Breaking ground on the Auburn Trail in Brighton

Breaking ground on the Auburn Trail in Brighton

[3/15/21 (WHAM photo) Brighton town leaders broke ground on the Auburn Trail project tied to the Whole Foods development along Monroe Avenue. (L-R) Brighton Town Supervisor William Moehle, Brighton Town Council Members Chris Werner and Jason DiPonzio, Rose Tomlinson from New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney’s office, Brighton Town Council Members Christine Corrado and Robin Wilt and Bridget Monroe, Assistant to the Supervisor, holding a map of the trail.]

I was last at the Auburn Trail in Brighton two years ago. The demolition of Mario’s restaurant was underway and the Whole Foods project was progressing.

As an avid walker and cycler, I was excited that the project would include an overhaul of the Auburn Trail from Highland Avenue at Village Lane, south past Elmwood Avenue to Allens Creek Road and then to the Pittsford town line.

In February 2019, for all of its charms, the trail was in need of repair. This portion of the trail was originally part of the Auburn and Rochester Railroad and is festooned with rocks that make biking treacherous.  SEE BELOW The beginnings of a better Auburn Trail

For all the charms of the trail, the path is strewn with rock from its days as the Auburn and Rochester Railroad. [Photo: David Kramer 3/16/21] See The beginnings of a better Auburn Trail

1942. The tracks of the Auburn Branch of the New York Central Railroad crossing Highland Avenue. The view faces north, just west of Gould Street. To the left is a line of mailboxes for residents of Village Lane which ran west of and parallel to the tracks. (Provided by Matthew Bashore, Brighton Memorial Library Reference Services & Building Manager; Courtesy Rochester Images)

The overhaul of the trail fell off my radar screen until the announcement of its groundbreaking held on Monday. Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle expects the project to be completed by summer. Unfortunately, I missed the event.

As seen in a WHAM report,

Brighton town leaders broke ground Monday on the planned Auburn Trail development.

The trail, which will run more than two miles, will run from Highland Avenue to the Pittsford town line, where it will reach the existing Auburn Trail through Pittsford, eventually connecting with the Erie Canal trail.

It will be ten feet wide, and will be ADA accessible. It will also have access to the Council Rock Primary School and The Harley School.

3/15/21 Brighton Town Supervisor William Moehle at the groundbreaking. In rear, left to right, Bridget Monroe, Rose Tomlinson, Robin Wilt, Chris Werner and Christine Corrado (From Bill’s facebook page)

“Trails connect neighborhoods. They connect communities. But trails, what we’ve seen with our experience with trails in Brighton, they do a lot more than just connect physical places. Trails connect people,” said Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle.

On Tuesday, the groundbreaking mound had shrunk.

3/16/21. The groundbreaking mound [Photo: David Kramer]

At the Harley School, I saw people enjoying the Auburn Trail.

The Auburn Trail next to the Harley School. (left) On the playing fields of Harley, I had my greatest athletic triumph in an otherwise lackluster career. In 1992, I taught American History at Harley. Every year, the faculty played the students in baseball game. On those hallowed grounds, I clouted two long home runs leading the faculty to a rout of the young scholars. (right) students and teachers on the trail. [Photo: David Kramer, 3/16/21]

I am looking forward to the overhaul with one reservation. Today, I met a fellow walker who heard that the trail would be paved. He feared a paved trail would diminish its aesthetic appeal. The man hoped the trail would consist mostly of mulch like the section after Clover that runs to Nazareth College. Mulch would work for me. Much better than old railroad rocks.

Update: On 3/17, Supervisor Moehle wrote:

The Auburn Trail will not be paved. It will be stone dust, the same surface as the Brickyard Trail. Stone dust is ADA compliant, drains well and is low maintenance. It’s a perfect fit for a trail like this.

The beginnings of a better Auburn Trail (February 16th, 2019)

Trudy (left) and Katie, regular dog walkers on the Auburn Trail. Although they feel the Whole Foods project is too expansive, they were Trudy and Katie were pleased to learn the Auburn Trail improvements would include their favorite stretch. [Photo: David Kramer, 2/16/19]

At the Elmwood intersection. Trudy (left) and Katie, regular dog walkers on the Auburn Trail. Although thinking the Whole Foods project is too expansive, Trudy and Katie were pleased to learn about the Auburn Trail improvements that include their favorite stretch. [Photo: David Kramer, 2/16/19]

As described in Demolition of Mario’s restaurant begins (D & C), yesterday workers began razing the former Mario’s restaurant marking the beginning of the 10-acre Whole Foods Plaza project.


Behind the former Mario’s restaurant in Brighton on the trail off Allen’s Creek Road [Photos: David Kramer, 2/15/19]

Admittedly, I have not paid close attention to the project — and its controversies. Not a big shopper, the planned businesses will probably not effect me one way or the other.

One aspect of the project will enhance my — and fellow pedestrians and bicyclists — quality of life: the planned improvements to the former Auburn rail line.

As described by William Moehle, Brighton town supervisor in a Brighton-Pittsford Post July 13th, 2018 opinion piece, From the Supervisor: Update on proposed Whole Foods Plaza:


The Harley School scoreboard just a baseball throw away from the Auburn Trail. [Photo: David Kramer, 2/16/19]

The developer will build the Auburn Trail, from the Pittsford town line to Highland Avenue, nearly 2 miles. The trail will be a 10-foot-wide, multi-use bicycle/pedestrian ADA-accessible trail. Currently, most of the former Auburn rail line is undeveloped, without legal right of public access, but as part of the project, the developer will acquire the right for the public to use the land.

Right now, the two mile stretch is a pleasant spot to walk. In the summer, I enjoy stopping at Harley’s baseball field to watch the Rochester Men’s Adult Baseball League.


Behind the former Mario’s restaurant in Brighton on the trail off Allen’s Creek Road [Photo: David Kramer, 2/15/19]

However, as well as not being ADA accessible, parts of the stretch are rock strewn, bumpy and actually dangerous to bike.  As seen in the PRIVATE PROPERTY sign, the section behind the former Mario’s and Clover Lanes is not publicly accessible and those who use that section anyway encounter crumbling asphalt.

For, in “Rail Trails of Rochester: NYC Auburn road trail,” a road biker, calling himself No Time Toulouse, provides a comprehensive depiction of the stretch to be improved. No Time chronicles its rough going — and he is an experienced road biker. 


(top) “From Elmwood south, the surface is a lot rougher, being just a thin layer of moss/grass over straight ballast. The pic is taken behind the Harley school fields, southward, the second northward.” (middle and bottom) “Asphalt stretch, behind the church on one side, and the old bowling alley on the other side. Alas, they have chained up a gate, and I had to detour over a small path to get around and over to Clover St.” From, in “Rail Trails of Rochester: NYC Auburn road trail,”

I am looking forward to the new trail, just as the Brickyard Trail enhanced the quality of life in Brighton and for all who use it.


The ground breaking of the Brickyard Trail in Brighton and “Memories of the Crab Apple battles”

On the trail behind Cobbs Hill Village

On the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton after an early March snowfall

Site says Brighton is best place to live in New York

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

1 Comment

  1. Therese cottre

    So interesting!


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