July 2018 saw the beginning of construction on a new 3.9 mile segment of the Oneida Rail Trail, a proposed 11.3 mile multi-use trail in the City of Oneida that promises to connect all of the City’s business districts with the Erie Canalway Trail. The Oneida Rail Trail (ORT) will use existing rail beds to create a triangle, running through the heart of downtown Oneida and connecting to the Village of Wampsville to the west and to the City of Sherrill to the southeast.
Currently, two sections of the ORT are officially open for public use, including a 1 mile section along the former West Shore Railroad and a 0.5 mile section adjacent to Oneida High School. An additional 3.9 miles of trail is in the process of being developed through funding awarded by the NYS Department of Transportation. This section stretches from the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park through the Village of Wampsville and then east along the former New York Central Railroad and West Shore Railroad into downtown Oneida. The ORT will be unique among trails, in that because it involves three intersecting railbeds, it will not have riders just travel out and back, but instead will offer the option to ride or walk a loop around the city.
Through the use of these rail beds, the Oneida Rail Trail will link three communities, multiple neighborhoods, businesses, offices, parks, tourist destinations, education facilities, and other trails including the Erie Canalway Trail to create a new economic engine in the area and source of community pride.
“The Oneida Rail Trail will be a great asset to the community and a new destination along the Erie Canalway Trail. It will directly link Oneida to the Erie Canalway Trail as well as eventually create a loop around the city to connect neighborhoods, businesses, schools, the downtown, and other parks,” said Jamie Kowalczk, Assistant Director of the Madison County Planning Department. “This 3.9 mile funded section will also bring some highly anticipated improvements to Oneida’s downtown including new landscaping, new sidewalk and curbing, a 10 ft. wide multi-use path, and a new City Center pedestrian plaza.”
Parks & Trails New York has been a long-time supporter of the Oneida Rail Trail, partnering with the City and Rail Trail Committee to hosting the annual Bicyclists Bring Business Roundtable and Bike-a-Round in Oneida in 2013.
Enjoy your trail Oneida. We can’t wait to come out for a ride!
More information on the trail’s progress can be found here.