Possible ways to link the Erie Canalway Trail
There’s a roadmap now for any organization that wants to take on the task of connecting the broken portion of the statewide Erie Canalway Trail that centers on the Syracuse area. A 15- to 16-mile stretch between Camillus and DeWitt has always been one of the most problematic gaps for advocates trying to create a continuous 360-mile, multi-use trail that follows the historic Erie Canal. If the gap was connected, it would create the longest continuous intrastate multi-use trail in the nation.
The reasons why it’s so difficult to connect the trail in Syracuse is that it’s an urban area, with several municipalities involved. There are public multi-use trails here and there but none of them connect.
Planner Danielle Krol of the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council hopes a new report from that organization which includes trail suggestions will help.
"We can use that document to go forward when different entities or municipalities are looking for funding to get this trail done. We can point to this,” she said.
After several months of study, the report essentially splits the canal trail into three geographic areas.
To the west, there are three proposals that lead a trail from Camillus to Onondaga Lake’s Loop the Lake trail, which brings it to the into the city of Syracuse.
The only proposal through the central section moves from the Creek Walk in the city of Syracuse, along Water Street to the east section, which has the biggest issues. The options for the east portion involve Erie Boulevard into DeWitt, or an off-road route that would snake along a National Grid right-of-way.
Krol told WRVO in an interview that because of all the different governments and entities involved, this project really needs a champion to pull it together.
“Someone that’s going to say we are going to take this on. My organization or your organization is going to take this on. It’s going to be our mission, much like Onondaga County has taken on completing the Loop the Lake Trail.”