The Westchester County Parks Department will take on a $6.7 million capital project to connect the missing 1.5 mile link along the Bronx River Pathway in Scarsdale. Construction will likely begin this fall, and take a year to complete. Video by Mark Vergari/lohud
SCARSDALE – A gap in the winding, scenic trailway that parallels the Bronx River Parkway will soon have its missing link.
Westchester County Parks is planning to extend the Bronx River Pathway from Crane Road in Scarsdale to Greenacres Avenue in Hartsdale. The 1.5-mile connection is one of the remaining projects to complete the path, said Peter Tartaglia, deputy commissioner of Westchester County Parks, Recreation and Conservation.
“The county’s goal has always been to make these final connections so you’d have a continuous path from the Bronx to Kensico Dam Plaza,” Tartaglia said.
When completed next year, this nearly $7 million capital project will create a more than 11-mile stretch of uninterrupted pathway from Kensico Dam to Bronxville. Tartaglia said the county hopes to someday complete the path with about three miles of trailway in Mount Vernon, but nothing concrete is in the works for that portion.
The trail, strewn with wooden footbridges, park benches and constant views of the river, is currently divided into three main sections: A one-mile loop in Mount Vernon, a 4.6-mile stretch from Palmer Avenue in Bronxville to Crane Road and a five-mile segment from Greenacres Avenue to Kensico Dam Plaza. Currently, cyclists and joggers must navigate public roads with no shoulders via Fox Meadow Road to make up the missing 1.5 miles.
David DeLucia, director of Park Facilities for Westchester County, said a top priority is separating pedestrians and cyclists from cars to make using the path safer.
Herbert Wolfzahn, a Westchester resident for more than 50 years, said he frequently walks the Bronx River path and other county parks. He said the project would not only enhance the aesthetic of the parks system, but it would make walking easier for senior citizens.
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” said Wolfzahn, 93. “As far as making things better, I’m all in favor. I think it would make things more attractive … is it absolutely necessary? No. But is it desirable? Yes.”
The use of trailways, walkways and bikeways is consistently the top-rated activity among Westchester residents on surveys put out by the county, Tartaglia said.
County officials proposed a similar extension to the path in 2008, but the plan faced opposition from Scarsdale residents and was ultimately tabled.
The updated plan has the path running under the recently constructed Crane Road Bridge and continuing along the east bank of the river, DeLucia said. He called the construction site “narrow,” although the path will still be a standard eight feet wide.
Stone retaining walls will be built to reduce flooding and spillage from steep hills, DeLucia said. About 200 trees will be removed, though many will be replaced with non-invasive trees and shrubbery. He said members of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy will assist in transplanting “sensitive” plants, or plants unique to the area, to be re-planted upon completion.
DeLucia said the design plan is about 90 percent complete. The county is seeking contractors to work on the site. He said the project will likely begin construction in the fall and will take about a year to complete.
Last year, the county announced a similar project to connect the North and South County trailways in Elmsford. That estimated $2.75 million project, part of a different path, is expected to eliminate a dangerous stretch of the route which, like Scarsdale, has cyclists and hikers traverse a stretch of roads with heavy traffic. The 0.6-mile span of that path is projected to be completed in fall 2017.
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