at a much degraded Dockside Park, where in order to continue your journey you’ll have to either ride over Market Street and the Lunn Terrace bridge – which has terrible sightlines and is woefully inadequate for biking – or you’ll have to carry your bike through the pedestrian tunnel to upper Main Street.

      Many of us in Cold Spring and Nelsonville are broadly supportive of a bike/ped connection between Cold Spring in Beacon, but critical of how the project is conceived in terms of connecting station-to-station or park-to-park, particularly on the Cold Spring side.

      I believe that in Beacon, a side path up from Madam Brett park along the Fishkill Creek will allow access to the trail from the more populous portions of Beacon. What many of us in Cold Spring/Nelsonville are asking for is to consider utilizing exiting infrastructure within the Village – namely Fair Street and/or Route 9D – instead of building a disruptive boardwalk that intrudes upon the serenity of Dockside Park for all time.

  5. This ‘scaling back’ does not get it back to the point where they had widespread community support. The most pressing point for the people who are concerned is keeping it out of Dockside, and changing the disruptive boardwalk back to a simple footpath. Neither of which are addressed: “Another major element is the Shoreline Trail, a 1.5-mile segment along the Hudson River between Dockside Park in Cold Spring and Breakneck Ridge.”

  6. Most residents in Cold Spring support the Fjord Trail, care about the environment, and worry about traffic. You can put on sign on your lawn and wag your finger, or actually find out more about the nonprofit Scenic Hudson and become engaged in the process. Get the facts and get involved, so others don’t hijack the conversation and ruin it for the rest of us.

    • Not most residents. Please don’t speak for all of us. You don’t live in the affected area. When you do, feel free to judge those of us who are against it. Until then, you can’t.

      • I live at Main and Chestnut, right at the intersection which will be most affected by traffic. There are 10,000 people in Philipstown and less than 2 percent of the population are members of Protect the Highlands, who claim to speak for all of us. Nobody judges those who have concerns and want to get involved to improve it, but I do judge xenophobes who hyperbolize the trail as a catastrophe while it’s still in the planning stage. It’s arrogant and ignores the rest of the community, even if they are not as loud.

        • I live on Fair Street, which is more impacted than Main Street in this whole business, so it does impact me more than you. And not everyone against it is part of Protect the Highlands, so sorry to burst your bubble about less than 2 percent against it.

  7. Good to see democracy in action. The concessions sound good, but stay in the game and keep your eyes on the ball, as the WCWS players would say.

  8. I don’t think the scaling back of “forest nets, and a system of elevated wooden walkways that were to carry visitors” qualifies as “downsizing” — this article’s title — as those programs are an infinitesimal fraction of the overall program and budget.

    As Bowman states, above, none of the hundreds of comments submitted to the developers referred to any of those programs, which means they are not even on opponents’ radar: thus are the developers feigning concessions while throwing us bones. According to the article “HHFT is demonstrating through these actions the degree to which we listen to and incorporate community input is a statement that has no basis in reality.” That is a gross misread of public opinion, and is a false narrative. No matter how many retread politicians join the developers smoke show, I fear we’ll never see the real trail but for the BS that the developers drop on us, and then it will be too late.

    The elephant in the room the developers refuse to address is the usurpation of our last community park at Dockside, and the equivocation of likely realities by the developers’ PR smoke and lip service: phrases like “world-class linear park, “respect the landscape, “convenient parking,” are spun in lieu of more likely realities: pedestrian and vehicle, overcrowding, strain on infrastructure, and resulting degraded quality of life for Cold Springers.

    I do hear some readers making assumptions about how much the support the master plan has or does not have, and insulting those who are against it or put a sign in their yard by implying their ignorance. I find that most unbecoming to public discourse. Such rhetoric only helps to spurn more distrust of trailblazer supporters.

    • With all due respect, I think you meant to write “is a gross misread of the members of Protect the Highlands” opinion. Key word being “opinion.” What is unbecoming of public discourse is a few arrogant armchair “environmentalists” who purport to speak for a community of nearly 10,000 taxpayers.

    • You’re right, “downsizing” is probably too strong, so we have changed the headline. The story also has been updated with new information.

  9. Thank you for that clarification. It is all the more relevant reading now that those insignificant reductions in minor programs was not made in earnest — “features are not completely off the table.” I also note the reference to the ill-conceived and publicly derided idea of a tourist bus fleet further constipating our major thoroughfares. The fleet would be in service of at very most 2 percent of all hikers accessing the park by Metro-North Cold Spring. When Breakneck station is in service, zero hikers will access via Cold Spring Metro-North. Such simple truisms escape the misguided focus of an ill conceived masterplan, and ivory tower dilletante schemes. Why was the topic of the fleet not opened at the recent forum? If such a fleet has more riders than the local trolley I’ll eat my hat.

    • The subject of the shuttle was not addressed in detail at the May 8 forum because it was not among the top 15 questions that were submitted and ranked by local residents. The shuttle will get more riders than the trolley, for which ridership is extremely low at the present time.

      Moss is the communications manager for Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail Inc.

  10. I don’t know anyone who enjoys the dangerous walk alongside Fair Street traffic to get to our trails. Most of us aren’t physically able to take a three-hour mountain climb. With the plans being discussed, no one will have to.

    By saying “no” to improvements in infrastructure, Cold Spring residents are missing out. If you go to Beacon, Peekskill, Hopewell Junction and many other towns, you will see dedicated walking trails that provide a safe place for parents to walk with young kids and for kids to learn to ride bikes; a flat and quiet trail for grandparents to walk and talk with families; and places for runners to exercise and for neighbors and families to enjoy the beautiful parts of their towns in peace and safety.

    I, for one, can’t wait. It’s about time Cold Spring got the investments that allow all of us to safely enjoy our amazing and picturesque outdoors.

  11. Given all the time our Philipstown Planning Board spent on the vastly smaller Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival setup at the former Garrison Golf Club, why doesn’t this truly enormous and town-changing project have to go before the Planning Board before moving forward?

  12. I grew up in Cold Spring and would have appreciated having a Fjord Trail. You can’t stop people from coming to the village or from using outdoor spaces, but what can be done is planning so that we can deal with these challenges. We shouldn’t be afraid to embrace change, especially when that change will increase access to public parks and boost the economy. [via Facebook]

  13. The parking situation needs to get priority, especially around the Breakneck Tunnel. Someone is going to get killed. It’s a beautiful spot; you can’t stop visitors from enjoying the views. [via Facebook]

  14. I am a village resident and hike the trails along Route 9D during the week and with frequency. I am not an anomaly — lots of locals do this and see each other out there — looking at you, Hiking Bandits!

    I was at the May 8 meeting. The opposition to the Fjord Trail careens from “We just want the crowds managed” to “Don’t attract more people here” to “They need to stop writing articles about Cold Spring in The New York Times” and “Businesses shouldn’t use Instagram to advertise, that just attracts more cars to the village” to the root of the matter: “It didn’t used to be like this. Living here used to be friendlier, cheaper; everyone knew everyone else, not at all fancy/snooty; not so many cars parked on the streets.”

    Many of the voices of ardent opposition have the sound of collective grief. The general social contract for living here changed simply by time moving forward. I am amazed at the insistence of more than a few people who genuinely believe Cold Spring is so precious and unique that any change is a personal affront. I can relate: I grew up going to Montauk when it was a shabby beach town.

    I am looking forward to the HHFT to walk or bike to Beacon. The project is not “ceasing.” Other than listing grievances, please direct me to a local action committee that has an organized agenda to work with Putnam County and Albany to manage the car traffic along 9D. [via Facebook]

    • I am a lifelong resident of Philipstown. I grew up here and raised four children here. I understand the sentiments about mourning times gone by. I am also an employee of the HHFT. We are the entity with an organized agenda to work with the county, Albany and all entities involved, including the local communities, contrary to what some may have you believe. [via Facebook]

  15. I spoke against Dunkin’ Donuts when it was proposed for Cold Spring, because I didn’t want the town overrun by franchise businesses and driving out small businesses (and also because I didn’t want my children buying junk food after school every day). Dunkin’ went through, but the village passed a resolution banning franchise businesses, so the effort of protest was successful and Cold Spring benefits from it.

    There can be similar benefit from the reaction to the Fjord Trail. I am in favor of the project, although the compromise of starting it at Little Stony Point seems to me a no-brainer because I don’t want Dockside destroyed by the hordes. There’s real benefit in the discussions about tourism, quality of life and planning that this issue has fostered.

    I live on lower Main Street. I accept the tourists as a fact on the weekends. But encouraging more traffic by promoting Cold Spring as a terminus is a bad idea. There could be a big difference in the impact of the language of “from Cold Spring to Beacon” versus “from Little Stony Point, near Cold Spring” or “from Little Stony Point, a short walk from the Village of Cold Spring.” Take the money allotted for the river boardwalk between Dockside and Little Stony Point and instead use that to create and improve sidewalks from the village to Little Stony Point. [via Facebook]

    • I’m a village resident, too, and 63 years old. I hope to be able to ride my bike to Beacon before I’m too old. [via Facebook]

  16. There are pragmatic issues that need to be addressed with any project of this scale but a certain few extremist, xenophobic individuals (who claim they are not) are hijacking the conversation.

    It’s quite sad, because we love this village and the wonderful people we have met since moving here full-time five years ago. I hope more people get educated and involved so we have a balanced plan that gives all people, including children and grandparents, an opportunity to spend time outdoors together, and for small businesses in town to expand and thrive.

    The West Point Foundry Preserve was also met with disdain back in the day, and now it’s an essential and cherished part of life here — where else is there to go for a walk that’s not on the highway?

    The Philipstown Trail Committee is also getting little support from “old Springers” who don’t want anyone coming here. And that’s a plan for a simple path from Cold Spring to Garrison. It’s been five years and little has progressed with that project. Where are the same people who say, “We support a smaller trail”? I am getting sick of the bullies ruining opportunities for the rest of us. [via Facebook]

  17. The idea of the Fjord Trail is infuriating — it does not serve locals in the slightest. It caters to visitors and further imposes on the natural environment. Ever since the pandemic, there has been more trash and graffiti than ever. Locals can’t enjoy the trails unless it’s the crack of dawn or just before sunset because of overcrowding and tourists with annoying Bluetooth speakers.

    The Fjord Trail cannot be the only solution. The more this plan develops, the more absurd it becomes. Hammocks? Swimming docks? It’s the woods, not a country club. Stop gentrifying everything and let some things be. [via Instagram]

  18. I can’t wait for the Fjord Trail and am pleased to see further evidence that HHFT continues to listen to locals. [via Instagram]

  19. I wonder that R&D due-diligence consideration was ever given as to the concept of a path to be shared by bikers, strollers, assisted conveyances, walkers, personnel, EMTs, all at the same time, or was it just whiteboarded on campus, as well? Such due-diligence would have exposed inherent flaws to this design concept. I believe there’s great liability and risk to the public with such enterprises.

  20. The most disturbing statement in the May 8 town meeting about the proposed Fjord trail was when the Philipstown supervisor acknowledged that the town is struggling with huge crowds of visitors to our parks, then declared flatly: “Limiting [visitors] is not an option.”

    This is an irresponsible statement — and that’s being charitable. Limiting visitors is the policy at countless other natural attractions. You need a permit to hike in the Adirondacks high peaks in summer. “Walk-ins not permitted.” It’s the same at Mount Katahdin in Maine. Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks both limit visitors (Yellowstone with an every-other day odd/even license plate system). There are strict limitations on visitors to Machu Picchu in Peru and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

    All these parks have done the obvious and responsible thing– so that visitors don’t “love the parks to death.” And what is our town doing? It has thrown in with a bizarre scheme hatched by a wealthy resident to build a “world-class linear park” on the Hudson, requiring the pouring of thousands of tons of concrete, threatening the habitats of iconic animals, and attracting even more visitors to our town.

    The wrongheadedness of this plan is staggering. The pity is that the stewards of the magnificent landscape — from our elected officials to the State Parks department to Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper — have deferred to a rich man’s folly.

  21. At Pete Salmansohn’s informative endangered species presentation at the local library a few weeks ago, I learned the Hudson Highlands ranks at the highest level of wildlife biodiversity in comparison with most other regions of New York. That caught my attention because I’m very concerned about how the Fjord Trail, if constructed according to HHFT’s current plan, could adversely affect the wonderful biodiversity this area presently fosters.

    To undertake a project of the magnitude HHFT currently proposes — which includes an elevated 14’-wide boardwalk built on concrete pillars with fencing, running along the Hudson River for most of the way from Dockside to Breakneck Ridge — a lot of concrete, earth-moving machinery, cutting down of trees, and disruption of wildlife and plant species would be involved. At a time when we’re trying to find solutions to climate change, why would we want to replace beneficial natural resources with concrete and other man-made structures that do nothing to sequester carbon or otherwise alleviate our climate crisis? And why would we want to add a proposed 400+ more parking spaces to an already crowded 7.5-mile stretch of Route 9D, which would only entice more fossil-fuel burning cars into the area (“If you build it, they will come!”)? Why not instead limit the number of parking spaces to what already exists and use other methods to manage visitation (e.g., a parks reservation system, metering, diverting to other local less visited parks, more traffic control and enforcement)?

    I support creating a low-impact modest inland trail to give the community a path from Cold Spring to Beacon and to help disperse the mass of weekend hikers to locations other than Breakneck. Installing sidewalks on Route 9D and Fair Street for people to walk from the Cold Spring Metro North Station to the start of the hiking trails could be part of a less disruptive design.

    I do not support HHFT’s ambitious vision of a “future linear park” built along the Hudson. This heavily engineered waterfront attraction would draw added crowds, involve drilling pilings into the riverbed, be both environmentally destructive and hugely expensive, as well as mar irreplaceable shoreline views.

    Preserving and protecting the landscape we residents love and over 100,000 visitors (the number of people who climb Breakneck every year, according to NYNJTC estimates) come annually to enjoy needs to be our top priority, to ensure that generations in the future can enjoy the same. I support the Fjord Trail as a PATH, not a PARK.

  22. In 2021, New York State Parks estimated that 480,000 hikers enjoyed the Hudson Highlands State Park. This is not a surprise to those of us who call the Highlands home. I have lived off Route 9D for more than 20 years and have experienced the beauty of Northgate on a daily basis. I am proud of our scenic trails that allow so many to enjoy the landscape, but am concerned that failure to make smart investments in our trail systems now threatens the land we love so much.

    Look no further than Breakneck Ridge. Over the past few years, Breakneck exploded in popularity, attracting hikers from all over the region. As a direct response to the community’s environmental and safety concerns, Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail (HHFT) — where I am a director — made significant investments in improving Breakneck’s trailhead. By closing unauthorized social trails, and focusing on habitat remediation, HHFT made the area safer for hikers and protected the environment.

    The environmental and safety concerns exhibited at Breakneck continue throughout the Hudson Highlands trail system. Social trails cause habitat destruction, posing environmental risk to wildlife and the land itself. Hikers walk along Route 9D, creating safety concerns. If we continue without a solution, increased visitation will continue to have a detrimental impact on the land and the people who visit it.

    Like Breakneck, these problems can be addressed with proper planning, investment and stewardship. The Fjord Trail offers all of that. HHFT will continue the work accomplished at Breakneck by closing unauthorized social trails and rehabilitating existing habitats. The Hudson shoreline will benefit too, as the trail proposed for the river’s edge is being engineered with ecosystem protection and rising sea levels in mind, a necessity underscored by last week’s devastating flooding. We look forward to a community dialogue about the alternative routes in the fall.

    The simple truth is the status quo is unsustainable, and has been for some time. I am heartened by the level of community engagement, and share many of the concerns that have been raised, but believe that the path to keeping our trails accessible to everyone in our community, enhancing the beauty of our region, and protecting the future of the Highlands for our children and grandchildren, is through thoughtful planning and the investments we make now to boost the longevity and health of our trail system. That’s a future we need to work on together to achieve.

  23. People often confuse “good government” with a particular outcome, but good government is not a desired policy outcome nor public relations; it refers to the hard work of presenting a specific challenge and working with many different people, representing divergent interests, to solve a problem in an inclusive and open way.

    A case in point: Until 1989, NYC’s form of government violated the basic constitutional principle of one person, one vote. That case went all the way to the U.S .Supreme Court. But before the volunteer and independent commission, representing eight different political constituencies, proposed their recommendations to rectify the myriad problems that arose from that challenge, the commission engaged people throughout the city for two years. It hired staff with backgrounds in land use, municipal budgeting and contracting, and political structures. It hosted open panel discussions with opposing experts, released full transcripts of all those meetings, and attended scores of community meetings. It held some 49 public hearings in all five boroughs, some going until 2 a.m. I was fortunate to be on that staff.

    Unfortunately, the NYS Parks Department and its private partners, HHFT and Scenic Hudson, have ignored the principles of good government. They took a community-driven idea for modest, yet needed, traffic safety and trail improvements, and blew them way out of all proportions with high priced consultants, and then branded the project as a world-class ‘community-driven’ attraction.

    And yet — and this is key — concerned people (many with design, environmental and engineering experience) have had to use the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) to gain any true understanding of the proposed project. The HHFT then cries foul when those FOILed drawings, many not looking like the fancy public relations materials, reach the public.

    By the way, not only did the voters of NYC pass the comprehensive charter revision proposals 3 to 2, but as far as I remember we never received any FOIL requests and no legal challenges were ever filed against the revised charter.

    As a great NYC advocate once said, if people trust the process they are more likely to trust the outcome.

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