By Bill Lawyer
Back in 2006, Westchester County applied for a federal grant to enhance the ways people could get to Playland Amusement Park if walking or biking from the Rye train station. It would also provide people with an enjoyable way to walk or ride safely just for the fun or fitness of it.
The $2 million pathway project grant called for a 2.65-mile walking and biking path that began from the start of Theodore Fremd Avenue to where the current pathway begins, on the east side of Boston Post Road. From there it would proceed parallel to the Parkway all the way to the Playland entrance.
The enhanced parkway would be a vast improvement from the existing one, which is an uneven blacktop path frequently narrower than two feet wide. The new one would be eight feet wide, properly graded, and handicap-accessible.
It would also include a bridge across Blind Brook for pedestrian safety, along with the planting of shrubs and other plants (let’s hope deer-resistant varieties).
The County’s proposal was approved, a contract was signed, and the first design drawings and details were presented at a public meeting in the spring of 2012.
The public in attendance at the meeting was overwhelmingly in support of the project. Only a few people whose houses were adjacent to the widened pathway expressed concern about the impact on their property.
Given public approval, the County planners at the meeting estimated that construction might commence as soon as 2014. However, between the many steps required by the Department of Transportation, it wasn’t until this fall that the County Executive’s Office announced the project has been green-lighted and construction will begin in late 2018 and be completed within a year.
The progress on the project was evidenced at the November 8 Rye City Council meeting, at which Anthony Zaino, Director of Design for the Westchester County Planning Department, made a presentation that included final specifications.
The City Council then authorized the City Manager to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with Westchester County to allow the County to make improvements to portions of the Theodore Fremd Avenue and McCullough sidewalks as part of the pathway project.
Mr. Zaino said that the costs of all the improvements to the City’s existing infrastructure would be borne by the County.
<For details, go to planning.westchestergov.com/playlandpkwypathwaypres.>
Existing Playland Parkway pathway by Milton Road