By Roger Muehlig, Batavia News, link to original post
The town of Batavia will seek state funds to develop a bicycle/hiking trail along an abandoned railroad bed east of the city.
The proposal looms as the possible start of a larger-scope trail project that has been in Genesee County’s vision for a long time, according to town Supervisor Greg Post. The trail would be located on a portion of the former New York Central Railroad’s old “Peanut Line.” “Hopefully, it’s the first leg of an extended trail,” said town Councilman Chad Zambito.
The Town Board, in cooperation with the city, authorized applying for a Transportation Enhancements Program grant from the state during a special board meeting Wednesday night.
The program would provide 75 percent funding for what Zambito said would be a biking/hiking trail stretching from Seven Springs Road to the city. The city and town would split $340,000 of the cost of the estimated $1.2 million project.
Post said there would be no monetary impact for the town, that most of its share of the project would be in in-house services from its engineering, highway and parks staffs. “We’re not looking at incurring additional costs,” he said.
Zambito, a member of the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee, said plans call for the path, adjacent to a proposed housing project, to be paved and hopes are that it would take bicycle traffic off East Main Road. Eventually, it could run along abandoned rail lines through the city to Pearl Street, he said.
The board authorized Stuart I. Brown/LaBella Associates of Rochester to prepare a grant application for TEP funds at a cost of $5,000. Post said the town should receive an answer from the state by the end of October.
The “Peanut Line” connected Canandaigua and Niagara Falls. Its route passed through towns including Le Roy and Batavia.
But the route eventually became redundant and a portion in Livingston County was abandoned in 1939. Most of the remainder was torn up by the 1970s, although some tiny segments remain in use, including in Batavia.
Portions of the old line have also been converted into trails in Amherst, Clarence and Canandaigua. These are included in the guidebooks “Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region”, “Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Rochester NY Area”, and “Take Your Bike – Family Rides in NY’s Finger Lakes Region.”