Colonie planners picture potential paths

Residents and town planners sat down Wednesday, Oct. 4, at The Crossings of Colonie to map out potential bike and walking paths for the town.

Ideas brought up at the Pathways Visioning Workshop will help guide future development of sidewalks, and hiking and biking trails in the town.

Several dozen residents, county planners and officials from neighboring towns and villages made appearances at the workshop in the hope of linking the immediate community through a network of paths.

It is a document that inventories what we have on the ground, said Kelly Mateja, town planner. "We have 33 linear miles of sidewalks. We do have a good base. But as the town is adding, as the county is adding, as the state is adding, if we have another massive Route 9 plan going through, we will have a plan in place."

The Planning and Economic Development Department split workshop participants into four groups. Each group, with pens and highlighters in hand, circled, dotted and struck through portions of the town they would like to see connected by paths or sidewalks. The first to be marked was the stretch of Route 9 between Siena College and Newton Plaza, more than a half-mile north of the campus. Every day, students trek back and forth along Route 9, walking trails worn into grass easements.

Residents suggested reconnecting portions of the town that have long been accessed only by car for many. They wanted connectors to Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, the Village of Colonie, the Shaker historic site and the Albany Pine Bush.

For years, residents have made use of the town bike path that extends nearly all of the suburb's 10-mile Mohawk River shoreline from Niskayuna to Cohoes, said Mateja.

The purpose of the plan is to make that path and others that already exist accessible by walking or riding.

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