Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway reaches out to partners | New
CLIFTON PARK, NY – Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway officials commented on the updated Byway Corridor Management Plan, nearly 20 years old, at three virtually public workshops held over the past six weeks.
The Byway is a series of local, county and state highways and roads that follow the historic route of the Erie Canal between Waterford / Cohoes in the east and the town of Schenectady in the west.
The Corridor Management Plan covers approximately 28 miles of road and encompasses contiguous land and relevant viewpoints in a three-county region crossing many towns, villages and at least one hamlet along the way.
The plan was drafted in 2003 to help make the Byway an official New York State Scenic Drive, which it received in 2005. It also caught the country’s attention and became a Scenic Drive. national in 2008.
The master plan was to serve as a working document to protect the resources present along the route for future residents and visitors. The original plan indicated that it would require regular review and updates in order to effectively meet the perceived needs of the community.
In the years since the production of the original Corridor Management Plan, changes have been made to the roads, the communities along the route, and the wants and needs of travelers.
The three workshops were theoretically focused on individual sections of the route. The first workshop on May 4 included officials from communities at the east end of the road and members of the public. The second workshop, on May 25, was for officials from West End communities and members of the public. The final workshop on June 15 was for officials from the mid-section of the road and all interested members of the public.
The workshops had a recurring introduction where Executive Director Eric Hamilton described how the original management plan was born, its vision, what it does and why it needs to be updated. In his introduction, Hamilton noted six intrinsic qualities that turn everyday paths into scenic paths.
These qualities include architectural features, recreational features, cultural places and events, the natural environment, scenic assets and historical qualities.
“Most scenic drives have one,” Hamilton said. “The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway has all six. We are very lucky.
The workshops attracted around 50 different people who listened and commented. All seemed fully aware of the road and its status to have a wealth of things to see and do.
Using the chapters of the original management plan as a guide, Hamilton would create two or three thematic areas for small group discussions. Virtually, the main group would split up and discuss a specific topic focused on that section of the Byway Road.
After a 20 minute discussion, the small groups returned to the main room and a spokesperson introduced what had been discussed.
As the focus groups were limited in number, the topics had to be restricted. During the three workshops, however, several topics came up time and time again.
City workers, Byway supporters and representatives from various towns and cities have repeatedly said that access, whether by train or pocket park, is desperately needed to give visitors to Byway a chance to s ‘stop and enjoy the sites, restaurants and landscapes.
They also expressed the wish that maps and / or directories of the entire route be produced in paper, digital and interactive form.
Driving conditions, whether for the car or the bicycle, were considered a priority in a number of breakout rooms. In others, especially those focused on business, it became evident that better communication between business and the road with the participation of local and state governments was desired.
Other requests were more localized. A Cohoes official noted that 20,000 people cross the Waterford-Cohoes bridge each season and that the city would like some help finding ways to integrate many of them into the city’s business sector. .
The attractiveness of Cohoes Falls was also noted, as was the need for more parking at this location.
“We take these falls for granted,” said Hamilton, “but trust me for European visitors, they’re something to see. That’s why they’ve been such a draw for so long.
“Cohoes and Waterford are at the geographic center of the Capital Region and the secondary road has two arteries there,” said Pete Bardunias of the Capital Region Chamber. “Doing certain things there is a no-brainer. “
Additional comments will be taken until July 16. Comments can be emailed to Byway managers at: [email protected] Please use the subject line: Byway CMP.