Casey Croucher/Recorder staff The closed and locked gate on Front Street is shown Friday, as people will no longer have access to it in order to get into the city's Riverlink Park.
By CASEY CROUCHER
The lower access entrance to the city's Riverlink Park has been closed and locked by CSX in order to comply with its regulations.
"There was a problem with people who were using the entrance to the park down by Front Street casually, and parking, and going through the gate, which is not allowed," Mayor Ann Thane said. "It's absolutely forbidden and it was forbidden for a long time, but people over time had been switching out other ways of getting to the park rather than walking over the pedestrian bridge."
Thane said she thinks CSX suddenly cracked down system-wide on access to train tracks after a suicide occurred July 12 in Schenectady.
She said she's been in discussions with CSX since Thursday afternoon, trying to negotiate a deal for access through the entryway strictly for authorized people.
"We're in discussions with CSX to get entry to the park for delivery to [Riverlink Park Cafe] and for performers to load their lighting and sound equipment for concert nights as well as for health maintenance and equipment," she said.
She said the entryway would be locked at all other times "so people should please use the pedestrian bridge."
Thane said she doesn't know why people opt out of taking the bridge when they often walk distances longer than the bridge's length.
"Many people will drive up to Price Chopper or Wal-Mart and walk all the way into the building and walk all over the store," she said. "Then they'll walk back to their car and they honestly walk less of a distance walking to Riverlink Park over the bridge."
She said she thinks people use the Front Street entryway because it's "more convenient."
"It's also very dangerous," she said. "We do not want people doing it and we will not allow people to do it, and we want people to enjoy the park, but they must access it via the top tier of the parking garage and cross over the pedestrian bridge."
Thane said the Riverlink Park concert scheduled for tonight will still be going on and she plans on talking with CSX in person Monday.