The Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail is a planned 7-mile shared use path that will ultimately connect the City of Beacon with the Village of Cold Spring to the south. The trail will provide a multi-modal connection between these communities with their Metro-North train stations and the great hiking opportunities in the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve. The trail will be designed for safe and comfortable walking, recreational biking, and running. To the greatest degree possible, the trail will also be designed for universal access. Because we understand that road cyclists prefer to go at higher speeds on the road where slower bike and pedestrian traffic doesn't create impediments, we're also working to improve conditions along Route 9D as a companion project.
When will the Trail be complete?
Construction of the trail will officially begin in the summer of 2016. Construction will be gradual, a segment-by-segment approach as resources become available. While it gets more difficult to anticipate timing the further out we look, here's what we know today:
We're working on a number of parking and safety projects as we get ready for the trail.
Parking on the Cold Spring end of the planned trail is already a challenge due to the popularity of the Hudson Highlands State Park, and Breakneck Ridge in particular. Weekend trailhead counts by the NY-NJ Trails Conference at Breakneck Ridge indicate that visitation has gone up 25% a year for the past several years, largely attributable to word-of-mouth and social media. The Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail began as a means of ensuring conditions on Route 9D were made safer, so even though the trail is still only in the planning, we're working to help do just that.
Extend sidewalks on Fair Street so people aren't walking in the road.
Expand the parking capacity of Washburn Lot near Little Stony Point.
We're moving forward with engineering, design, and environmental reviews of the planned trail.
The first section of the Fjord Trail that will be constructed will be the connection between the Breakneck Ridge train stop and the Breakneck Ridge Trailhead. The completion of this section will address safety concerns in the highest congestion area and will include:
Building a trail to the side of the road that will keep pedestrians out of the 55mph Route 9D.
Creating a parking area for emergency vehicles near the base of Breakneck Ridge.
Improving the Breakneck Parking lot.
Creating a new welcome area for hiker orientations that will safely keep them from spilling into the roadway.
Adding new signs in the Route 9D corridor for Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and its main trailheads that will provide good trail maps to help people understand the different hiking options.