Friends and foes of paving put trail on trial


The city’s proposal to seal the abandoned Putnam Rail line with asphalt has positioned proponents of pavement against those seeking to preserve the dirt trail.

More than 80 people including bikers, runners, environmentalists and scientists with competing theories gathered Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre Monday evening for what was likely the final public hearing on the Department of Parks and Recreation’s plan to create a 15-foot-wide trail along the now defunct Putnam Railway.

Though the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) organized the hearing to solicit feedback on Parks’ application for a permit allowing it to do construction near protected habitats, most speakers took the opportunity to voice their thoughts on Parks’ general plan for the path.

Because Putnam Trail falls within a 100-foot buffer of wetlands, the Parks Department sought a permit from the DEC permitting it to construct the 15-foot path from the southern end of the Park north to the Yonkers border. 

According to Jennifer Greenfeld, the deputy chief of forestry, horticulture and natural resources for the department, the path would consist of a three-foot earthen jogging path beside a 10-foot asphalt path and a two-foot buffer of planted vegetation. Ms. Greenfeld said Parks would use an extensive system to protect against erosion and other threats to the wetlands as well as replace 300 trees removed during construction with more than 400 saplings.

The testimony quickly disintegrated into name-calling between advocates of the Parks’ plan, who argue it is a comprise that accommodates everyone and will require less maintenance in the future, and those pushing for Parks to cover the railroad bed with stone-dust, who say it is better for the environment and allows the department to invest money in other projects. 

Within a few minutes, those from the stone-dust camp were accusing pro-pavers of seeking to destroy a bucolic environment to convenience commuters. Their opponents began suggesting the stone-dust supporters wanted to keep the trail rugged to limit the amount of visitors using the trail.

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An interesting quote from a recent RP article on the Filtration Plant. Note what it says about the recently installed Stone Dust, so highly touted by the "experts" in the anti-paving camps.

"Parks representative Andrew Penzi said staff assigned to Fort Independence Playground would maintain the stone dust jogging path currently under construction around Jerome Park Reservoir, but could not provide details. Neighbors have already begun complaining about the dust drifting off the path."


Thursday, September 26, 2013

I sat through three hours of hearing and I don't believe I heard one Saver make a negative remark against Pavers. The John Young comment was about the parks department who has been less than forthcoming with information from the beginning requiring constant battling and FOILS requests to get them to be more forthright. Interesting that now we're hearing from them that 300 trees will be removed when we've heard for years it was only 5.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stone dust is not dust - it's small-sized stones of different shapes and sizes made out of limestone that interlock to form a firm, cohesive surface, that's somewhat permeable. It doesn't fly off into the atmosphere. The residents are experiencing some other phenomenon - maybe the result of construction or clear cutting that has been done around the reservoir. A topnotch well-made aggregate stone surface holds up very well and doesn't fly apart. There are places that give the right formula, the right combination of ingredients. Also limestone aggregate stone does not release silica, something I've heard some people say. Silica is in soil not limestone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It is a nature trail. It is supposed to natural; that is dirt. If you pave it you destroy it. Those who want to pave the trail, entirely an elitist handful of elitist bikers, want to destroy it for their convenience. Every day and especially weekends, scores, adults, children, hikers, bikers and runners use and enjoy the trail - precisely as it is. It does not need "fixing" - it serves the public season after season beautifully as it is. Call me crazy, but I think the Bronx needs a nature trail more than it needs another paved road.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The contention that asphalt paved surfaces do not require maintenance is just not true. All paved surfaces develop cracks and fissures from the contraction of the surface when ice covering comes in the winter and the surface expands during the intense summer heat. Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan, has asphalt paving and has had to be repaired numerous times. First with small "temporary patches, but eventually extensive re-paving to avoid dangerous footing.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Instead of lobbing grenades at each other, why don't you read this? Stone dust trails are a great compromise, used widely.

Friday, September 27, 2013