HHFT will host meeting on Monday at Dutchess Manor

At the Wednesday (March 6) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, James Labate and Henry Feldman, who represent the village on the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail Data Committee, submitted a report requesting HHFT take another look at two of its alternative routes.

HHFT’s preferred route would be to have the Cold Spring portion of the trail begin at Dockside Park and follow the shoreline closely to Little Stony Point.

The Labate-Feldman report contends that Alternative Route 2, which runs north from the Cold Spring train platform toward Little Stony Point, avoiding Dockside Park, is the “least obtrusive and most efficient” of five routes identified as alternatives to HHFT’s preferred route.

HHFT has rejected Alternative Routes 2 and 3 in part because they entail blasting rock to achieve a 25-foot setback mandated by Metro-North.

But Labate asserted blasting would not be needed along Alternative Routes 2 and 3, noting that Metro-North’s walkways and platforms in Cold Spring don’t have a 25-foot setback. He also said there are multiple examples of trails that abut railroad tracks.

The report recommends that the consultant conducting pedestrian analysis for HHFT’s preferred route do similar modeling for Alternative Routes 2 and 3, “which have multiple positive attributes the village would prefer.”

Alternative routes
Routes proposed for the Fjord Trail in Cold Spring (HHFT)

Cold Spring Mayor Kathleen Foley and other elected officials met with HHFT representatives on Feb. 29 to examine the two alternative routes. On March 6 Foley said Alternative Route 2 presents the fewest impacts on residential properties and is worthy of discussion.

“What this boils down to is what MTA [the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns Metro-North] is willing to tolerate in terms of setbacks,” Foley said, adding that she, Nelsonville Mayor Chris Winward and Philipstown Supervisor John Van Tassel will continue the conversation with Metro-North.

MJ Martin, HHFT’s director of development and community engagement, said on March 7 that Metro-North has said the trail must adhere to a 25-foot setback from the middle of its tracks.

“If there’s any movement on that, it could potentially change how various alternative routes are ranked,” she said. “But every route has to meet a series of considerations.”

HHFT will host a session at Dutchess Manor on Monday (March 11) to review its Alternative Route Analysis and the Shoreline Trail design. Registration is open at hhft.org for a discussion on April 3 about visitation projections and visitor management strategy.

In other business…

■ The Village Board awarded a $16,190 contract to Livingston Energy to install four electric vehicle charger ports on Main Street.

■ The March 6 meeting included the board’s first discussion of the 2024-25 budget.

■ Foley said the village had sold 199 residential parking stickers as of March 6. Cold Spring officers will be issuing warnings until March 31. Paid parking on Main Street begins April 5.

■ Cold Spring received a “clean opinion” in an audit of its finances for the year ending May 31, 2023. CPA John Costilow said there were “no instances of non-compliance.”

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features

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5 Comments

  1. The Fjord Trail designers are determined to resolve the issue of too many hikers along Route 9D near Breakneck Ridge by creating what will be the equivalent of New York City’s Highline, with more amenities: visitor centers, restrooms, a wide trail along the railroad, night lighting and more parking lots. It seems to me that in attempting to fix one traffic problem, they are bent on creating an even bigger one. “If you build it, they will come.”

    No one, it appears, has suggested the simplest and least expensive solution, which is to add more “No Parking” signs along 9D and move the excessive numbers of hikers to larger parks further north. This is a case of too many people in too small an area, but the HHFT designers are clinging to their amusement park idea without considering what the effects will be on the people and wildlife that live here.

    Scenic Hudson used to be primarily focused on the preservation of wild areas along the Hudson, but now they busy them-selves with creating parks to draw ever more visitors from far-flung places.

    1. Since 2021 parking along 9D had been strategically altered via no-parking signs, and restricted parking areas have been put in place from Little Stony Point up to and a bit past Dutchess Manor. I know this because I hike the 9D trails frequently and I am still a bit miffed I cannot park at the Brook Trail trailhead.

      I am focused on quality of life and how to manage the crowds. I have attended the multiple information events the HHFT has offered. I look at the HHFT website and read the information. Not for nothing, each and every single event, article and presentation of plans touts the two parking lots for visitors, both north of Cold Spring. This is not hidden or secret information. Love the trail, hate the trail, not understanding the plans is not the same as refusing to accept the plans. I want to work with the entire community toward realistic and constructive problem-solving. Blasting inaccurate information undermines that intention.

  2. The point that a trailhead compound at Dockside is the most untenable of all options is a fact that existed before the megatrail concept began to take form. It should be pointed out that one benefit of routes to LSP other than Dockside is that instead of redirecting tourists in the opposite direction from our commercial center, they will continue to go through it – which is a benefit to local shopkeepers that the developers show little interest: why did HHFT propose to redirect all those tourists away from our commercial center in the first place? Merely that village considerations have always taken a back seat in deference to the Great HHFT Masterplan.

  3. Finding solutions to adaptive problems like the lack of pedestrian safety on Route 9D and traffic congestion on that state road is not easy. As we know, it has been 20 years of a variety of folks, organizations and agencies dedicating time to this. We know that not everyone has time to read reports with their busy lives and that is why we have created a video page as a helpful tool.

    Ramirez is the community and visitor relations manager for the HHFT.

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