The Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge (LARB) was originally constructed in 1866. It is a vital east-west transportation connector across the Hudson River and carries passengers and freight traffic. The LARB was wisely constructed as a multi-modal facility by inclusion of a walkway. The walkway provided key pedestrian connectivity between Albany and Rennsalaer, NY. The bridge is a rare cantilever swing design which pivots in the middle to allow for large ships to pass. In one of only a few cases in the United States, the railroad and pedestrian walkway functioned seamlessly side by side.
110 years after it’s construction the LARB and its walkway have fallen into disrepair. The bridge continues to operate as a crucial rail connection for east-west passenger (Amtrak) and freight (CSX Corporation) routes. Sadly, the walkway was closed in the late-1980s due to lack of maintenance..
Can walkers and bicyclists cross the Hudson River near Albany? Sort of….. The Dunn Memorial Bridge is a very high volume automobile across the River near the LARB. A walkway was added as an afterthought to that bridge after its construction – the walkway approach is a steep 10 degrees; well above ADA standards. The approach to the Dunn Memorial walkway is narrow with sharp turns, which is dangerous for cyclists. Cyclists are required to walk their bicycle across the Dunn Memorial, which greatly reduces mobility. Insufficient as it is, the Dunn Memorial provides the only crossing of the River for 30 miles southward (to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Catskill, NY)
The Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge Coalition is working tirelessly to ensure that the walkway, which was designed as part of the original bridge, will be rebuilt. The Coalition’s goal is to preserve an existing facility in order to provide much needed pedestrian-bicycle connectivity in New York’s Capital Region. The walkway will connect existing and planned multi-use pathways. The walkway will improve the region’s livability and economic revitalization. The walkway would be a symbolic cornerstone in the foundation of a vibrant bicycle transportation network on both sides of the Hudson River.
NYBC is a proud leader in the LARB Coalition and we will continue to advocate for bicyclist rights. We believe the victory in this campaign could spur pro-bicycle investments around the state. Join the Coalition and ensure that the new LARB serves the needs of bicyclists.
There are three easy ways that you can help:
- Support the effort to restore bike and pedestrian access by signing an online petition
- Like us on facebook and follow us on twitter.
- Spread the word to your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. If you represent an organization inform your members. Encourage anyone who lives, works, or recreates in the Capital Region to sign the petition, speak out, and become actively engaged.
- US Department of Transportation: Rails with Trails: Lessons Learned
- Rails to Trails Conservancy: Plan, Design, Build: Rails with Trails
- Rails to Trails Conservancy: Plan, Design, Build: Bridges
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Facility Planning and Design Manual: Rails with Trails
- Advocacy Advance: Bridge Report