Taconic State Parkway (often called the
Taconic or the TSP) is a major part of
York highway system.
For most of its route, the
TSP is four lanes. All of the parkway in Westchester
County north of the Sprain
Brook Parkway is now a six lane limited-access freeway.
southern terminus, in Valhalla, it reaches a traffic circle with the northern end
of the Bronx River Parkway and a
connection to New York State
As with many parkways in the Hudson Valley and
Long Island, the character of this highway is largely scenic and
winding. It was originally intended for Sunday drivers
headed up from New York City to Bear Mountain for a picnic, as opposed to commuting
Other than Interstate
(also the New York State
) to the west of the state, this is an alternate route
for travelers heading north to upstate New York State.
The road is designated New York State Reference Route
, an unsigned reference route
. Freeway exit
numbers are no longer signed, though boulevard intersections are,
where the signs still exist.
Taconic stretches from the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla in the Town of Mount Pleasant, Westchester County northwards to East
Chatham in Columbia County.
The Taconic then ends at
the toll plaza preceding the New
York State Thruway
Berkshire Section (Interstate 90
exit B2). Unpaved
alignments can be seen where the parkway was, at one time, planned
to continue north. The Taconic built before the Northway
was opened in the 1960s was to be
planned to extend to the Canadian border. However, there MAY be a
plan to continue the parkway further north in the next 15-20 years,
which all depends on how the economy is between now and then.
Like many New York parkways
, the Taconic is
restricted to passenger vehicles only; commercial vehicles are
prohibited. Given the state's vehicle-licensing rules, this
prohibition became a problem as truck sales increased. In January
2000, the laws were changed such that pickup trucks
licensed in New York could obtain
passenger plates and be driven on the Taconic.
The Taconic also has a reputation among motorists for being a very
fast roadway, and particularly as it courses through Dutchess County
, as having numerous police
The Taconic was built over a number of years in four sections by
two different agencies.
The first was the Westchester County Parks Commission (WCPC), which
built an extension of its very successful Bronx River Parkway
. Proposed by Robert Moses, the new highway was intended to
provide a direct scenic route from the Bronx to the
Bridge, at the time a rare crossing over the Hudson River.
The parkway design was
largely the work of landscape architect Gilmore Clarke
The second was a project by the Taconic State Park Commission
(TSPC). The TSPC was formed in 1925 to oversee two tasks, develop
the proposed Taconic State Park
and a parkway to the park. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
chaired the TSPC, and quickly focused on the parkway presenting a
proposal for the path of the parkway at the commissions third
"approximately mid-way between Albany Post Road and the Harlem
River Valley and coming out on the west side of Shenandoah Valley,
passing thence east of East Fishkill, east of Hopewell, east of
Arthursburg, east of Billings, east of Moores Mill, east of
Washington Hollow, east of Stanfordville, west of Bangall to the
south end of Stissing Mountain, thence over the top of Stissing
Mountain through Silvermalls and past Charlotte Lake, thence
approximately in a straight line to Philmont and past Chatham, with
the idea that at some point north of Chatham would be divide and
one fork would lead northeast to Williamstown and the Mohawk Trail
and the other fork northwest passing east of Troy, to the Saratoga
Roosevelt's statement, Lake Charlotte has been renamed Lake
Taghkanic and became the centerpiece of Lake Taghkanic
the plan adopted by the TSPC and approved by the State Parks
Council, although Roosevelt is reported to have said later the
parkway would extend north to the Canadian border.
project got off to a quick start and finished just two years later,
despite delays due to soil conditions north of Mohansic Park (since
renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park).
The TSPC project had a much slower start.
At the time, Moses was chair of the State Parks Council, which
controlled TSPC funding, most of which went to the Long Island
Parks Commission, which Moses chaired. Funding to acquire land or
even hire TSPC staff was minimal, which Roosevelt frequently
Although some progress was made acquiring land for a right-of-way
through much of Putnam and into Dutchess, primarily through land
donations, two of the largest being the Fahnestock and Lake
Charlotte donations. It was not until the 1930-31 budget that
significant funds became available. Assisted greatly by Roosevelt
who by then was governor of New York, and was so fond of the
project that he continued to influence it for years after leaving
- 1929 - 1932: Construction began on the Bronx River Parkway
extension in 1929 by the Westchester County Park Commission and was
completed two years later with the parkway opening to traffic
Sunday, November 14, 1931. The 42' wide undivided roadway featuredg
stone arch bridges and a 750' triple hinged steel truss arch bridge
over the Croton
Lake; at the time, it was the longest bridge of its type
in the world. This original section included a branch north
to the Westchester County line intended to meet the state's planned
Eastern State Parkway.
- 1938: Starting on April 28, 1931, the TSPC began construction,
extending the northern branch of the extension in Westchester
County northward into Putnam County through the Hudson
Highlands and into Dutchess County, reaching Peekskill Hollow Road in 1933, Fahnestock/NY 301 in
July 1935, NY 52 in
September 1936, and finally NY
55 in December 1938. This section featured three overlooks, one
near Bullet Hole Road (former crossing north of Bryant Pond Road)
and two on Hosner Mountain, and also a service station on the west
side, south of NY 301(now a
shed). As the parkway neared NY 52, the increased safety of
medians became known and was incorporated into the design. When
first opened, the parkway in Putnam County included bridle paths in the median. Concern over maintenance costs
led to their closure in 1940.
As traffic volume increased, two median service stations were
built, the Shenandoah station near Hosner Mountain Road and Todd
Hill near Todd Hill Road in 1942. Both sold gas and could do minor
repairs, quite modest, unlike the full-service Briarcliff Wells
station with a garage, restaurant and bar.
- 1955: The next section extending the parkway through the
remainder of Dutchess County and into southern Columbia
County was constructed. Construction was deferred
due to World War II. Funding being
redirected to the new Interstate system and controversy over the
planned route near Lake Taghkanic, meant that NY
199 was not reached until September 1949. NY 82 was reached in October 1954
and NY 23 in December 1958.
During the construction of this section another large land donation
allowed for the creation of James
Baird State Park. This section included a median service
station in Clinton Corners and the only east facing overlook at the border of
Clinton and Stanford. Roadway design during construction of this
section saw the introduction of mountable curbs. Contracts also
allowed for paving with asphalt,
but concrete bids were lower until after reaching NY 82.
- 1955 - 1963: Construction on the final section began in 1955
reaching NY 203 in 1961 and
was completed in November 1963, with the parkway's northern
terminus at the Berkshire Connector of the New York State Thruway. This is the
only section originally paved with asphalt. A median service station was built
at Lake Taghkonic, and overlooks near CR 8 and between NY 217 and NY 203. The original terminus was
planned to be at the west end of the NY 22/67 concurrency in Buskirk, rather
than the toll trap that it is.
After the parkway was completed, an opening ceremony planned for
November 25, 1963, was cancelled due to the assassination of
then-U.S. president John F. Kennedy
and never rescheduled.
Improvements and reconstruction
Even as construction of the final section in Columbia County was
nearing completion, increasing traffic volume on the Westchester
section was straining the roadway there. While originally built to
modern standards of the time, a narrow undivided roadway with an
abundance of at-grade crossings proved to be a less-than-ideal
design as traffic volume increased.
Pressure grew to improve the safety of the aging roadway, as it was
rapidly becoming a major commuter route. Furthermore, a new
parkway, the Sprain Brook
being planned to connect to the Taconic. The TSPC started
investigating its options to modernize the parkway, including
grade-separating crossings, additional traffic lanes between
Hawthorne and Yorktown, and removing the Hawthorne Circle
, which had become a known
problem as early as 1941. In 1954 the cost of such improvements was
estimated at more than $25 million, much more than the thinly
spread TSPC could afford.
the hazardous at-grade crossing of Underhill Avenue in Yorktown was grade separated with a stone-faced concrete
arch bridge designed by Gilmore
Clarke, faithful to the parkway's original
Funding problems were eventually mitigated in 1960 with the
creation of the East Hudson Parkway Authority (EHPA). The EHPA
assumed control of the parkway the next year. Unlike the TSPC's
recreational vision, the EHPA concentrated on larger scale projects
to increase the capacity of the southern end of the parkway.
1965 and 1971, an additional three-lane alignment was added between
Campfire Road in Millwood and Crompond Road (US
202/NY 35) in Yorktown.
The original alignment was then
reconfigured for 3 lanes in a single direction. This project was
completed when the final section between Kitchawan (NY 134
) and Baldwin roads was
finished in 1971. Along with the additional alignment, a new
steel truss bridge was built over the Croton
Reservoir to carry southbound traffic.
the Hawthorne traffic circle at the Saw Mill River Parkway
with a three-level interchange that only provides parallel
connections (north–north, south–south).
While reconstruction in Westchester county was welcomed, plans to
enlarge the parkway in Putnam where not as well received. The
parkway through Putnam, with its steep terrain and sharp corners,
was especially hazardous, and development had increased the at
grade crossing problems, notably at Bryant Pond Road. To help
improve the parkway safety, in 1967 a median box beam barrier was
installed between Bullet Hole Road (north of Bryant Pond Road) and
The plan favored by the EHPA would have had a new southbound
alignment going through the Wiccopee Valley and Bryant Pond areas
of Putnam Valley, creating alignments as much as apart.
would this have cut through Fahnestock
State Park, but it also would have isolated a large portion of
Putnam Valley and left the Tompkins Corners hamlet marooned in the
Ultimately, the potential effects on Fahnestock
doomed the plan and smaller improvements having less impact on the
original character of the parkway were done, such as replacing the
not very effective timber guide rails with steel box beam guide
In 1980, the Sprain Brook
was completed, providing a higher-speed, signal-free
means of reaching the state-maintained freeway portion of the
Bronx River Parkway
. Until the
completion, it was possible to travel south on the Sprain to the
1990s saw the completion of the parkway between NY 100/NY 133 in Millwood and the Saw Mill
River Parkway in Hawthorne being widened to six lanes with a median, in the
process removing one of the original stone construction gas
stations (examples of which can still be seen farther north) and
the infamous "Pleasantville hump" (the bridge over Pleasantville
Road had steep ramps on both sides).
Former Gas Station along NB side, 0.6 mile south of Pleasantville
Rd., Lost to widening
During this project,
the at-grade crossings of Washburn Road, Chappaqua Road, and
Campfire Road where removed. The eastern part of Washburn Road
became a cul-de-sac
, the western part was
extended south to Pleasantville Road. A bridge was built over
Chappaqua Road, and the eastern part of Campfire Road was extended
north to what had been the northbound NY 100/NY 133 exit, while the
short western part between the parkway and NY 100 was abandoned.
Today it is a parking area for, and what remains is now under, the
North County Trailway
. The NY
100/NY 133 exit was then reconfigured to exit onto what is now
In 2000, reconstruction began to widen the parkway between US 202
and US 6
from four lanes to six lanes. At the
time this project was expected to be completed in 2001. In 2003,
the original contractor was replaced and the project is now
In 2001, the grade crossings at Bogardus Lane, Carpenter Road,
Arthursburg Road, Todd Hill Road, and Stormville Road were closed
to cross traffic as part of a comprehensive safety improvement
project, recommendations of which also included closing the
Hibernia Road, Hollow Road, Willow Lane, Pumpkin Lane, Nine
Partners Road, Willowbrook Road, and Cold Spring Road
During 2007, work was completed on Ramp X. Located just south of
Ramp W, this ramp connecting southbound NY 9A/NY 100 to the southbound parkway in
Pleasant was originally part of the earlier widening
project, but was postponed to reduce costs.
To this day work continues to remove the remaining at-grade
crossings that still exist. Some, like Bryant Pond Road and Miller
Hill Road, have been replaced with a bridge and interchange. Others
have been closed off to cross traffic. The next at-grade crossing
likely to be replaced with an interchange is Pudding Street.
earlier dream of extending the parkway to the Canadian border died with the Interstate system.
for all traffic, the Thruway
diverted funding from the extension project; the eventual
construction of the Adirondack
ultimately removed the need.
State authorizes the Westchester County Parks Commission
to begin planning and construction of the Bronx River Parkway
- 1925: New York State voters authorize a $15 million bond act to
fund state parks.
- 1941: the Westchester County Parks Commission transfers
jurisdiction of its Bronx River extension to the Taconic State Park
Commission. The north-south section of the Bronx River Parkway
extension was then merged with the Eastern State Parkway and named
The Taconic State Parkway. The east-west section of the extension going
to the Bear Mountain
Bridge became the Bear Mountain State
- 1961: The East Hudson Parkway Authority took over jurisdiction
of the parkway under contract to the Taconic State Park Commission.
The next year jurisdiction was officially transferred.
- 1992: The Taconic State Parkway was designated as a New York
State Scenic Byway.
26, 2009: The 2009
Taconic State Parkway crash - A passenger van traveling
southbound in the northbound roadway crashed head-on into an
oncoming sport utility vehicle
(SUV) approximately 1.7 miles north of the Pleasantville Road exit
near Briarcliff Manor, New York. Diane Schuler, the van's driver, and four
children in the van were killed as were all three men in the SUV.
There were no fatalities in a third vehicle that was involved. It
was the worst motor vehicle accident in Westchester County since
1934 when 20 were killed in a bus accident in Ossining. Schuler was
determined to have been impaired, driving under the influence of
both alcohol and marijuana.
Looking south at the Legion Drive
overpass in North Castle.
from its southern terminus, Kensico Circle, at the end of the
Bronx River Parkway, and located
near the base of the Kensico
Dam, the Taconic gets off to a start much as it was
originally built early in the 20th century.
Plaque near Baldwin Road.
The narrow 4
lane roadway with nothing but a box beam median barrier feels
confined and tight, yet the feeling of a country drive is there
thanks to the clever use of terrain and vegetation to hide the
surrounding urbanized environment. For the first few miles the
parkway is very much a surface arterial, complete with traffic
lights at nearly every intersection, following the path of the
Just after Stevens Avenue, things begin to change. After passing
over a steeply ramped bridge over the Metro-North
's Harlem line
, one might notice the
remains of a small paved circle in the median, the remains of what
was once was a turn-around at the end of the parkway. Just past the
turn-around, the roadway heads north and takes on the feel of a
highway entrance ramp. This tends to prepare one for the dramatic
change about to occur, as soon the Taconic widens to a 3 south-4
north lane freeway
at the merge with traffic
from the northern terminus of the Sprain Brook Parkway
. The two-lane exit
to the Saw Mill Parkway
takes away the 4th lane.
Southbound travelers might have a difficult time following the
Taconic at this junction. Although there is the usual small parkway
sign, the Taconic narrows to just two lanes just before the 2 lane
NY 141/SMP entrance ramp. The much larger overhead sign has the
exit labeled as "Bronx (River) Pkwy", and the parkway sign is all
the way over along the other side of the ramp.
After Hawthorne, where a dangerous traffic circle
once existed, the parkway is
very much a freeway and one might get the feeling they are
traveling on just another Interstate
—a rather curvy
one—until reaching Croton Lake where an intimidating bridge
entrance seems to appear from nowhere. The bridge, known as AMVETS
Memorial Bridge (formerly New Croton Reservoir Bridge until 2003),
crosses the Croton Reservoir
crossing Croton Lake one might start to notice uncommon details of
the road and its structures, all designed to blend into the
Just south of the Baldwin Road exit, there is a plaque on the East
side of the roadway set in stone paying tribute to William D.
Baldwin, who donated of land to help with the building of the
Taconic Parkway back in 1928. Mr. Baldwin was the Westchester Parks
Commissioner at the time and his family owned a estate in French
Hill at the time.
After US 6
, the parkway
starts its climb into the start of the Hudson Highlands
, preparing one for what is
about to come.
The TSP looking north from Peekskill Hollow Road
Upon entering Putnam county, the climb into the Hudson Highlands
has begun and the
character of the parkway as FDR envisioned starts to become
evident. The twisty roadway, narrow and confined with only a box
beam median is much like the Westchester boulevard segment but
lacking the traffic lights. Tighter curves are noticeable as it
passes through the rugged terrain. The former overlooks are long
gone, but glimpses of the views to appear later still exist.
After a steep climb, it levels off a bit before plunging down into
Peekskill Hollow and crossing Peekskill Hollow road. Then the parkway
makes another steep ascent up toward Fahnestock
State Park following the path of Roaring Brook as it makes a
dramatic sweeping 180-degree turn, quickly followed by a 90-degree
turn in the opposite direction.
It passes between two large
lakes as it enters Fahnestock and reaches its highest point. The
parkway continues its journey, skirting across the top of the
Highlands toward the Dutchess County line.
Taconic enters Dutchess County, it steeply descends the western side of Hosner Mountain and moves into the rolling
hills of the Hudson Highlands.
Major cross routes within the
county include Interstate
, New York State Route
, U.S. Route 44
, and New York State Route 82
, with which
the Taconic first intersects in Southern Dutchess. There is a
second exit for Route 82 in Columbia County, which causes much
confusion for those traveling north, as the Taconic's exits are not
Approaching the northern end of the
for most of the Taconic's run though Dutchess County because of
high traffic volume and a history of accidents. So far, one
overpass has been built, and an exit has been added (northbound at
Noxon Road in the Town of Lagrange) to complement the
The parkway terrain in Columbia is similar to that in Dutchess,
with some additional features. First, the larger green mile markers
disappear at the county line (the highest one is Mile 72.6). There
are also many more at-grade crossings, which lack exit and entry
ramps. Unlike Interstate 87
west, there are no commercialized rest stops. However, there are at
least two scenic overlooks (parking area)in both directions, that
provides a view for miles on a clear day. Plus, at an at-grade
intersection with Rigor Hill Road (between New York State Route 217
New York State Route 203
, and a Mobil
gas/fuel station are available for travelers to stop and eat, get
gas, or go to the restroom. It is clearly seen if the traveler is
traveling southbound, and may be difficult for people to see it
northbound. This is considered a rest area
to the travelers. It is not uncommon to see deer, wild turkey,
groundhogs, or other wildlife along the grassy sides of the
parkway. Towards the end of the parkway, one can see the Albany
city lights in the distance at the Ghent overlook.
The parkway terminates at a three-lane tollbooth to the Berkshire
Extension of the New York State Thruway, which enters at exit
Intersections (as opposed to freeway-style exits) were numbered;
however, most are no longer posted. Numbering is not necessarily
sequential; many exits have been removed, and some have been
||Southbound exit and northbound entrance
||South Kensico Avenue
||No longer accessible from the TSP
|Southern terminus of freeway section
||Southbound exit and northbound entrance
||Northbound exit and southbound entrance
||Northbound exit and southbound entrance
||Southbound exit and northbound entrance
||Northbound exit and entrance
||Northbound exit and southbound entrance
||Pleasantville Road (CR 401) -
||Pines Bridge Road (CR
||Northbound exit and southbound entrance
|Bridges over the New Croton
||Underhill Avenue (CR 131) -
Croton-on-Hudson, Yorktown Heights
||Former NY 131
||Former NY 132A
||Southbound entrance only; no exit from Taconic
||Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
||No northbound entrance
||Northbound exit and southbound entrance
|Northern terminus of freeway section
||Artery to Dring Road
||Southbound-only at-grade intersection, signed only at
||Bryant Pond Road
||Bullet Hole Road
||Northbound only, closed mid-1990s
(Peekskill Hollow Road)
||Southbound only, closed mid-1990s.
|| NY 301 - Carmel, Cold Spring
Fahnestock State Park (east).
||Hortontown Hill Road
||At-grade intersection. Median closed early 2000s.
||Northbound only. Southbound closed mid 1990s, median closed
||Miller Hill Road
||Location of Appalachian Trail
||Exit 16 N-S (I-84)
||Hosner Mountain Road
||Exit closed 2000s.
|| NY 52 - Fishkill, Carmel
29 (Carpenter Road)
North-to-east and south-to-west connections.
||CR 9 (Beekman
Road) - Hopewell Junction, Sylvan Lake
||Northbound only. Closed 2000s.
|| NY 82 - Hopewell
Junction, LaGrange, East Fishkill
42 (Arthursburg Road)
||Southbound only. Recently upgraded from an intersection.
Northbound closed mid-1980s.
21 (Noxon Road) - Noxon,
||Northbound exit only. To southbound Taconic, use CR 42.
||Todd Hill Road
|| NY 55 - Pawling, Poughkeepsie
||Mid-Hudson Bridge - use NY 55 west.
||James Baird State
||Northbound: left-hand exit. Southbound: right-hand exit.
|| US 44 - Poughkeepsie, Millbrook
14 (Hollow Road)
||At-grade intersection, northbound only.
Median closed July 24, 2002.
17 (Salt Point Turnpike)
||To Hyde Park.
||Nine Partners Road (median closed in early 2000s)
19 (Bulls Head Road)
||Cold Spring Road
Median closed August 15, 2002.
|| NY 199 - Pine
Plains, Red Hook; Milan Wilcox Recreational Park
CR 2/Dutchess CR 50
(Jackson Corners Road)
||Interchange partly straddles the county line.
||Lake Taghkanic State Park
||Southbound: no exit, make U-turn at CR 8.
|| NY 82 - Ancram, Hudson
||Rip Van Winkle Bridge - use NY 82 west.
||Post Hill Rd
|| NY 23 - Claverack, Hillsdale
|| NY 217 - Harlemville, Philmont
|| NY 203 - Austerlitz, Chatham
|| NY 295 - Chatham, East Chatham
||Northbound: last exit before toll. Southbound: access via
||Rock City Road
||Northbound entrance only.
||Upper Cady Road
||Southbound exit only. Commercial traffic must exit.
|Toll booth. Southbound: pay toll. Northbound: get
ticket for the New York State
|| I-90/Thruway east
||Northbound exit only.
Exit B2 (I-90/Thruway).
|Northbound traffic defaults onto I-90/Thruway
- Taconic State Parkway (NYCROADS.com)
- Bear Mountain Bridge (NYCROADS.com)
- Parkway Access For Pick-Up Trucks Page not
available. Archived version
- Historic American Engineering Record - Taconic
State Parkway, Poughkeepsie vicinity, Dutchess County, NY
- The Preservationist (NYS Office of Parks,
Recreation and Historic Preservation) Spring 2005
- The Taconic: Gateway To A New Yorktown by Martin
Wilbur, North County News, June 22-28, 1988
- NYS governors office press release July 12, 2000
- Reed Construction Data January 17, 2005
- Taconic State Parkway phase two recommendations
Journal News December 31, 2003 and July 17, 2006
- Taconic State Parkway/Miller Hill Road Interchange
- Taconic Task Force Report, Part 1
- Taconic Task Force Report, Part 2
- Traffic Safety Board Calls for Upgrade of Pudding
Street... The Putnam County News and Recorder February 25,
- New York Scenic Byways
- National Register of Historic Places Listings,
2005 (National Park Service)