ABOUT THE TRAIL

 

TRAIL ROUTING

The map shows the routing of the Urban Trail, including construction phasing. The trail route, estimated 2.7 miles long, links many valuable community assets within the City and Town of Poughkeepsie, such as housing, jobs, schools, hospitals, and parks, including:​​

  • Marist College

  • Morse Elementary School

  • Warring Elementary School

  • Family Partnership Center

  • Beulah Baptist Church

  • Hudson Heritage 

  • Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital

  • Dutchess County Mental Health

       Campus

  • Quiet Cove Riverfront Park

  • Poughkeepsie Waterfront

  • Poughkeepsie Northside

  • Walkway Over the Hudson

  • W.R.S. Dutchess Rail Trail

  • Fall Kill Creek

  • Pulaski Park

  • Mansion Square Park 

  • College Hill Park

  • Morgan Lake

 

Click the map to Zoom in

PROJECT OVERVIEW & TIMELINE

Dutchess County is building out the new trail system on the former CSX rail property within the City and Town of Poughkeepsie. Shaped like a wishbone, the trail system has eastern and western spurs, with on-street connections to facilitate movement and maximize trail access. Construction is occurring in phases; the first segment of Phase 1 construction will start this spring, with completion anticipated by the end of 2022. 

The Urban Trail will function simultaneously as a greenway and a transportation facility, offering convenient access to nature for a wide range of activities, while expanding transportation options residents who live, go to school, and/or work nearby. Importantly, the future Urban Trail network complements other planning initiatives in Poughkeepsie, such as a future greenway trail along the Fall Kill Creek and an expanded network of complete streets that work for all users of all ages and abilities.

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Community Assets and Landmarks near the Urban Trail:

 

HISTORY

The CSX rail corridor that will be converted into this Urban Trail owes its existence to the rich industrial history of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County. Founded on the Hudson River and situated halfway between New York City and Albany, Poughkeepsie was a natural site for settlement and commerce. With the operation of the Erie Canal in 1821, ships could travel from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic via the Hudson River.

With the boom in railroad construction, which started a few decades later, Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley became a railroad nexus for transporting mining and agricultural products to industrial and commercial centers in the Northeast. This, in turn, brought industry to the Hudson Valley, Dutchess County, and Poughkeepsie, with various factories sprouting up across the region. Notable examples include the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, first built in 1874.

While the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, completed in 1889 and known today as the Walkway Over the Hudson, is perhaps the greatest artifact of the industrial age, the CSX rail spur is also a product of this history. Constructed in 1873, the corridor was built as a link between east-west and north-south rail lines, as well as a means of delivering coal to power the newly-completed Hudson River State Hospital. Beginning after the end of World War II in 1945, many of the industries in the region moved to other parts of the country. With the decline in industry came a decline in the necessity of the railroads, and for this reason many rail lines were abandoned in the post-war period. The CSX spur continued operation until the closure of the hospital in the 1990s, and it has lain dormant since.

In December 2019, Scenic Hudson negotiated and funded (in part via the Lila Acheson and the DeWitt Wallace Hudson Valley Land Preservation Endowment) the acquisition of 2.7 miles of the former rail corridor that passes through residential and commercial neighborhoods, as well as alongside Marist College, before ending near the Hudson River. The Dutchess County Legislature voted unanimously to assume ownership of the corridor and to develop and maintain the new rail trail, which will enhance recreational and economic opportunities. Once completed, the Urban Trail will serve as an active transportation option for residents, serving the redevelopment of the Hudson River State Hospital by Hudson Heritage, and providing access to Quiet Cove and the Hudson River.