At first this seems like a classic paradox. First of all, the National and State Byways Programs were established by the laws that authorize the Federal Highway Administration including funding for state highways. It seems, at times, that the focus of the highway program is to move the greatest number of vehicles in the safest, most efficient way between any point in the country. The contradiction arises when transportation planners try to create routes that are taken for pleasure as if to separate that traffic from those who have to be somewhere at a specific time or for a specific purpose, the highway versus the byway.
When in a travel mode, when on a leisurely vacation, we want an alternative to the usual and the mundane. Taking a route less traveled is the appeal. Take this reasoning further and one starts looking for alternatives to the personal vehicle, into walking, cycling, even boating.
One of our area’s most used hiking and cycling resources is the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway that connects downtown Schenectady, Niskayuna, through Colonie, to Cohoes. This trail effectively connects each of the communities on the south side of the Mohawk River. Another interesting trail is the foot trail along the old Champlain Canal towpath connecting Cohoes and Waterford, right into Waterford Harbor.
The towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon will be reconstructing the Towpath Trail connecting Vischer Ferry with the historic community of Crescent best negotiated on foot or a trail bicycle.
Perhaps one of the more memorable ways to get between communities is on the water. At water level the journey takes longer than on a bicycle, but this is the way to understand this facet of our history and travel before railways or the current Interstate Highway System. This journey is highly recommended whether one tries it in shorter segments in a kayak, on a major commercial water watercraft, or something in between like a pleasure boat or touring vessel.
Leave a comment below describing your favorite or most memorable mode of travel between our communities.