Letter to the Editor: My personal reasons for supporting the rail trail

Dear Editor,

I wish to convey my support of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail. There are many positive aspects of the rail trail project that I have heard through the voice of the community and our local politicians. I would like to offer you my personal reasons for supporting the rail trail.

The rail trail will provide a safe means of bicycle commuting throughout the community. I live in Shokan and work in midtown Kingston. The reason I currently do not commute by bicycle is because of the safety concerns of cycling on Route 28. I have personally witnessed far too many distracted drivers on the stretch of highway from Shokan to Kingston to consider that a safe option. The rail trail would provide me a safe bicycle commuting route within a half mile of my home and would take me to within a few blocks of my workplace. Further, if conditions warranted, my bicycle and I could easily utilize our public transportation system. A UCAT bus ride in tandem with the rail trail is a win-win situation for the county, the environment, my health, and my wallet.

I wholeheartedly support the belief that the rail trail would be an economic asset to our community. As an avid cyclist I can attest to the economic impact we cyclists can have on small businesses. My husband and I regularly go on cycling centered travels. Whether we’re mountain biking in Vermont, cycle touring in Europe, or going for a day ride in the Catskills, we’re spending money in these communities. This past summer we cycled across the United States and utilized small town campgrounds, general stores, Mom and Pop motels, restaurants, and cafés along the way. The proprietors of many of these establishments recognized the impact that we and other traveling cyclists had on their communities and personally thanked us for supporting their businesses.

I am encouraged at the support I see from our local politicians as well as the local community and hope to see this project realized.

Mary Grehl
Shokan, NY