October 17, 2014
by Christine Yeres
At last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, New Castle resident Dan Googel brought to public attention a concept first floated around 2005, when Mt. Kisco needed to reline a sewer main running south through New Castle along the east side of the railroad tracks between Horace Greeley High School and North Greeley Avenue in downtown Chappaqua. Gravel was laid down along the path so that trucks could come and go. At the time, former Town Administrator Gerry Faiella thought to ask the county to replace the gravel with asphalt once the project was completed and even lay an electrical conduit for low path-lights someday.
The concept resurfaced at the end of last year, when the Town Board inserted into its November 2013 “Findings” on the Chappaqua Crossing application a directive—under the heading “Community Facilities and Services”—that, “[a]s proposed by the Applicant, there shall be cooperation in opening on-site trails for public use and in connecting on-site trails to the prospective trail along the sewer trunk line providing bicycle and/or pedestrian access to the Chappaqua Hamlet.” Presumably the pathway would from town, beyond Greeley, and connect to Chappaqua Crossing—a distance of around 1.6 miles. The project would require easements from several Lawrence Farms South properties that border on the pathway; the town already has an easement from the Chestnut Oaks condo development on North Greeley Avenue.
Googel, who serves on the “Commerce and Hamlets” committee of the Master Plan review has investigated the pathway (see photos of it in his presentation below). In a town “where our kids can’t bike on virtually any of our roads,” he told Board members, he learned from the Pace public outreach that New Castle residents are keen nowadays to have ways to walk and bike around town—and here, he said, was one that pretty much exists already. The “ChapLine” trail, he said, “remains in great shape and could be upgraded cost-effectively to a public pedestrian/bicycle path benefiting the entire New Castle community.” To finish it off might cost between $850,000 and $1.4 million, and deliver benefits well worth the cost.
On the Town’s website Googel explains further:
“The ChapLine would provide a healthy recreational space for our families and enhance the pedestrian/biking experience in a town where roads tend to be relatively unsafe for walking and biking. Such trails have been proven to increase the values of nearby properties as home buyers increasingly seek more pedestrian-friendly communities. The ChapLine would also allow Horace Greeley students with a means to safely walk or bike to/from school and provide a safer and healthier alternative to driving off-campus during the day, as they could walk or bike to downtown Chappaqua for lunch or snacks. Regardless the ultimate mix of office, residential and retail at Chappaqua Crossing, the ChapLine would provide the residents and employees an alternate means to get to downtown Chappaqua.”
See Googel’s presentation to the Town Board—including maps delineating the pathway—is embedded below:
The Chappaqua Bike/Walkway (The “ChapLine”) from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.
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