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Should Bikes Be Banned At Congers Lake Trail?

Kelly Parker Photo Credit: Tina Traster
Congers Lake Trail Photo Credit: Tina Traster

CONGERS, N.Y. -- Kelly Parker walks the 2.6-mile trail that hugs Congers Lake every day. But the West Nyack resident has no problem with bikers.

"I can't see why they shouldn't be allowed to ride," she said, during her daily constitutional Monday on Congers Lake Memorial Park trailway.

Others have a different point of view.

Another walker said "it's too tight for bikes. Someone's going to get hurt."

And a couple jogging by were at odds. She said leave the bikers alone. He said ban them.

This difference of opinion was a point of discussion during last Tuesday's Clarkstown Town Board workshop meeting. The Parks and Recreation Committee has received numerous complaints from pedestrians about aggressive bicycling in the park and the Town.

"That would stink," said Jim Fortugno, of New City. "I ride around the trail in the spring, summer and fall with my 11-year-old daughter."

Walking today, Fortugno said he has not heard of any issues pertaining to biking on the trail.

The trailway around Congers Lake already has a lot of rules. For one, this is a town park that is limited to Clarkstown's residents. Walkers have been known to be IDed. Pets are not allowed. Littering fines are up to $1,000.

At least one Facebook poster https://www.facebook.com/Clarkstown-What-They-Dont-Want-You-To-Know-146207698912716/ had this to say: "The trail is relatively narrow in many places and has many winding turns where visibility for a fast moving cyclist is far less than ideal. The pavement integrity varies greatly from one section to another and along one section there is a chasm between the pavement and a fence leading down to the water which is extremely hazardous to both cyclists and pedestrians alike."

There are good reasons to keep the trail open. The park, baseball field, basketball courts, a playground and pool, is kid-friendly, and the trail is safer for children the the streets.

Many local children are able to access these recreational areas from their homes by riding their bikes through one of the various park entrances, which keeps them off the roads.

The Facebook poster also wrote this: "Prior to the recent enforcement of the 'residents only' rule in the park, there were numerous instances in which large groups of people had rented bikes at a nearby shop and descended en masse onto the trailway. These instances presented indisputable safety hazards, but how does the Town allow bikes and then attempt to restrict or enforce the number of riders that can group together? An outright ban is the most effective measure for ensuring the safety of park visitors, but this will likely be a very unpopular course of action.

Supervisor George Hoehmann said for now, there's no ban, but we're looking into having bike lanes.

If you have an opinion on this, weigh in by sending me an email, and Daily Voice will do a follow up story. ttraster@dailyvoice.com

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