Beacon To Get A New Parking Lot

Beacon To Get A New Parking Lot


They took all the trees
And put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half to see ’em

For those citizens who think we haven’t paved over or converted enough land for our automobiles to relax on, the good news is, work on a new parking lot is slated to start this month. The bad news, for those of us who feel, at the very least, a few areas should remain off-limits to cars, is that it will be constructed on Denning’s Point, at the juncture of several walking and cycling trail heads.

Now that the Denning’s Avenue Bridge repairs and alterations are complete, work will begin on projects tied to a $500,000 grant given to the Beacon Rivers and Estuaries Institute by the Regional Economic Development Council. The changes are intended to “transform portions of Denning’s Point into a more visitor-friendly park” according to the Highland Current. The grant blurb after the award was announced earlier this year:

The Beacon Institute will transform part of an abandoned factory
building into a multi-purpose public asset, including vehicle
parking and a picnic pavilion. The shoreline adjacent to the
pavilion will also be restored and stabilized. The industrial
building’s roof will be converted into a solar photovoltaic array.
The park’s shoreline trail will also be upgraded and new
interpretive signage will enhance the public’s understanding of
the park’s wildlife habitats.
The parking lot will allow people to drive over the recently spruced up wooden deck bridge, over the tracks, and past the Klara Sauer Trail head. They will then park their vehicle next to the Denning’s Point loop trail head and a few steps from the recently built eagle viewing pavilion.

Parking 1 is the lot next to the water treatment, about 2,000 feet from Parking 3, the lot about to be built. Parking 2 is the existing permeable lot with handicap spots at the Rivers and Estuaries building, used primarily for evening events and not normally accessible. X marks the eagle pavilion.

Drive Bye Birdie

The map shows where the current parking is for those driving to Denning’s Point. It’s approximately 2000 feet from the parking lot that will soon be built. Apparently this 5 to 8 minute walk along a lovely gravel roadway and over a lovely wood deck bridge is just too much to ask of the general public. (For superhumans, there is unlimited parking on weekends at the MetroNorth train station, a mile down the Klara Sauer trail.)

Soon folks will be able to drive in, get out of their cars, and be about 1 minute’s walk from the eagle pavilion or the Denning’s Point trail. Compare that to going to the mall on a Saturday, parking your car, and walking perhaps 5 or 10 minutes to get to the store you want to visit.

Perhaps this is “visitor-friendly” to some, but there is value in a transitional walk to  a final “destination.” Not to mention the fact that having cars in these areas will completely transform the experience. Build it and they will come. We would facetiously suggest extending the concept, and just letting cars drive through the pavilion itself so that people don’t have to be troubled to get out and walk at all, but somebody at the Parks Department or Rivers and Estuaries might apply for another grant.

The parking lot will be located just beyond the old factory building on the right.

The nice new deck, marred by a divider floating in the middle. Makes you feel all warm and cozy and protected.

This perfect Hans Monderman moment, train watchers picnicking and dog walkers strolling side by side, will likely soon be a thing of the past.


Careful! Single file, please.

The Dennings bridge is straight ahead. Cars will come over the bridge, past the Klara Sauer trail seen here on the left. They will then turn toward the river and the Denning’s loop trail to get to the parking lot. Turning around from the photo vantage point, one would face the Estuaries building, below.


Handicapped parking already exists at the Rivers and Estuaries building.

In preparation for this new form of traffic, the bridge includes a divider, so that hikers, walkers, bicyclists–anyone not encased in a car–know where they belong. For this even to be remotely logical, they will need to pave over the gravel road leading to the bridge and put in sidewalks, so that the current divider is not some stupid 30-foot section of “protection.” (Please, don’t. That would just be 800ft plus 30ft of stupid.) Chances are good that a lovely historic bridge like this is not allowed to be restored with State money without adding this non-functional eyesore. (If we really want protection, how about addressing the pedestrian turn from Main Street to East Main by the Dummy Light? Walking there, where there is no curb and a steep grade as cars come ripping down always feels like you are one texting driver away from getting squished against the wall of One East Main.) But don’t kid yourself, these “enhancements” have little to do with safety and everything to do with making things convenient and expedient for cars.

Thank you for manicuring and mediating our “wildlife habitat” experience. Finally, we’ll be able to enjoy this enhanced, upgraded, interpreted, visitor-friendly public asset park in the way that nature intended.

 P.S. Happy Equinox from Wigwam to you. The Long Dock meadow is in spectacular late summer bloom as we head into autumnal days. To start the slide show, click on a photo. To advance, click the arrows. To return to the blog post, click the little x in the upper left corner.

Further Reading:

Stop the Incline, Or Start the Spur?

Beer Grants, Jobs, Lumbersexuals, and Legoland

4 Responses to Beacon To Get A New Parking Lot

  1. Chance OConnor says:

    Thank you for the informative heads up. I cannot fathom how this was approved. Seems a waste of money on a bridge that will only handle one car in either direction at a time. The walk to Dennings Point is delightful now. Once the carpool gets going it will be another place to avoid. But this seems to fit right in with the drive to build, build, build all over Beacon. The death knell for great birding at Dennings. Oh, I think the area for parking lot #3 is a brown field. The remediation ought to cost a good sum.

  2. Amy deCamp says:

    This is a real loss of quality. If BREI could get funding to remove invasives and augment what little is left of native flora, that’d be a great allocation of resources.

    • MR says:

      Hi Amy. Thanks for your comment. While I agree with the idea that this is not money well spent, I don’t think attempting to eradicate “invasives” would be much better, although I do like that Scenic Hudson is planting “native” species around Denning’s Point and other places.

      Language is powerful. Invasive vs Native, aside from being loaded terms, is binary, and fraught with inconsistencies. Most species are happy to fill in any niche that is suitable to them. How do you delineate which colonization is “invasive?” Does it matter how they move around– via the stomachs of birds or the wind or accidentally hitching a ride in ship’s crates or purposely moved by humans, etc.? For example, domestic cats originated in Egypt. The pilgrims brought them here, not as pets, but to control rodents on their ships. Once on land, they were more or less left to fend for themselves. Today, cats, not living in the Americas before the 1600s, kill many billions of birds and small animals every year.

      Sure, pull out plants you don’t want in your yard. But a systematic campaign to, say, remove T. natans, aka water chestnuts, from the Hudson River, is futile. You can blame Harvard University, which brought them over for the Cambridge botanical gardens in the late 1800s, for that one. Should we yank out the weeping willows in Long Dock meadow?

      And then, of course, as regards to humans, well, it’s a fairly good example of the pot calling the kettle black. Best bet in terms of unwanted/uninvited plants is to find ways to eat them or feed them to something else, burn them for fuel, make medicine or fiber from them…or leave ’em alone.

  3. Timothy Delaney says:

    Well said..
    They never quite seem to get it right.