Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson and State Assemblywoman Pat Fahy bike to work in May 2016. // Photo: MHLC
BETHLEHEM — After nearly nine years, the nine-mile Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, which runs from the Port of Albany to Voorheesville, is expected to be complete this year. The trail, built over a section of railway abandoned by Canadian Pacific Railway in 2003, is meant to encourage physical activity as well as serve as an alternate travel route to destinations in Albany, Bethlehem, New Scotland and Voorheesville
On Friday, May 19, Albany County residents are invited to join Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, New York State Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson, and the New York Bicycling Coalition at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s annual Bike to Work Day.
The free event begins with a light breakfast at 8 a.m. at the MHLC office at 425 Kenwood Avenue in Delmar. At 8:30, guests will hit the trail to ride. Bike to Work Day is open to anyone, whether or not they are able to bike to their place of work from the Rail Trail.
“Bike to Work Day is an excellent opportunity for Rail Trail users to show their support for this community treasure,” said Mark King, Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, which leases and manages the trail between Slingerlands and Voorheesville. MHLC works with in partnership with Albany County, the City of Albany, the Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland, and the Village of Voorheesville to promote and advocate for the Rail Trail as a pedestrian and bicyclist resource in the Capital Region.
Bike to Work Day is an annual MHLC event highlighting bicycling as a zero-carbon transportation option.
“The Rail Trail is an essential route for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said MHLC Outreach Coordinator Daron Blake, “and will be especially important as of June, when improvements and construction on Delaware Avenue in Delmar, NY, between Adams Street to Elsmere Avenue will create detours as the ‘Delaware Avenue Hamlet Streetscape Enhancement’ construction project takes place. The Rail Trail offers an excellent detour opportunity for those who can walk or bike to their destination.”
The Rail Trail is owned by Albany County and is a shared-use path that accommodates all types of non-motorized traffic. Volunteers from Friends of the Rail Trail (FORT), a committee of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, serve as Trail Ambassadors, guiding visitors, patrolling, and serving as trail custodians.
“As the steward of the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, we are pleased to see that so many people have utilized the Rail Trail for recreation and to get to work each day,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “People from all over the county have embraced biking to work as a way to combine a love for the outdoors with environmental consciousness.”
To register for Bike to Work Day, visit the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s website at www.mohawkhudson.org.
The following day, along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail between Elsmere Avenue and Gardner Terrace, Bethlehem will hold a Bike Expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Skills stations will be located along the route and participants are invited to start at either end or anywhere in the middle. Information tents will be set up at Adams Street and Hudson Avenue, behind the Veterans Park and behind the American Legion. A full range of safety information will be available at the tents along with some bike accessories provided by the Bethlehem Police Department.
There will be an area on the west side of the American Legion parking lot for younger riders, where kids can learn a proper A-B-C bike check, helmet fitting and some basic biking skills before heading out onto the trail. Along the Expo route, riders will encounter stations testing their skills on road sign identification, scanning, crazy corners and hazard avoidance.
For those driving to the event, parking will be available in the municipal lot off of Adams Street across from Blue Sky Music or on Kenwood Avenue next to Applebee Funeral Home. Limited parking will be available on the west side of the American Legion, but the town requests that participants not park on the east side.