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Albany Park Becoming More Bike And Pedestrian Friendly

There will be a major makeover this summer for bike and pedestrian paths along Albany's riverfront.

In marking Earth Day, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and other elected and government leaders joined with bicycle and pedestrian advocates Friday to announce major improvements to the bike and pedestrian infrastructure at the Corning Preserve on the Hudson River, newly re-christened the Corning Riverfront Park.

Mayor Sheehan told a small crowd the project aims to make the park more accessible to residents:   "We're building more crosswalks. And crosswalks with signals at the three intersections at Quay Street and Broadway, at the Broadway connection and Water Street. We're also traffic-calming Quay Street, which runs adjacent to the Riverfront Park, to make it a complete street. We want to make sure that it is a street that serves the needs of all users, so it's going to be calmed down from two lanes to one lane, with better accommodations for cyclists, for pedestrians, and nearly 50 parallel parking spots are gonna be added to one lane."

The project will make the Corning Riverfront Park more accessible from downtown, the Warehouse District, Arbor Hill, and the South End through improved road crossings. Also planned: widening and extending bicycle and walking paths on the waterfront.

New trees and lighting will be added as well as new benches, bike racks and trash cans. There will also be kiosks to promote Albany events and activities.   "People are really going to see a transformation down here... and more to come!  We're working on a study so that we can link with the wonderful rail trail that exists in the town of Bethlehem and provide more beautification and functionality of the tidal ponds that are down here," said the Mayor.

Third Ward Common Council member Ron Bailey sees the improvements unifying the city.   "You come down here during the weekend, even on weekdays, this park is utilized for families, kids, you know, bicycles, pedestrians, so this is a big improvement for down here."

The construction is made possible by $4 million from the New York State DOT’s Transportation Enhancements Program, a federal reimbursement initiative that provides support for projects with “cultural, aesthetic, historic and environmental significance,” and a $1 million bond through the city.

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy:  "For every dollar you invest in bike and pedestrian lanes, my understanding is it generates four to seven dollars of economic development. So this is not just about good recreation, this is huge in terms of economic development into our riverfront, into our downtown areas."

Planning was funded by the NY Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The project began this spring and is expected to be completed this calendar year.

As part of Earth Week, Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan is encouraging residents to take part in the many programs available through the City of Albany that protect the environment. The programs, run through the City’s Department of General Services, include:

·         FREE COMPOST, MULCH & WOOD CHIPS FROM RECYCLED YARD WASTE: Residents can put out yard waste for collection, which is picked up and composted by DGS at the City compost facility at 1 Richard J Conners Boulevard.  Compost, mulch, and wood chips are then used throughout the City’s many parks, and is available at no cost to residents and community garden members. For more information about the compost facility, click here: http://bit.ly/1YJ6P5E

·         ELECTRONICS DISPOSAL: DGS encourages residents to drop off electronics such as televisions or computer monitors for recycling at the DGS warehouse at 1 Richard J. Conners Blvd. any time. Residents can also bring electronics and hazardous waste items for safe disposal to the City landfill on one of nine separate collection dates, listed here: http://bit.ly/1Sumynx

·         SPRING CLEAN-UPS: DGS partners with neighborhood groups for spring clean-ups. To organize a cleanup, contact the DGS Community Relations Coordinator at 518-434-5822. To see dates and times for remaining neighborhood clean-ups, click here: http://bit.ly/23Ksam3. http://bit.ly/20YG1zY

·         PAPER SHREDDING AND RECYCLING: The twice-annual paper shredding and book recycling event sponsored by the City of Albany Department of General Services will be held on April 28 from 4-7 p.m. at the Washington Park Lake House. For more information about what can and cannot be dropped off at the event, click here: http://bit.ly/1Qod1d5

Residents with questions about these programs can contact DGS at 518-434-CITY.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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