For nearly 30 years, the Village of Castleton-on-Hudson has been waiting for access to its municipal waterfront park on the shoreline of the Hudson River. Between the community and their park stands a locked gate and railroad tracks.

Each day, the local community continues to experience the repercussions of their lack of access to their municipal riverfront park: lost years of water-related recreation, reduced quality of life, and the ability to steward their river.

In 1994, the Village agreed in good faith to the current fence at the Scott Avenue railroad crossing to stop vehicles from crossing the railroad track with agreement from the NYS Department of Transportation for the installation of a grade-separated pedestrian crossing to allow safe access to the municipally owned park on the Hudson River shoreline. Over 10 years later, the Village was offered a grade-separated bridge crossing, with the caveat the community would assume the cost burden of maintenance and operations, which was not feasible for the municipality.

The locked gate and fence and rail crossing can be seen in the background of the rally-goers. (2022 rally and press conference)

Several years ago, I joined a group of volunteers who received special permission to open the gate and cross the tracks to clean up the shoreline of the riverfront park. I saw firsthand the possibility of what the site could be for the community – and how excited the community was to have the opportunity to remove trash and debris.

After decades of standstill, hundreds of hours of research, and unwavering advocacy from the Village of Castleton with support from Scenic Hudson, and other partners, the Village of Castleton-on-Hudson was granted a public hearing for the rail crossing, which took place late last month on Tuesday, January 30.

Clearwater testified at the hearing and submitted testimony in support of a restored at-grade crossing at Scott Avenue – standing in support of the community’s desire to access their riverfront.

A decision from the administrative law judge is expected in the coming weeks, one we hope will reunite a community and their Hudson River.

Read Clearwater’s comment letter and oral testimony. Related Hudson River Access resources: At-Grade Passenger Rail Pedestrian & Trail Crossings Empire Corridor South and Hudson River Access Plan both published by Scenic Hudson.

UPDATE: On March 7, 2024, a ruling from a New York State Department of Transportation Administrative Law Judge denied the petition for a rail crossing at Scott Avenue in Castleton-on-Hudson.