By Julie Sherwood, Messenger Post, link to original post
Safety issues are a major concern in connecting the Auburn and Ontario Pathways trails, residents said during a public meeting Wednesday night in Farmington Town Hall.
Residents got an update from project managers with Fisher Associates during the public meeting, which included discussion and a chance for residents to express their views on the project. The goal is to fill a gap in the regional trail system by linking the existing Auburn Trail at Mertensia Road at County Road 41 in Farmington to the Ontario Pathways Trail in the city of Canandaigua.
“In this day and age when people are getting out and are health-conscious, we want walkable communities. That is desirable,” said Roseann Schmid, senior project manager with Fisher Associates.
A federal grant is paying the bulk of the $85,000 paid to Fisher to do a feasability study. The study is due to be completed in March 2012, after several trail options have been narrowed to one based on a number of factors and public input.
“This is one of the largest federally funded feasiblity studies in the nine-county region. There are a number of issues to overcome and once we find solutions, we need to identify environmental impacts,” Ron Brand, Farmington’s director of development, said during a break in the meeting as residents reviewed options for the trial connection that would fill a gap that is roughly seven miles as the crow flies.
This project, in its first step, is at a crucial juncture, said Brand.
“The more support we get now,” he said, the more willing government entities will be later to put money toward the project.
Challenges include obtaining permission to access private and agricultural lands and cross roadways that could involve the four-lane highway, Route 332, much of which has a 55 mph speed limit.
“You don’t want kids and families going across Route 332,” said Michael Buskus, an avid bicyclist who moved to Farmington about six months ago from the Albany area. He said he rides bike trails several times a week and encounters dangerous situations between bikers and motorists. Others expressed similar views, in addition to wanting a trail that is scenic and free from traffic noise and exhaust fumes
Residents can views maps, offer input and obtain updates and meeting information at the Town of Farmington’s website — www.townoffarmingtonny.com — or may call Brand at (315) 986-8189.