View from proposed path
View from proposed path

Residents of North Adams, Massachusetts, have for decades voiced their desire for a bicycle and walking path that would serve as both a recreational asset and an alternate mode of transportation. This desire has been repeatedly noted during public planning efforts throughout the past several decades. The desire for a multi-use path in North Adams has also been cited in several municipal plans, including open space and recreation and economic development plans. Residents voiced their desire for such a path throughout the public participation forums that were held as part of the North Adams Comprehensive Plan (BRPC, 2014). During this planning process the desire for a multi-use path in the City was raised by residents through visioning forums and workshops, including those that focused on topics such as open space and recreation, the economy, housing and neighborhoods, health, and infrastructure and services.

The rugged terrain of the parks and the private trail systems in northern Berkshire County are havens for hikers and mountain bikers. The region is host to a few long-range trail systems, including the Taconic Crest Trail, the Mahican-Mohawk Trail and the renowned Appalachian National Scenic Trail. However, there are no established trails in gentler terrain to serve the less hardy bicyclists or pedestrians (e.g. families with children, the elderly or disabled) or to serve as alternative transportation routes.

The approximately one mile of proposed North Adams multi-use path will leave the newly created Spruces town park, crossing Mohawk Trail / Rte. 2 in the vicinity of Galvin Road. The route will travel southward along two undeveloped Bay Colony / Fusco parcels west of Chenaille Terrace for approximately 1,250 feet. Bay Colony/Fusco has agreed to donate the parcels to both communities. The route will travel southward and to the extent possible the multi-use path will be located outside the wetland but within the wetland buffer zone. Locating the route will be a balance of minimizing impacts to neighboring residential properties on the east and wetlands on the west.

Once on the Harriman-West Municipal Airport property the path will travel eastward along the north side of the airport runway. FAA regulations requires that the multi-use path be located at least 50 feet from the runway. The multi-use path will meander to avoid steep slopes and stay compliant with ADA bike/path guidelines. Grading of sections at the western end will be required to meet the ADA guidelines. The airport section of the path promises to be the most scenic, with extraordinary views to the south towards the Mount Greylock mountain complex. At the eastern portion of the airport section the path will navigate the Shamrock building. In the long term parking will be improved to assure capacity for both users of the path and the commercial businesses.