The City of Albany’s Department of Planning and Development and the Capital District Transportation Committee are hosting a public meeting Wednesday to discuss the future of Washington Avenue near the University of Albany’s uptown campus.
The Washington Avenue-Patroon Creek Corridor Study is a collaborative feasibility study for the area along Washington Avenue, between Brevator Street and the Eastbound I-90 Exit 2 on-ramp, across from UAlbany's main campus entrance.
Christopher Spencer is Commissioner of Planning & Development for the city. "Over the years we've seen a lot of development take place and the characteristics have changed over time. A number of hotels now, we've got one private dorm and another one under construction, so the way the roadway has been used has changed over time. We've taken a look at the needs and the engineering department and the police department have lowered the speed limit to 30 miles per hour to deal with some of the safety issues. But the reality is that the road was constructed for a much higher traffic speed, so we wanna take a look at ways to calm the traffic, to sort of do a road-diet, but really to look at it more in terms of 'complete streets.'"
"Complete Streets" policy requires that a municipal roadway accommodate all users — cars, buses, bicyclists, pedestrians — regardless of age or ability. The plan encompasses principles like improving sidewalks, installing bike lanes and erecting shelters at bus stops. It's meant to make travel through a section of town easier for all. Capital District Transportation Committee Executive Director Michael Franchini: "You start looking at, you know, pedestrian safety. You start looking at bicycle safety and trying to improve access by pedestrians and bicyclists, even transit... trying to improve access for transit riders. It's better, it's a little more involved, it's more benefits for the cost, and you design it for more than just vehicles."
Spencer says the Washington Avenue Corridor study is being overseen by Creighton-Manning, the same firm that administered the Madison Avenue Road Diet farther downtown. "You know the success has shown that these things can work."
Public input will be solicited at Wednesday's meeting. Spencer hopes people from the surrounding neighborhoods, businesses and UAlbany community will show up. "To get a sense of how people use that stretch of roadway, what they see as issues related to it and what they'd like to see. So it's very open-ended at this point. there are no decisions or design parameters that have really gone into this at this point, so it's very early in the process."
The discussion is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Hall of Fame Room at UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena.
Visit Project Updates for meeting announcements and other information on the Washington Avenue-Patroon Creek Corridor Study.