Work of the Sidepath Commission.

The Rensselaer County Sidepath Commission has issued the following statement:
The Rensselaer County sidepath badges have arrived and will be on sale at the usual places. The price will be $1 as in former years. They will be similar to those in 1900, differing slightly in shape. The Sidepath Commission has for some time desired to build a path along the east bank of the Hudson to Mechanicville, as not only is it the most beautiful ride in the vicinity, but the river road is never in condition for riding and on account of the very limited amount of travel it is hardly likely to be macadamized. The delay in beginning this path arises from the very hard problem confronting the Commission in the first two miles to the Rifts. There is not probably within the limits of the state so difficult a piece of path as this to build, and the Commission would be glad to have those riders who complain of delay in path building devise a plan for successful sidepath along that section of the river road. Once past this the rest is easy. Through the spring and summer much study was given to the problem presented on that two-mile stretch, but not until fall was a plan evelved that promised success. Before beginning the work it was necessary to get the permission of the Road Commissioners of the town of Lansingburgh, and this delayed matters until it was thought best not to begin work before this spring. Now there is a proposition to put this piece of road in good shape, and it is necessary to await the outcome.
The Rensselaer County riders bought only 637 badges in 1900 as compared with 6,180 Albany County badges sold. It requires money to build a good path such as is proposed, and unless the Commission has the necessary funds the path cannot be built. Every Rensselaer County badge sold means a dollar spent on paths in the county, and the right to use any county path in the state.
The horseshoe path was put in excellent condition, and would sooner have become so if the riders had used it more. Much derogatory talk has been indulged in regarding this path, the Troy riders not seeming to know that none of their money was used for it. Lansingburgh people asked for it and have more than paid all the expense; $75 also was donated by a few gentlemen toward the work. The same is true of the path from Rensselaer toward Castleton. Only the funds raised in that section were used on it, and the surplus is now in the hands of the Commission to be used on other paths.
It was not thought desirable to build paths along roads which will soon be macadamized, as this would involve their destruction or render them useless and the money would be wasted. Schenectady and Albany Counties have had this experience. The roads of Albany County are generally so sandy that the riders will use any sort of a path. The hard roads of this county necessitate the best sort of paths or they are not used. Much fault has been found about weeds on the paths. They grow very rapidly, but in only one spot were they troublesome. The Commission has devoted much valuable time to the service of Rensselaer County wheelmen entirely without compensation, and if the riders wish to have a commission serve in the matter of sidepaths they should give more help.
Not long ago an article in a city paper spoke of one dealer who had paid for 175 badges and expressed wonder where the money had gone. The largest sale of badges was by James Lucey and the next by E. H. Brunelle. Neither sold 175 nor near that number. All moneys not necessarily expended are safe in the hands of the County Clerk, ready for use. This now amounts to over $700, and a heavy roller is owned by the Commission.
The Commission wish to thank the dealers who so kindly assisted them last year by the sale of badges, and also would warn residents of Rensselaer County that no badges except those of this county are of any value if they wish to ride on sidepaths in the state of New York.
RENSSELAER COUNTY SIDEPATH COMMISSION.
A. G. SHERRY, President.
WILLIAM F. McMURRAY, Secretary.
Troy Times. April 23, 1901: 3.

The Rensselaer County Sidepath Commission seems to have existed at least from 1899 to 1905. There are several other articles mentioning it, but whether any County records of it survive (beyond what little might be in the annual volumes of Proceedings of the Rensselaer County Board of Supervisors) is an open question. Some counties retain their records, e.g. http://www.warrencountyny.gov/Records/sidepath.php The “horseshoe” referred to above seems to have been the name for the intersection of the New Turnpike Road and the River Road.

Notice

Notice is hereby given that the Babcock House, Hoosick, Rensselaer County, New York, has to-day been appointed the official [League of American Wheelmen] L. A. W. hotel for this town.
Good Roads Magazine. August 1901. 24. https://books.google.com/books?id=oBXWAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA24


For more about the county sidepath commissions in New York see e.g.:

Longhurst, James. “History Happened Here: Sidepaths and the Persistent Dreams of Trail Building.” rails-to-trails conservancy. May 27, 2015. http://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/2015/may/27/history-happened-here-sidepaths-and-the-persistent-dreams-of-trail-building/

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