[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
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.
“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.At the Harley School, I saw people enjoying the Auburn Trail. 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)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. 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 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.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 Roadbikereview.com, 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 Roadbikereview.com, 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.