Saturday, December 11, 2010
More money needed to complete main Geyser restoration in Saratoga Spa State Park.
Crosswalk to state park mulled
Thursday, December 9, 2010
By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Try to walk across Route 50 near Saratoga Spa State Park now and you may risk your life.
But sometime in the future, you may be able to make that crossing from the Railroad Run Trail to the state park without fear.
The city, the Railroad Run Trail Committee and the state park system want to finish the trail connection and build a safe crosswalk after the Route 50 Southern Gateway Study recommended such a crossing just north of the intersection with West Avenue.
The parties plan to meet with the state Department of Transportation soon for guidance, said Alane Ball Chinian, regional director for the Saratoga/Capital District Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“I think we need to turn to DOT to say, ‘What do we do next?’ ” Chinian said after a meeting of the regional park commission Wednesday.
The city still has some grant money to extend the Railroad Run Trail to Route 50, which was always planned but not finished because crossing the state highway is too unsafe, said Barbara L. Glaser, chairwoman of the trail committee.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting to complete it,” Glaser said.
Officials hope to install a HAWK, or high-intensity activated crosswalk system, which Glaser said may be the first in the state.
Pedestrians press a button, which starts overhead lights flashing yellow and then red to motorists, at which point the pedestrians are given a walk signal. After pedestrians cross, the signal goes dark and motorists move again.
The HAWK systems are installed away from intersections on busy highways where pedestrians may need to cross.
The system is expected to cost about $100,000, Chinian said. While there’s currently no money budgeted for the crosswalk, she said she is hopeful that the parties involved could collectively come up with that much.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has applied for a federal recreational trail grant to finish a trail on the park end, past the former railroad building known as the Restoration Building on the northwest end of the park. The new trail would link with sidewalks installed by Springwood Apartments on Ballston Avenue.
Chinian expects grant winners to be announced soon.
Also at the Wednesday meeting, commissioners noted that they don’t have enough money to construct a second pavilion near the spouting geyser at the state park as part of a reconstruction there.
Commission chairwoman Heather Mabee said it would cost somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 to build a pavilion near the Orenda Spring overlooking Geyser Creek and the mineral deposits built up around the spring.