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Walkway OTH report – October 2009


  Today I went for a short shopping sojurn to the Hanaford’s in Highland . Of course, the walkway is now the primary bicycle-pedestrian crossing. As this is not the summer vacation time of year, and a workday, I was somewhat surprised at the number of people. There must be a lot more people out of work than I had thought. I had expected to meet some touring cyclists at some point. The walkway has already become a gathering place and perhaps the new slogan for the 21st century,at least here in Poughkeepsie, will be “meet me on the walkway”.

  And so there he was, a touring cyclist, with a Giant ATB loaded like a pack mule. I imediately noticed the French tri-color flag protruding from one of those hard shell rack “trunks”. There was a multi colored sticker with the words TOUR DU MONDE A VELO wrapped around it. The first touring cyclist I meet on the walkway and he is from France. I had to quickly remember what little French I knew from high school and that big race in July. He must have recognized me as a fellow kindered spirit, as there I was also with a Giant ATB outfitted with a set of old,beat up, Madden “bread bags”, or in the language of this French touring cyclist,panniers. With my broken French, and he with his broken English, I was able to asertain that his name is Mack, and he had ridden north up route 9W from NYC. One of several “route 9’s” in the area. He had found the days old Walkway Over The Hudson state park somewhat by accident. There is at Haviland road and route 9W, a green bicycle route sign. (route a velo) with a directional arrow pointing down Haviland road to what used to be the primary bicycle-pedestrian crossing,
 the FDR MH bridge north side sidewalk. With the west entrance to the walkway only a half mile from the highway, one certainly can’t miss it as one begins the ride down to that other bridge. With a map, he had pointed to route 9G and inquired about that highway. Parker Ave. in the city of Poughkeepsie is actualy route 9G. I had indicated to him 9G is a smaller (route petite) less traveled highway and would be OK as an alernate route to the much busier US route 9, which is also NY bike route 9 (route a velo 9) and the Atlantic Coast Route. He said “bye” and I said “aurevoir” and wished him “bon chance”, as we parted ways, he going north, and me going west.

10-11-09 Sunday Columbus Day weekend

ohhh… the humanity


the view along Haviland Rd. in Highland – at the west end of the walkway

I had stopped at a convenience store in the city of Poughkeepsie near the east entrance of the WOTH state park. As I was enjoying my late morning snack of juice and a cookie,I had noticed all of the cars going by were all going in the same direction,toward the walkway.When I had arived at the east entrance,I had seen that the dirt parking lot was being used as an auxilary-overflow parking lot. I had also seen today, as on Tuesday, and last Sunday, the old ROW between Parker Ave. and Garden St. was being used as a parking lot. In the dirt parking lot I had seen that a food vendor had set up a cart with a table and an umbrela. A week before the walkway opened to the public, when at the local library, someone had asked me about a food concession at or on the walkway.This may have been that same person. I had indicated to him that the actual walkway is a state park but that dirt parking lot adjoining the walkway ROW,may be city property and may be less problematic than setting up a food concession in a state park.

  There was much ado about the potential economic benefits to the communities on both ends of the walkway. I had read something in the local paper about a county official who was quoted as saying “I don’t get it” in regards to the potential economic benefits of the walkway. FYI: that person is the county economic development official.The walkway still had that opening day feel with what seemed like half the population of Poughkeepsie out on the bridge. (the figures for last weekend were 40,000 – which is a bit more than the population of Poughkeepsie – so my estimate may very well be acurate)

  I had seen that picnic tables had been set up. I had taken a closer look at one of those solar powered structures at each end. They are clearly divided in 2 sections with handicap friendly door handles and a ramp with wood railing common to the walkway. They also have 2 wastewater vent pipes. IE: these 2 structures are,as I had previously conjectured, a public bathroom – yet they both have a sign taped to each door that reads: “STORAGE Authorized Personnel Only” with a NY state park and WOTH logo at the bottom.On the bridge,over the city,there were traffic cones set up in the middle of the walkway. Aparently somebody had missed a section of rubber expansion joint strip,or perhaps a section had come out. The walkway is still a diamond-in-the-rough and over time will be completely finished.Of course next year will be the first major “re-modleing” with the addition of the elevator from Water St. As I weaved my way through the mass of humanity,I found myself at one point behind a more mature fellow my age.I had noticed blood was trickling down his back right calf from a recent wound.I pointed this out to him. He kept pedaling. Ahhh. yes, a fellow velopedic masochist. He will wear the scar on the back of his calf like a “badge-of-honor”

Ulster County Route 22 – view of New York’s “Blue Ridge Mountains” – the Catskills

Ulster County Route 22 – view of the Shawangunk Ridge – Mohonk Smiley Tower can be seen protruding above the ridge

  Once at the west end I would ride one half of my “Fruit Loop Figure 8” ride that goes through the village of Clintondale twice. Today I would ride through Clintondale one tme and ride CR22, with the spectacular views of the “Gunks” and the Catskills, out of the village to Old New Paltz Rd. – the Atlantic Coast Route. I would ride the Hudson Valley RT for the final leg of this short,but very scenic, loop. On the return ride across the walkway, a group of “turbo jocks” and a “turbo diva” passed me as I tried to weave my way through the humanity. I took the oportunity to use this group as my “lead out train” and I followed behind the last rider at a fast,for the walkway,tempo ride of 10 MPH.



  Today I would meet a trio of cyclists going cross country from San Francisco to NYC. They were from New Zealand this time, and so had little or no dificulty in conversing with them. With the walkway and Franny Reese state park,I can make an otherwise drab utilitarian bike ride to the store into quite a nice,albeit relatively short, scenic fall bike ride.At the west end I would ride to the Hanaford’s by way of Franny Reese state park.The park was officialy open to the public 10/16. I wanted to see what the park looked like now that it was a state park. In September,I had ridden to the park in hopes that the construction phase would be complete.It was not. (see previous blog entry)


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