Letter to the Editor: Catskill Mountain Rail Trail and Kingston

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my support for the proposed Catskill Mountain Rail Trail (CMRT). As a resident of the City of Kingston, I am very excited about the impact this trail will have on our city! The CMRT will begin in Midtown Kingston (near UPAC), continue to Kingston Plaza, pass alongside Kingston’s historic Stockade district, and continue north paralleling Route 28.

If you have ever ridden a bicycle along Albany Avenue or Broadway in Kingston, you know that navigating multiple lanes of traffic, traffic signals, turning lanes, and parked cars can be daunting. Even as an experienced cyclist, it is not something I do on a regular basis with my family, and I know many people share my concerns. The CMRT will give residents and visitors a safe, car-free environment for recreation and transportation. A study by the Federal Highway Administration found that 40 percent of all trips in urban areas are two miles or less, but taken by car 68 percent of the time. Let’s put a dent in that number and make walking and bicycling more attractive; UPAC to Kingston Plaza is less than one mile. The CMRT will make our roads less congested and, perhaps most importantly, our city residents healthier and safer. In addition, I also look forward to seeing the economic boost local businesses will receive. The additional foot traffic from residents and out of town customers using the trail can only help existing businesses and encourage new business opportunities.

This trail will make Kingston a more desirable place to live and work. This can result in increased property values and encourage revitalization of properties that have seen better days. One does not have to look far to see evidence of the benefits rail
trails bring to a community. The Hurley Rail Trail is a great example of the CMRT’s potential! Last year, approximately 80,000 people used the Hurley Rail Trail. The entire Town of Hurley has 6,300 people. Imagine the use that the CMRT will receive from the approximately 10,000 people who live within walking distance of the CMRT in the City of Kingston and the 36,000 people who live in the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster

Please help make our city a better place to live and visit. Sign this petition asking the leaders of Ulster County to support the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/makethe-catskill-mountain

Bill Baird
Kingston, NY