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Dutchess Rail Trail – phase 4 construction

This final phase of the rail trail encompasses more than just the new 900 foot 5 span bridge over SR 55,as I found out when I was at Old Manchester Rd.,behind Page Lumber,recently.Near the above location,just 500 feet away,work on the new LaGrange trailhead was underway.The following week I was on a City of Poughkeepsie bus that crosses over the rail trail at Morgan Lake.I had seen,to my surprise and delight,that work had started on the connector link trail between the Walkway and the Dutchess rail trail at the Morgan Lake trailhead.And so,phase 4 also includes the construction of the link trail as well.Therfore I will refer phase 4 construction at Old Manchester Road as phase 4a,and the link trail construction as phase 4b.

phase 4a Old Manchester Rd.

  I am currently without a road worthy working bicycle and so used mass transit (the prefered mode of transportation,other than a bicycle,to get to a local multi use trail). I departed the county route E bus at the Page Lumber regional home improvement store.Access to the Dutchess RT south is just behind this store on Old Manchester Road.This is also where the SE end of the new bridge will be.Construction of the bridge supports had just begun.A section of the guard rail at the Wappinger Creek had been removed and a temporary access road between the creek and the highway.,had been made.

  I had noticed a new sign below the trail rules sign.I walked south-east to get a closer look.The new sign read NO HORSES ALLOWED.And so,finaly,it was clear as to the official policy in regards to equestrian use on the Dutchess Rail Trail.This southern section goes past a number of horse farms.I am sure at some point,the issue of Dutches county’s official policy in regards to horses on the rail trail may have come up and so the county put up the signs.

[fgallery id=6 w=710 h=532 bg=ffffff t=0 title=”DRT Phase 4 LaGrange-2″]

  I had also seen a stone with a Bronze plaque,like the Michael Murphy Memorial at Morgan Lake.This was to denote the LaGrange Old Manchester Trailhead.The gravel that was on the access trail,at this location,had been removed and I could see that construction of supports, for a bridge over a small stream,was underway.I walked back to Old Manchester Rd. to get a picture from the other side of the stream,if possible.I then saw that a new parking lot had been mostly completed.It had been paved and the concrete curb around the lot perimiter was in place.I have to question the sanity of having 2 trail access points with parking lots,just 500 feet from each other.In the original 2006 plans this second parking lot,and trail access,is shown on the map at the location where this new parking lot is.The parking lot behind Page Lumber was an existing parking lot and an access trail/path was constructed during phase 3.  I had thought I had mis-interpreted that 2006 map.In general,I have to question the need for so many parking lots and/or the capacity of each parking lot.The Dutchess rail trail has become very popular since the first section opened in 2007.The county is getting into a slipery slope by enlarging existing lots for the trail or building additional parking lots near a trail access point that already has a modest sized parking lot thus encouraging personal car use on the already congested area roads and highways.If a parking lot fills up quickly on a weekend,so be it.People should be encouraged to use mass transit or car pool.On the 2011 rail trail map,(which will be obsolete by October) there is no indication of bus stops that are near the trail.

  The city of Poghkeepsie NORTHSIDE route bus serves the Dutchess RT Morgan Lake Trailhead and the Walkway OTH stairs on Washington Ave.The MAIN STREET and SHOPPERS SPECIAL buses,all of the LOOP buses,the UCAT LINK buses,and other buses,stop at the Transportation Center – Metro North and Amtrak rail station. (the station is owned by Metro North) When the new Walkway elevator is complete,there will be access to the Walkway a short distance away on Water Street.The county LOOP bus route E serves the Dutchess RT at the Old Manchester twin trailheads behind the Page Lumber store and the LOOP route F bus serves Hopewell Jct. note: the stop is at the Unity Plaza (A&P) the Dutchess RT Hopewell Depot trailhead is a short distance away – see map

Poughkeepsie Area Transportation

link to un-official 2009 annotated phase 2 map showing bus stops

the east end of the Walkway – April,2011

phase 4b connector link trail – Walkway east end

  For this section,I would use one of the the enviromentaly friendly city of Poughkeepsie hybrid buses,the MAIN STREET route, to ge me relatively close to the Walkway stairs on Washington St.I would walk the short rail trail section of the Walkway park east,past the Walkway East pavilion through the parking lot to the very end of the Walkway,and the west end of the link connector-trail-to-be.I had noted that the parking lot was almost empty except for one vehicle.I did notice that the dirt parking lot on Parker Ave was almost full.This parking lot,I think,is a private lot for the shops across the street.Work was in the early stage.I could see that quite a lot of clearing had been done,much more than the actual ROW and what would be needed just for the trail,like maybe yet another parking lot.I understand from Fred Schaeffer,this connector trail will be completed in October.I don’t know if the new bridge over SR 55 et al will be completed at that time as well.


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