I would like to dispute the claims by Bob Subik regarding the purchase of the right of way to the three miles of potential Rail Trail in Montgomery County.
Mr. Subik said, "It's just not a good idea."
It is a good idea, and we were excited three years ago when the grant was announced. My wife and I are frequent bicyclists on the Rail Trail from Denny's Crossing to Union Avenue. It is a well- used trail during the daytime, particularly in the late afternoons, early evenings and on weekends. One of the reasons that the trail may not be well used in the south Johnstown end is that it goes nowhere, although it happens to be the most beautiful part of the trail. The trail leads to many different sections of Johnstown and Gloversville and can connect people to stores, neighborhoods and restaurants safely and easily. Many seniors and families with children on bikes and in strollers use this trail as a safe place to walk and to get some exercise. Most rail trails are not lit.
As to the economic benefits, the Rail Trail would be the next step to connecting the Erie Canalway Heritage trail to the FJ&G Trail. It would draw bicyclists through Montgomery County and up to Fulton County.
Obviously, Mr. Subik is not a bicyclist or he would know rail trails are very appealing to bicyclists. Bicyclists eat and buy drinks, snacks and ice cream, and come back to places that interested them as they passed through. They look for good trails that connect to other trails. They use rail trails to avoid busy highways and connect them to country roads. People buy houses and live in places where they can access good rail trails. A rail trail would actually protect the possibility of a future rail line by preventing other development from occurring along that right of way.
The quality of life that a rail trail adds to the area and the ability to connect communities in different ways is the wave of the future. Why throw away this chance? To see what connecting rail trails has done for communities, just look to Pennsylvania's rail trail systems. They are outstanding and they didn't let shortsighted people stop them from seeing what a boon connected rail trails could be.
Buy this piece, and then work with Johnstown to do their part.