SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Saratoga Springs City Council voted in favor of using eminent domain to move forward with a proposed biking and walking trail.
There’s a narrow shoulder on Geyser Road in Saratoga Springs. Neighbors said cars speed past their homes. Some are now concerned over plans to build a multi-use path alongside the traffic.
“I’ve lived there 28 years, and it’s not safe,” Laurie Mero. “I never let my children walk on that road or bike on it. Ever.”
Those same safety concerns are reasons why the city of Saratoga Springs is building the Geyser Road Trail. Tuesday night, the city council voted in favor of using eminent domain to successfully knock down one of the last road blocks in the trail’s path.
In all, plans have been in the works for 12 years. Mayor Joanne Yepsen said the council had taken many votes to move the project forward.
Yepsen said public hearings began in January, and Tuesday’s decision was a result of the input, exploration of all route options, and multiple safety approvals from state and federal agencies over the past nine months.
The final plan includes an eight-foot wide walking and biking trail starting at the Milton town line and ending at the intersection of Route 50 and Geyser Road.
“DOT is redoing the intersection at Route 50 to connect our trail with a crosswalk there and refuge island in the middle,” Molly Gagne, of Southwest Neighborhood Association of Saratoga Springs, said.
It’s a trail most in the neighborhood wanted, but for homeowners on Geyser Road, it’s a different story.
“We feel it’s just dangerous,” Mero said. “I feel it’s not safe. We have trouble getting in and out of our driveways, and if there are people walking and biking, it’s going to be a hazard.”
Many neighbors hoped the city would consider an alternative route presented to them tonight, but it was longer, more expensive, and would take commuters through the woods.
“They’re not interested in going into the woods when their shift gets out in the middle of the night,” Gagne said. “They want to stay along the road where there is some lighting and some safety, so this is the best way to do it.”
The city has already settled some eminent domain claims.
Construction is set to begin in the fall. The trail is expected to be completed sometime next year.