Transportation Council seeks community input on Black River Trail extension

WATERTOWN, NY —   The Watertown-Jefferson County Transportation Council (“WJCTC”) has announced the first online public meeting for a project aimed at extending the Black River Trail and identifying other opportunities for improved bicycle and pedestrian connectivity in the region.

WJCTC, the area’s designated Metropolitan Planning Organization, initiated the planning study this winter with the aim of identifying a preferred alternative for extending the Trail that would be eligible to receive federal funding. The official paved portion of the Trail currently runs along the River’s southside from the City of Watertown to a trailhead at the outskirts of the Village of Black River near Route 3.

To date, the project team has reached out to key stakeholders in the region as well as property owners along possible trail extension routes through the Village connecting to Fort Drum. The study is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021 and will include recommendations for other bicycle and pedestrian projects to pursue in Watertown and Jefferson County.

“In the short term, we want to give bike riders and pedestrians a new connection between the city and the base,” said Geoff Urda “Longer term, we hope to have a trail system that extends from Lake Ontario to Carthage, which could really boost our region’s status as a destination for outdoor recreation.”

The consulting team for the project includes Barton & Loguidice who will provide engineering and technical expertise as well as Highland Planning, who will direct the public engagement process.

Due to NYS on PAUSE requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will be held online. The project team aims to hold a second meeting in-
person and outdoors with social distancing at some point in the summer or early fall.