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Connecting the Capital District: Local initiatives to provide pedestrian paths spring up

The report concluded, "Multi-use paths, bicycle lanes and striped shoulders, which are all pathways, should be all included in an integrated plan to address alternative modes of transportation."

In the town of Guilderland, Supervisor Ken Runion said the town created its own Pathways Committee in an attempt to connect its sidewalks and pathways around town.

Runion said it servers areas "across the spectrum in town," by cutting down on traffic, adding recreation and helping business.

"The original plan was to have a walking path from the Crossgates Mall area to Tawasentha Park," he said. "Tawasentha has a total of 600 acres and probably 6 miles of trails."

The park is also linked to the town's municipal golf course and has small kiosks throughout the park trail system that display color-coded maps for pedestrians. The town keeps the maintained cost down by having "mowed trails."

However, Runion said, the town is looking to increase its number of "hard paths" for baby strollers and other accommodations. The town also has a network of sidewalks, bike paths and multi-use pathways, he added, and is always looking to expand and interconnect the network. The town recently applied for a grant with the state Department of Parks and Recreation to aid its efforts.

"Everything I've heard has been very positive, and a number of people frequently use the trails," said Runion.

Albany County has been involved with several pathway and bike path projects, most notably the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail between Albany and Schenectady counties, and most recently the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail from Albany to Voorheesville.

County Executive Michael Breslin made the announcement in the town of Bethlehem in August that he was asking the county Legislature to enter into an agreement with Canadian Pacific Railway and purchase more than 9 miles of right-of-way in order to build a rail-to-trail path.

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