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Albany Holds Public Meeting On Traffic Study In Busy Corridor

Traffic, and where it flows in a growing section of Albany, was the subject of a public meeting Monday night at St. Peter's Hospital.

In August 2017, a $100,000 study funded by St. Peter’s Health Partners, of the New Scotland/Buckingham/Krumkill Corridor, was announced to "identify changes to address resident and motorist concerns."

The study was commissioned as traffic along upper New Scotland Avenue become more congested. However:  "Nothing has been decided."   Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan told attendees the meeting was called to share findings and challenges, give residents an update as well as an opportunity to discuss which of several proposals might be more favorable and feasible than others.   "I can tell you at this point we don't have funding to reconstruct this road in place at this time."

Sheehan expressed hope that the city’s “partners in state government" would help identify funding sources in order to upgrade New Scotland Avenue.

In the past few years new stop signs have gone up. Traffic lights were adjusted and two streets turned one-way, after residents complained motorists used Friebel Road and Tampa Avenue as shortcuts to New York State Route 85.

A slideshow presentation featured maps, plans and a summary of the outcome of a previous public meeting held in November.

Will Trudeau is Chief Supervisor of Traffic Engineering for the city of Albany.   "There's an opportunity for us to look at some of the striping on New Scotland Avenue between Onderdonk Avenue and Manning Boulevard. We have a paving project that's gonna be coming up this summer, do we're probably going to look at that seriously. The rest of it — the striping certainly is going to lower costs and probably more feasible. We have three different concepts on the table. We're looking to get public input."

Options presented for re-striping New Scotland Avenue included adding a center turn lane and bicycle lanes along the stretch from Manning Blvd. to Buckingham Drive, similar to the "traffic-calming" strategy recently applied along Madison Avenue. The estimated cost would come in under $2 million dollars.

Another "striping" option included installation of three roundabouts, at Krumkill Road, Buckingham Drive and South Manning Boulevard. Of all choices presented, officials noted roundabouts could lessen travel time through the busy corridor by 25 percent. Those traffic circles would come at a cost of $8 to $10 million dollars.  Residents already having trouble getting out of their driveways said roundabouts would render such a maneuver "impossible."

During a public comment session residents expressed concerns about walkability and property values. Many leaned toward support for one proposal that would restore two-way traffic to Friebel Road and Tampa Avenue. With no shortage of options and no firm timetable, Trudeau says the eventual outcome depends on money.   "As options come to the top and funding becomes available we'll look at them more seriously and then do a full engineering evaluation of the various options before implementation."

A whopping $50 million dollar plan to move the NY 85 interchange to meet with Whitehall Road wasn't favored by anyone at the meeting.

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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