Traffic Getting Into (and Out of) 
the village of New Paltz

  

The village of New Paltz is a justly popular place to start and finish bicycle rides.  There are many routes into and out of town, but most of them have some significant traffic interaction risks.

You need to make your own assessment about the traffic patterns and traffic interaction risks, and make your own plans about what roads to ride on and when, and what traffic-handling strategies and techniques to use.

This page gives our thoughts as of October 2000 about some of the different alternatives, to offer another perspective which might help you form your assessment and plans.

We do not live in New Paltz, and we are not experts on New Paltz traffic.  These thoughts are based on our limited experience with these roads in normal daylight hours on weekend days when we usually do our bicycling.  Traffic patterns on weekdays or in the evening or night or dawn hours may be very different.  Even on different weekend days, traffic patterns can vary widely -- especially for special events and seasons (e.g. SUNY New Paltz college events, fall foliage, Ulster County fair, parades) -- or road closures -- or for no discernable reason at all.  And as the months and years progress, the patterns change overall.  Ours is only one perspective given at one time.

We label the routes in their in-bound direction, since it's easiest to see the differences.

  
North-East

Horsenden -- Old Kingston -- Huguenot

Once you get to Old Kingston and Huguenot, the traffic is typically lower volume or lower speed.

The major problem here is Horsenden, with the combination of:

(A) Many motor vehicles who want to go between Rt 32 north of New Paltz to the Thruway east of New Paltz, and the fastest way is by taking Horsenden and North Putt Corners; and 

(B) Horsenden has no or narrow shoulders, lots of curves, dips, and hills -- so there are several points where a bicyclist might not be visible to overtaking cars before they are only a short distance away.

We recommend normally not taking Horseden in the uphill direction (East-bound), because you spend more time in exposed in low-visibility sections, and because for many riders it's more difficult to control bicycle steering when going uphill.  We would consider taking Horsenden in the downhill (West-bound) direction, especially at a time of lower traffic.

  
Ohioville -- Rt 299 -- N Putt Corners -- DuBois

The main difficulty here is Rt 299.  Since the latest construction around 2000, the section going over the New York State Thruway now has both a shoulder and a sidewalk, so that should be enough options for most riders. 

But going East-bound on Rt 299, crossing the entrance and exit roads for the New York State Thruway can be tricky.  See resources on traffic-handling for some ideas for techniques for how to handle these traffic interaction risks.

N Putt Corners has no shoulder, but lanes are of reasonable width, and visibility to cars is good. 

DuBois requires some extra hill-climbing, and several stop signs.  It has no shoulders, but lanes are of reasonable width. 

If you want to avoid the section on Rt 299, consider the Brookside route, but this has traffic interaction risks of its own.

  
Ohioville -- Rt 299 -- Rt 32 / S Mannheim -- Plattekill -- Hasbrouck -- Mohonk

By taking Mohonk, Hasbrouck, and Plattekill, you can avoid the western section of Main St / Rt 299 between Front St and the Wallkill River bridge -- which is on the steepest climb and has many parked cars.  These streets also require short sections on Rt 32 and Rt 208 which have higher volumes and higher speeds of  motor vehicle traffic.

But a major concern is the long time spent on Main St / Rt 299.  For going East-bound, actually it turns out that most of this is fairly wide, and with few parked cars.  But there are a few places where it narrows, or where a right-turn lane takes over the shoulder.  And crossing the entrance and exit roads for the New York State Thruway can be tricky.  See resources on traffic-handling for how best to handle these traffic interaction risks.  (We have not yet tried going West-bound on Main St / Rt 299).

If you want to avoid the section on Rt 299, consider the Brookside route, but this has traffic interaction risks of its own.

  
North Ohioville -- South Ohioville -- Brookside

You can also use the Brookside route from the North-West, by crossing over Rt 299 to South Ohioville Rd.  See below about its traffic interaction risks.

Coming from the north, the section on South Ohioville Rd adds miles to the route, and we've also noticed that it can get a significant volume of traffic.

  
South-East

Neither Rt 32 or Rt 208 has very wide shoulders in their sections near New Paltz.  So we try to look for a sequence of roads which minimize the time spent on those.

Brookside -- Rt 32 -- Jansen -- Cedar -- Plains -- Water

This requires over 0.2 mile on Rt 32 with high volumes of high-speed traffic and shoulders not wide.  

The other problem is Jansen Rd is not wide, and at its West end it has some curves without good visibility, and on a hill.  Taking it in the West-bound direction goes down the hill, which we definitely prefer.  But if needed to fit into a good route, we will ride it East-bound, especially at a time with lower traffic volume.

Allhusen -- Rt 32 -- DuBois -- Jansen -- Cedar -- Plains -- Water

This requires over 1 mile on Rt 32 with high volumes of high-speed traffic and shoulders not wide.  

The other problem is Jansen Rd is not wide, and at its West end it has some curves without good visibility, and on a hill.  Taking it in the West-bound direction goes down the hill, which we definitely prefer.  But if needed to fit into a good route, we will ride it East-bound, especially at a time with lower traffic volume.

We would not normally take this route, since the Brookside route has substantially less time on Rt 32.

Old Ford -- Rt 208 -- Cedar -- Plains -- Water

This requires about 1.4 miles on Rt 208 with high volumes of high-speed traffic and shoulders not wide.  Much of this is on a significant hill.  We prefer to avoid riding that section in the South-bound direction, since that goes up the biggest part of the hill.  The North-bound direction also has some uphill.  This section of Rt 208 could be avoided by taking the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.

Old Ford -- Rail Trail -- Cedar -- Plains -- Water

This route has little motor vehicle traffic interaction.  Provided Old Ford Rd is where you want to go, and you don't mind riding for about 1.2 miles on an unpaved trail, this is a good route.

 
South-West

Rt 299 bridge across Wallkill River

This is shared by all but one of the North-West and South-West routes.  The bridge is not wide.  But it's short, so we've never felt any discomfort riding across it, using standard traffic-handling techniques (see resources on traffic-handling). 

The only way to avoid it is by taking the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.

Ulster County Rt 7 -- Rt 299

Gets more high-speed traffic than we would wish, and often has narrow or no shoulders.  There are some curves that may lack good visibility for brief periods.  It seems to us that this road is overall more downhill in the North direction, so we prefer that.

Goes by the Ulster County Fairgrounds, so watch out for special event days.

Rt 44 -- Rt 299

Since it's the fastest way from the Thruway to many points West of New Paltz, Rt 299 can get a high volume of high-speed traffic.  It has narrow shoulders (perhaps sometimes no shoulders).  There are some curves that may lack good visibility for brief periods.  And it has hills -- It is definitely more uphill in the West-bound direction, but there are also some significant uphills in the East-bound direction.  So to ride this road you need to be very confident of your bicycle control and traffic-handling skills on hills.   

Rt 44 has mostly reasonable shoulders between Ulster County Rt 7 across the Shawangunk ridges to Rt 209.

A way to avoid the hilly sections on Rt 299 from New Paltz to its intersection with Rt 44 is to take Rt 7 South to Rt 44, and then go West on Rt 44. 

A way to avoid most of the section of Rt 299 between the Wallkill River bridge and Rt 7 (and more) is to take Mountain Rest Rd and Butterville Rd.

Ulster County Rt 7 -- Albany Post -- Butterville -- Mountain Rest -- UC Rt 7

This avoids the sections of Ulster County Rt 7 and Rt 299 which are nearest to New Paltz, which might be expected to get the most traffic.  And it goes past some nice scenery.  But it adds some hills -- and traffic interaction on Mountain Rest Rd (see below).

Especially useful when there is an event at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.

  
North-West

Mountain Rest -- Ulster County Rt 7 -- Rt 299

Mountain Rest Rd (Ulster County Rt 6) between Butterville Rd and Ulster County Rt 7 has a sharp rise, which perhaps lacks good visibility for a brief period.  We do not see a preferred direction for going over this hill.  It has narrow or no shoulders.  On big weekends at Mohonk (especially fall foliage), it can get a significant volume of traffic.

Mountain Rest Rd west of Butterville Rd goes up a steep hill with curves, including some periods of low visibility, with no or narrow shoulders.  See the Traffic Discussion for the Great Shawangunk Hill Loop.

Springtown Rd

Gets more high-speed traffic than we would wish, and often has narrow or no shoulders.  There are some curves that may lack good visibility for brief periods.  But the big problem as of October 2000 is that this is combined with rather rough road conditions, especially in its northern half.

The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail can be used as an alternative for various parts of Springtown Rd.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

If you're willing to ride on an unpaved path, this is a good way to avoid some of the rough sections of Springtown Rd, or even the Main St / Rt 299 bridge crossing over the Wallkill.  You can ride on it almost all the way to Rosendale.  See the route New Paltz North -- Rail Trail and Road.

more

See traffic discussion pages for these routes:

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