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Colonie planners picture potential paths

Joshua Poppel, 30, who lives off Old Niskayuna Road, made the 1.5-mile bike ride to the meeting. Poppel is director of the New York Bicycling Coalition. He was the only one at the meeting that biked there.

Poppel, who rides 15 to 20 miles a day, said he sees more people making use of bike and hiking trails.

Poppel said he was eager to get in on the plan so car dependence in Colonie can become a thing of the past. He said he went eight years without a car and can get most of his work and shopping done without one. There is no reason others shouldn't be able to, he said.

However, a large part of the plan, and one that many residents touched upon, was safety. Some in the audience referred to their portions of town as islands surrounded on all sides by high-speed thoroughfares and highways. In some area, walking or riding is not only dangerous, it is nearly impossible.

According to Poppel, plans for extensive trail networks are taking root in communities out West. In an effort to curb childhood obesity, high fuel costs and address environmental concerns such as global warming, municipalities are building up walking and riding infrastructure, he said.

"This kind of plan is the key first step to getting people involved," he said.

Planners will review the proposal drafted by residents. Once resident suggestions are compiled, the proposal will be refined before coming back for public review and ultimately town board approval. The plan will then become part of the comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2005.

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