On Monday night, the Albany County Legislature approved measures to purchase the Hudson-Heldelberg Railroad bed from Albany to Voorheesville, and fund the development of the Mohawk-Hudson (Patroon Creek) Trail into a bike trail.
Several people from the public spoke in favor of the measures in an impressive and inspiring display of support. There were members of four pro-bike organizations who spoke, and all gave intelligent and impassioned reasons for supporting the trails. I was really impressed with person after person who gave such intelligent arguments for supporting the trails, and touched by the way the speakers gave personal accounts of how the trails will help them and the community.
It was evident to me that the speakers created an atmosphere of hope and community pride throughout the meeting.
This became even more pronounced when the legislators spoke on the proposals. Several of them followed the lead of the public speakers and gave their own versions of why they support the trails and bicycling in general. Some of them have been working on these issues for years, and they got to bask in the support for a short time.
The inspiring atmosphere brought out some forward thinking, as one legislator proposed a way to produce more funding to pruchase and create more publc trails, and another suggested creating a county wide body to coordinate trail creation and connect the many small trails we now have.
All in all, only one person spoke in opposition, and only because he was in favor of keeping the Heldeberg Trail for train or alternative vehicle use.
The Legislature approved both measures by unanimous vocal assent.
Many thanks to everyone who attended and participated, and those who couldn't make it but gave moral and organizational support. We can congratulate ourselves for the work we've done to accomplish this, and think about where we want to move on to next.
Now, let's go out and send somebody to Congress who will help us do even more.
Ken von Geldern, Albany Bike Coalition