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Albany's Lark Street Gets $1.3M For Revitalization

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan is rolling out a new budget today, including a plan to revitalize Lark Street.

Sheehan says the Lark Street Streetscape makeover is meant to improve pedestrian safety and Walkability, with an initial $1.3 million investment.

A makeover for one of the city's busiest streets includes repaving, sidewalk repairs with ADA compliant sidewalk ramps, semi-permanent curb bump-outs and lighting enhancements.

"Phase One of this project’s design and input process will commence in 2021, and we expect construction to start in 2022.”

Sheehan says improvements were derived from community input via a Lark Street Streetscape Study. Funding comes from a $750,000 Federal TAP award plus $250,000 in contributions secured by Democratic state Assemblymembers John McDonald and Pat Fahy. Fahy says the investments will foster business development.

"This takes such a partnership! Yes, I had a small piece of it, thank-you to the speaker of the Assembly who was able to give us some capital investment dollars that we try to invest wisely, thank you to my colleague John McDonald, who we meet a few times a year, so that we can collaborate and best make those decisions to better this city and do it in a strategic way. And both of us have a very similar feeling about outside. Outside the safest place to be under COVID-19 is outside, it's the healthiest place and part of this is making sure that we do have that balance while stressing a walkable community, because walkable communities help revitalize communities."

Sheehan also announced that the city will initiate a Washington Park area traffic study in 2021.

"The goal of that study is to really look at what is happening with traffic in Washington Park. It's really linked with the walkability of this neighborhood and we need to really understand what's happening within the park and what we can do to address many of the concerns that I've been hearing since I became mayor. About the amount of traffic in the park, the speed of cars in the park, and how we can create that same type of balance that we're trying to create here on Lark Street of mobility as well as walkability."

Richard Conti represents the sixth ward on the Common Council.

"The Lark Street corridor runs through a very, I think it's the most densely populated neighborhood in the city, very walkable, pedestrian issues are very important, and so linking what we're doing on Lark Street and the beginning of that project with a pedestrian and traffic safety assessment that includes Washington park, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods, really is important.”

Sheehan says the city will apply for additional funding for both projects.

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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