Thursday, April 05, 2018

the Eire Canal is still around, and the tow path is a recreational bike path between a lot of towns, and it's getting extended from Albany to Buffalo to create the Empire State Trail proposed to span the breadth of New York, a 750-mile hiking and biking trail

Old Erie Canal State Park is a 36-mile stretch of the 363-mile Old Erie Canal, which has been designated a National Recreational Trail by the National Parks Service. The terrain is woodland and wetland that present opportunities for hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, bicycling, canoeing, fishing, and snowmobiling. Several areas have footbridges that aid access to the canal towpath where visitors can view the remnants of stone aqueducts.

Facilities such as the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, the Erie Canal Village, and the Canastota Canal Town Museum are involved in preservation, interpretation, and recreation along the waterway.

and in DeWitt they intend to extend the Erie Canal towpath path through the town of DeWitt... because the DOT wants to make the trail continuous from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal. But to make that a reality, the project will reduce Erie Boulevard by one lane in each direction between Beech and Bridge streets.

Included in the plan is to narrow most of Erie Blvd from 3 lanes to 2 lanes, and make the median larger for this path. "Segment 5" is Towpath Road, they intend to reduce this two lane street to 1 lane and ONE WAY. I marked in red the part of the street that they will make one way.

The town is not named for DeWitt Clinton, who is often referred to as the "Father of the Erie Canal," served in the New York State Legislature and the U.S. Senate, and was Mayor of New York City and Governor of New York State. Instead it's named for a soldier and judge, Major Moses DeWitt

“In the city of Syracuse you have a wide, grassy median now that actually dates back to the 1920s and thirties,” Gordon said. “And then when you get into the town, we have an asphalt median in the center of Erie Boulevard with weeds growing out of it. We’ve heard from many people that that’s an unacceptable condition.”

Gordon says most people seem to understand the value of closing the 14-mile gap of the old trail between Dewitt and Camillus. He says bicycle tourism is the fastest growing form of tourism in the world, and the trail gets its share of visitors who end up frustrated.

“You get to Central New York and you just kind of get dumped out on the street, and there’s really no guidance right now, there’s no wayfinding,” Gordon said. “We don’t celebrate the Canal Corridor in any way. It’s just kind of, you know, ‘Good luck.’ That’s the experience that people have, and I can tell you lots of stories of encounters we’ve had with people that have gotten lost.”

I bring all this up because a couple weeks ago I spent a couple hours learning about the Eire Canal when I discovered the stump puller with the 16 foot tall wheels

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