Tonawanda News — Residents received positive news Monday night about a bike path project that’s been in the works since the 1980s. Although the design plans and a lease deal need to be finalized, the four-mile path is set to be operational by the spring of 2015.
The project, Rails for Trails, would convert old, unused train tracks into a pedestrian and biking path from the City of Buffalo to the Town of Tonawanda and City of Tonawanda.
“The project is needed to provide a safe, off-road facility for pedestrians and bicyclists through the town and city,” a brochure from the meeting states. “The easily accessible, shared-use trail will provide low-cost opportunities for users to increase their level of physical activity.”
The project plans detail a 12-foot wide path on the abandoned rail bed starting at Kenmore Avenue, 900 feet west of Englewood Avenue. The trail will then extend northwest to Sheridan Drive.
The second trail segment will then begin approximately 900 feet west at the Belmont Avenue and Sheridan Drive intersection, and continue north along Belmont Avenue. The trail will then meet the rail bed again at Colvin Boulevard.
From Colvin, the trail proceeds north under I-290 and into the City of Tonawanda, where it may end at State Street — but the plans for the ending point are still in revision, according to City of Tonawanda Engineer Jason LaMonaco.
The original trail would take bikers over an Ellicott Creek bridge in Tonawanda. But if that plan was instated, the city would then be responsible for maintenance of the bridge.
“It’s also a remote location, and there may be some security issues,” LaMonaco said.
LaMonaco said Monday he has proposed another ending point to Erie County, which is sponsoring the project. Instead of ending at State Street, LaMonaco has suggested taking that path over to Ives Pond.