May 2011: The Senseless Destruction has Begun

The special environmental area is currently being destroyed for present and future generations for the benefit of a handful of users. We thank all our supporters for the many hundreds of comments submitted. We thank the one Town Board member who had the courage to speak out in favor of our compromise. Unfortunately the Town of Victor, supported by NYS DOT and FHWA just went through the motions to give the appearance of due process. They invoked their guidelines when it suited them. Your comments were ignored and misrepresented to guarantee an outcome that had already been decided. Our public servants traded a treasured natural area used by walkers, cyclists, and families for a sterile stonedust bike path. At a taxpayer cost of $900,000.

This website will remain as a testament to the extraordinary nature that was found along the trail.  

It will also serve as a reminder of a failed public process, of the inability of agencies to think 'out of the box', and of the needless waste of taxpayer dollars.  There are lessons to be learned.  



(2010) The Town of Victor is recommending a 10' wide swath of destruction (8' stonedust with 1' mowed shoulder) through a scenic and sensitive environmental area  - a popular recreational trail for walkers, cyclists, nature lovers.  Take a look at the photos below - the existing trail section that we want to preserve, and an already the completed section in Victor.  It's a stonedust road.  And it comes at a cost of almost a million dollars.  What sense does this make?  

Existing section of Auburn Trail at Railroad Mills  

Already Completed portion of Auburn Trail in Victor  
                                                                 
This misguided plan will obliterate the existing linear meadow habitat and destroy the natural qualities that have been cherished by so many users.


Coalition Comments on the Environmental Assessment
Read Full Report  (Downloadable version at bottom of page.)

On May 10, 2010 the Coalition submitted its comments on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to the Town of Victor.  Our main submission is 58 pages long.  Additionally we submitted hundreds of pages of supporting material, which included over 300 new comments from concerned citizens addressing serious deficiencies in the draft EA.  The EA ignored over two years of public comments, and did not give adequate consideration to the project's impacts on current trail users, or on the environment. 

The draft Environmental Assessment is a fatally flawed document that should never have been released. The Coalition has recommended to the Town of Victor and Federal Highway Administration that no approvals are given until a new and substantially revised draft is prepared for public review.   

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires an Environmental Assessment to be an unbiased document that is based on high-quality scientific data, which helps planners make the best decisions.   However, the draft Environmental Assessment which Fisher Associates prepared for the Town of Victor is filled with unsubstantiated statements and speculation, not scientific data.  It was written to justify and rationalize decisions that the planners made long ago.  That is improper.

Our comments discuss many inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the draft EA.  They also discuss the planner bias that is evident throughout the document.  Our comments show how the draft EA was written to justify predetermined decisions. 

NEPA requires that all comments be listed and responded to.

Contents:
Examples of Factual Errors, Misrepresentations, and Bias 

Public Involvement Process: Fatally Flawed 

Human Impacts: Inadequately Addressed 

Environmental Analysis and Impacts: Inadequately Addressed

Misrepresenting the ADA


Coalition Alternative Misrepresented


A Recreational Trail Portrayed as a Transportation Facility




Other News and Links

Many residents are unaware of the project's cost to Victor taxpayers. 30% of project costs, up to a spending limit,  are not reimbursed. Nearly 1/5 of the trail isn't even in Victor - it's in Monroe County - but Monroe County taxpayers aren't paying a penny. The real taxpayer cost of the two Auburn Trail projects is over $150 per household.

In the first Auburn Trail project, planners used a great deal of discretion in meeting guidelines.  Significant exceptions were given with respect to ADA and safety.  

"What should be an open process to consider suitable alternatives  has been misused to justify a predetermined outcome – a wide bike trail paved with stonedust."
 Counterpoints to Common Arguments

What others have Written

Website Award Winner
 

 Not an Ordinary Rail Bed  
December 2009 New York Flora Association article
highlighting and explaining the rich botanical diversity
along this unique section of trail.


Visit this unique environmental area
through our Website.

Who are the Users and the Numbers
  • The Trail is always changing, there is always something new to see in an area as diverse as this one. Beavers are in the area looking for new areas to work.
  • Visit the Trail at anytime;  you will see why it is valued by many as a destination, a special place to experience "nature up close."

*Check Back for Updates*
E-mail us to join our Updates List


"Awareness inevitably leads to concern."  Roger Tory Peterson

  

Learn about the unique environmental section of the Auburn Trail known as the Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area, an area rich in diversity.
 

Scenes from the Trail


See what Victor's proposed trail will look like
What can you do?

• Contact Project Planners and Administrators  - Let them know your thoughts
• Peruse this website to learn more about the Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area (RRMSEA).
• Visit the Trail in person or online - Google Map
• Send us an E-mail requesting that we keep you informed



Help us Preserve & Protect:

The Plants

That help create the habitat
 The Butterflies
...that use the habitat
The Birds
 ...that use the Trail
The Turtles
...that nest in the Trail



For more information, please e-mail rrmsea@gmail.com
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Auburn RRMSEA,
May 19, 2010, 8:06 PM