SARANAC LAKE - A conceptual plan for the proposed rail trail between the villages of Lake Placid and Tupper Lake has been sent to stakeholders for comment, and the state may release its proposed plan to the public later this month.
Saranac Lake village trustee and stakeholder group representative Rich Shapiro said he wasn't yet permitted to disseminate the conceptual plan, but was allowed to discuss it and brought a copy of the plan to the Enterprise offices this week.
While there are few surprises for those who have been following the trail planning, the draft conceptual plan does provide a few more details on what the trail might look like.
Railroad tracks between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid
(News photo — Andy Flynn)
The state departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation are developing the plan to build a 34-mile rail-trail along the corridor that would connect all three Tri-Lakes villages. However, a railroad group that operates seasonal tourist trains on the tracks has sued to stop construction of the trail.
While the railroad and state battle it out in court, the state is continuing to hold monthly stakeholder planning meetings. Shapiro said the stakeholders will submit comments on the conceptual plan by the end of the month, and expects the state and local municipalities to start holding public information sessions early in May. He said those will likely be followed soon after by DEC public input sessions.
One of the standouts from the conceptual plan is that the crossing on state Route 86 just outside the village may be home to two large parking areas and a reduced speed limit.
Shapiro said DOT will be petitioned to decrease the speed limit from 45 miles-per-hour to 30 at the track crossing. The current 30 miles-per-hour zone that ends at the village limit by Will Rogers could be extended past the corridor there.
He also said a village resident sent in historical information showing that area as Fowler's Crossing, and the stakeholder group has been using that name since.
The conceptual plan calls for a 20-car parking area on each side of Route 86 at that crossing.
Another development in the conceptual plan is a proposed ADA-accessible fishing pier on the Lake Colby causeway.
The conceptual plan may change after stakeholder and public input.