An open house to present the findings of the I-787/Hudson Waterfront Corridor Study will be held tonight in Albany.
There's been a lot of discussion about the future of 787 and the riverfront. Now, the public is being given an opportunity to weigh in on a draft report to help determine that future.
The Capital District Transportation Committee, the New York State Department of Transportation and several municipalities including the City of Albany are hosting the event at the Washington Avenue branch of the Albany Public Library.
Michael Franchini, Executive Director of the Capital District Transportation Committee, says the I-787/Hudson Waterfront Corridor Study gathers ideas from more than 20 municipal planning documents, defines specific strategies that support the study objectives, and gauges their feasibility. "The study is meant to identify the cost of maintaining 787, and it's an incredibly complicated infrastructure, so the costs are considerable, and to look at recommendations from previous studies and then finally to develop strategies to improve access to the waterfront and look at steps that each can take toward actually implementing those strategies."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the draft plan also identifies opportunities, challenges, and considerations that will need to be addressed to move strategies on a path toward implementation. "Basically the condition of 787 and what is possible both in the near-term, medium-term and long-term with respect to that corridor."
Franchini notes the clock is ticking on a 30-day public comment period that ends April 13th at 5 p.m. "787 is a regional asset. It affects all of the commuters that use it, that come into the city of Albany. It affects city of Albany residents who use it just to get around to the city and other places, so there are a lot of vehicles using the road, anywhere from 40,000 to 88,000 vehicles a day use that road."
The study area is primarily along I-787 in Albany, Watervliet, Menands, and Colonie from Exit 2 (Port of Albany) to Exit 9 (NY Route 7). Mayor Sheehan says the new Skyway project is just one component of the project. "The Skyway was something that I discussed early on in the study with the engineers who did the study as well as with DOT and the folks at CDTC so it was one of the projects that, it was part of that study, and because of the feasibility of it and there was some funding that was needed to be re-purposed, you know the $3.1 million that the governor announced, that really sprang ahead and was really seen executed in parallel with the finalizing of the 787 study. So the corridor study is far more comprehensive and it really deals with the corridor all the way up into Cohoes where there've been additional traffic studies and concerns with pedestrians and slowing down traffic there, so... The 787 study that's gonna be discussed tonight is more comprehensive and includes the entire corridor."
Franchini invites all to attend the open house being held from 4 to 7:30 p.m. in the library's auditorium. "If people wanna learn about the study and what it recommends, this is the best opportunity for them. There'll be two presentations, one at 4:30 and one at 6:30. Both presentations are the same. There'll be opportunities for people to give their comments and give their input in several ways. There'll be comment cards, there's a website and email address, so there are just a lot of opportunities for people to learn and to comment on the project. We'd like to hear what people think about it."
The I-787/Hudson Waterfront Corridor Study objectives are:
• Identify life-cycle costs for I-787, and feasible strategies (with respect to transportation and access needs) that have the potential to reduce maintenance costs over time.
• Identify strategies that would improve transportation, community, and environmental compatibility.
• Integrate recommendations from previous studies, and fresh ideas through an involved stakeholder process.
• Identify access improvements to support multi-modal transportation objectives, as well as waterfront revitalization and economic development opportunities such as downtown and brownfield redevelopment.
• Identify steps that lead agencies will need to take toward implementation.
During the Open House session the study team will share the draft study findings through presentations given at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (the content of both presentations will be the same). Attendees will be invited to examine informational boards highlighting key considerations used to identify the suggested strategies as well as a location map with both the recommended and progressed initiatives.
Following the open house, a public comment period will open on the draft report which will be made available on the project website at www.787waterfrontstudy.blogspot.com. A study summary is currently available for review at http://787waterfrontstudy.blogspot.com/2018/03/study-summary-available-for-review.html.