Scanning the Albany 2030 draft plan

albany 2030 map activity nodes corridors

A map of "activity nodes and corridors." (pg 35 / pdf pg 45)

Albany 2030, the effort to develop a comprehensive plan for the City of Albany, released a draft of the plan this week. The "guide for the management of change" (or "a 'to do' list" for the city) is long, really loooong. The pdf is 272 pages.

Who would ever read through the whole thing? Uh, well... that would be us.

The draft plan mostly covers general goals, things like promoting economic development and increasing transit options. But it also includes specifics, some of which are worthwhile but still kind of oddly specific (example: incentives to increase the use of rain barrels).

If we had to distill the whole document down to one sentence, it would be, in our own words (deep breath):

Albany aims to become a prosperous, diverse, well-educated, safe city, ready for climate change, with a mixed-use downtown and neighborhood centers, where people walk more and drive less.

But there's a lot more to it. We've gone through the whole document and pulled a bunch of bits that we thought we were interesting and notable (with page numbers so you can reference the context).

A scannable list of those bits is after the jump.

This isn't a comprehensive list of everything in the comprehensive plan -- some things were left out (that's sort of the point). We bet you would have picked some different things, so please share. And just to reiterate -- the plan is long and there's a fair amount of overlap in the sections. We read most of it, but we plead guilty to skimming in a few places.

Also: Albany 2030 is looking for public comment on the draft plan and has set up a web form for feedback.

Community form (land use)

+ Land use planning should take into account possible effects of climate change to push "development away from flood plains and other vulnerable areas." (pg 34 / pdf pg 44)

+ "Use zoning to promote mixed use development in neighborhood commercial centers, the downtown, and along transit corridors." (pg 34 / pdf pg 44)

+ The plan includes a goal to "Improve connections between the downtown and the Hudson River waterfront and provide waterfront amenities." (pg 39 / pdf pg 49)

a. Update the Local Waterfront Redevelopment Program (LWRP) to address access to the waterfront from downtown and adjacent neighborhoods5. Key components of the updated plan should include:
+ Conceptual land use and development plans for key sites along the waterfront.
+ Potential long term approach for removing or spanning portions of I-787 to allow for direct pedestrian and vehicular connections to the waterfront.
+ Short term access improvements at key locations between downtown and the waterfront, such as Corning Preserve and Riverfront Park.
+ Improved transit connections to the waterfront, including water-based modes.
+ Plan for development activity, such as new housing, restaurants, and water recreation in key locations that will bring more activity to the waterfront, including negotiations with New York State.
+ Plan for the potential impacts of climate change, including the rise of the Hudson River, particularly during extreme storm events.

+ "Use urban design standards and guidelines as a way to support alternative modes of
transportation
(pedestrian, bicycle, transit and alternative fuel vehicles)." (pg 39 / pdf pg 49)

+ "Create development incentives for preserving historic buildings and facades and ensuring architectural compatibility between new and existing development. Incentives need to be tailored for specific locations and must be considered after considerable community dialogue, discussions with the Historic Preservation Commission, and dialogue with developers about the effectiveness of incentives." (pg 41 / pdf pg 51)

+ "Gain control of vacant and abandoned properties to adaptively reuse or redevelop both historic and non-historic structures. " (pg 42 / pdf pg 52)

Economy

+ "Nurture entrepreneurship by providing, in partnership with other organizations concerned with economic development as appropriate, technical and financial assistance to new and start-up businesses." (The city could do this tomorrow by building a simple website that lists the steps and permits required to launch a business in the city, with categories for different types of business (e.g.: food).) (pg 48 / pdf pg 58)

+ "Eliminate barriers to the creation and retention of home-based businesses that are consistent with neighborhood character." (pg 48 / pdf pg 58)

+ "Coordinate the City's economic development and energy / sustainability
efforts to promote and incentivize 'green' jobs." "Green jobs include jobs in recycling, public transit, the green building industry, and jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency." (pg 50 / pdf pg 60)

+ "Build the downtown residential population by incentivizing high density residential and mixed use development/redevelopment." (pg 52 / pdf pg 62)

+ "Work with the State and Port District Commission on ways to overcome deed restrictions to commercial development at Corning Preserve to allow limited commercial development at the waterfront." (pg 53 / pdf pg 63)

+ "Develop a green technology park focusing on renewable energy production and innovative solid waste management technologies." (pg 53 / pdf pg 63)

+ "Review the performance of exiting Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to determine their viability and needs." (pg 56 / pdf pg 66)

+ "Cultivate a customer service culture within City government to ensure that officials and policies support those investing in Albany." (pg 57 / pdf pg 67)

+ "Identify local retailers and restaurateurs with potential for growth within the local market and beyond." (pg 58 / pdf pg 68)

+ "Identify gaps in the menu of shopping opportunities and help commercial real estate
owners and managers recruit appropriate tenants." (pg 58 / pdf pg 68) (Yeah, people might have a few suggestions.)

Social

albany 2030 food access map
A clip from a "food access" map. (pg 72 / pdf pg 82)

+ "Create a "Partners in Education Program" with the Albany School District and charter
schools to address and integrate the divided education system." (pg 67 / pdf pg 77)

+ "Engage the State Board of Regents to discuss the benefits and potential impacts of charter schools on the Albany City School District." (pg 67 / pdf pg 77)

+ "Market the positive accomplishments of public schools (e.g., magnet school programs, full-day kindergarten, public-private partnerships, rising test scores, etc.)." (pg 67 / pdf pg 77)

+ "Investigate the potential for an "Albany Promise" collaboration that ensures admission and financial aid [to local colleges] to all City of Albany public school students who achieve benchmarks and graduate high school. See the Syracuse University Challenge program as a model." (pg 68 / pdf pg 78)

+ "Adopt policies or guidelines to increase safe, comfortable mobility options for bicyclists, transit users and pedestrians." (pg 73 / pdf pg 83)

+ "Partner with organizations such as The Food Trust and Low Income Investment Fund to bring full service grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods." (pg 73 / pdf pg 83)

+ "Identify and market suitable sites for grocery stores within walking distance of neighborhoods and require pedestrian and bicycle amenities during site design (e.g., sidewalks, bike racks, parking located in garages)." (pg 73 / pdf pg 83)

+ "Develop a partnership between farmers markets and the Albany School District to incorporate fresh, healthy food in city schools and improve nutritional education." (pg 74 / pdf pg 84)

+ "Develop an Urban Agricultural Plan to support efforts to grow and consume more fresh, sustainably produced, and locally grown foods within the city, increasing community health, economic diversity, and local food security." (pg 74 / pdf pg 84) (If there's a place where urban chickens fit into this plan, this is it.)

+ "Increase pedestrian and bicycle access to the Hudson Riverfront and the Mohawk-Hudson River Trail. Extend the Mohawk-Hudson River Trail south from the Corning Preserve along the Hudson River to the proposed Albany County Rail Trail via the existing road network." (pg 75 / pdf pg 85)

+ "Integrate public art into streetscape and transit station improvements (e.g., light poles, gateway signage, bus shelters, etc.) where appropriate." (pg 82 / pdf pg 92)

+ "Develop public/private partnerships to adaptively reuse vacant buildings for live-work studio space." "Encourage construction of affordable live-work space through the reuse of vacant land and the City's proposed Land Banking Program." (pg 84 / pdf pg 94)

+ "Develop parenting and early childhood education similar to the Harlem Children's Zone to prepare children for primary school. Use the Harlem Children's Zone Practitioners Institute as a resource." (pg 85 / pdf pg 95)

+ "Identify proven strategies for homeless prevention, permanent housing solutions, temporary assistance, and continuing services" (pg 86 / pdf pg 96)

Transportation

+ "Goal: Increase options to the private automobile to move people within and between Albany, the Capital Region, and beyond." (pg 91 / pdf pg 101)

+ "Develop a Complete Streets program including design standards, land use plans, and zoning regulations that provide the highest level of integration between pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders as appropriate based on the surrounding land use and street types. Adopt Complete Streets legislation that would address the retrofit of existing and design of new and reconstructed roadways." (pg 94 / pdf pg 104)

+ "Identify problem areas and implement appropriate traffic calming measures (e.g., landscape medians, pavement treatments, bike lanes, street trees and planters) to increase safety while maintaining efficient traffic flow." (pg 94 / pdf pg 104)

+ "Incorporate new transportation modes into redesigned streets, such as electric cars, mopeds and other types of personal mobility devices." (pg 94 / pdf pg 104)

+ "Work with the NYS Department of Transportation and the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) on the I-787 Integrated Corridor Study. The intent of the study is to evaluate short and long term infrastructure needs for I-787 including near term access improvements to support the City's downtown and waterfront economic development initiatives. In addition, the study will evaluate opportunities for alternative designs (including an urban arterial) that reduce long term maintenance costs and/or improve the compatibility of I-787 with the community. The highway currently represents a visual and physical barrier between the City and its waterfront. Replacing the elevated highway with an urban arterial at or below grade would have a dramatic impact on the visual attractiveness of the City of Albany, walkability and potentially create additional developable land." (pg 95 / pdf pg 105)

+ "Establish a tracking and monitoring system for vehicle-pedestrian crashes. Such a system will be used by the City as a data driven approach to identifying potential pedestrian improvements. Complete streets and other mechanisms will also be utilized by the City to implement pedestrian improvements and enhance safe walking environments pro-actively throughout the City." (pg 97 / pdf pg 107)

+ "Goal: Provide for safe bicycle mobility throughout the City." "Implement the Bicycle Master Plan." (pg 99 / pdf pg 109)

+ "Fund a full or part-time cycling coordinator to work for the City of Albany." (pg 100 / pdf pg 110)

+ "Determine the feasibility of a citywide bike share program." (pg 100 / pdf pg 110)

+ "Establish an Intermodal Transit Center (regional / local bus service) with connections to the Rensselaer Amtrak Station and Albany International Airport." "Work cooperatively with CDTA, private bus operators, and other parties to develop a new Intermodal Transit Center in downtown Albany adjacent to the site of the proposed Convention Center." (pg 103 / pdf pg 113)

+ "Evaluate, as part of the citywide parking strategy, incentivizing transit use through
changes to parking fees that would encourage a shift from driving to riding transit." (pg 103 / pdf pg 113) (We're pretty sure this translates as "Charge people more to park.")

+ "Encourage the development of additional BusPlus routes throughout the City and to regional destinations, including along Western Avenue, as well as routes connecting the Albany, Schenectady, and Troy city centers." (pg 105 / pdf pg 115)

+ "Support the development and implementation of the federally-designated high speed rail Empire Corridor, extending from New York City to Albany to Buffalo, with the New York City to Albany route as a priority." (pg 105 / pdf pg 115)

+ "Investigate potential opportunities for light rail connections to growing suburbs, city centers and regional activity centers. Explore funding sources and feasibility." (pg 105 / pdf pg 115)

+ "Determine the feasibility of reestablishing streetcar lines along highly-travelled City routes." (pg 105 / pdf pg 115)

+ "Optimize traffic flow and minimize congestion on arterial roadways through the use of
management strategies, including: Access management techniques on critical corridors to maintain capacity and safety. This includes limiting individual driveways, encouraging shared curb cuts, and potential use of medians or traffic engineering measures to control turning movements. Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and traffic signal optimization. Alternative intersection design to increase mobility such as the use of roundabouts where appropriate." (pg 107 / pdf pg 117)

+ "Connect neighborhood streets that today may not be connected, to facilitate circulation and minimize traffic congestion on collector roadways." (pg 107 / pdf pg 117)

+ "Work cooperatively with the State of New York, the Albany Parking Authority and others to find opportunities for changes to State-employee parking policies that would better synchronize with City of Albany resident and visitor needs. Such changes could include fee structures, shared parking during off hours and incentives for transit use." (pg 108 / pdf pg 118)

+ "Support the development of a car-sharing program for residents, as well as commuters, which will reduce local and regional VMT's and GHG emissions, and reduce parking demand." (pg 109 / pdf pg 119)

+ "Promote the use of alternative vehicles, where appropriate, in transportation plans, including facilities for plug-in electric vehicles on streets and in parking facilities." (pg 110 / pdf pg 120)

Natural Resources

+ "Investigate potential of daylighting waterways that are currently culverted." (pg 122 / pdf pg 132)

+ "Identify barriers to recreational swimming access in the Hudson River." (pg 122 / pdf pg 132)

+ "Update the Urban Forest Management Plan to include best practices for increasing and maintaining the City's urban tree canopy, including replacing aging and diseased trees, and planting species resistant to pests and disease, and are low-pollen producers. Consider i-Tree or other tools to build capacity for urban forest assessment and management." (pg 124 / pdf pg 134)

+ "Adopt a tree preservation/landscape ordinance that limits disturbance to existing trees and vegetation, requires replacement of trees above a specified size that are removed (e.g., equal caliper inch replacement), and includes provisions requiring native trees and plants be retained in sensitive environmental areas (e.g., floodplains, steep slopes)." (pg 125 / pdf pg 135)

+ "Create an "emerald necklace" of open spaces along Albany's southern boundary by improving pedestrian and bicycle access between existing open spaces and targeting key sites for open space acquisition. Access to Normanskill Farm, the Albany Municipal Golf Course, and the cemetery are generally interrupted by I-87 and I-787. The proposed Albany County Rail Trail is an example of a potential multi-use trail in this area that would help to improve pedestrian access to open space." (pg 132 / pdf pg 142)

Housing and Neighborhoods

albany 2030 map walk sheds
A clip from a map of commercial strips and "walk sheds." (pg 150 / pdf pg 160)

+ "Partner with local employers and institutions to create incentives to encourage employees and renters to purchase homes in targeted neighborhoods." (pg 141 / pdf pg 151)

+ "Adopt zoning and other development regulations (e.g., density bonuses, streamlined development review) to maintain and increase housing diversity and make home ownership more affordable by reducing development costs." (pg 141 / pdf pg 151)

+ "Promote increased mixed-use housing in downtown, through zoning regulations and incentives, to sustain weekend and evening pedestrian activity and encourage evening hours for retailers." (pg 141 / pdf pg 151)

+ "Encourage non-profit and for-profit developers to design senior housing that is integrated into the neighborhood." (pg 142 / pdf pg 152)

+ "Explore the possibility of escalating fines, fees and assessment of vacant and abandoned property to deter speculation and encourage reuse." (pg 147 / pdf pg 157)

+ "Work with neighborhood associations and other neighborhood stakeholders to develop a network of listservs or other web-based forums to serve as a mechanism for residents to communicate general information such as, current events or public safety concerns." (pg 149 / pdf pg 159)

+ "Encourage and incentivize anchor retail and restaurant establishments to locate to established neighborhood commercial centers." (pg 151 / pdf pg 161)

+ "Target quality of life crimes and improve safety/perception of safety in neighborhoods (e.g., improved street lighting and reductions in the number of vacant buildings)." (pg 152 / pdf pg 162)

Utilities and Infrastructure

+ "Work with National Grid and New York State Public Service Commission to develop a
plan to convert existing streetlights to more energy-efficient LED's." (pg 158 / pdf pg 168)

+ "Consider a code revision to encourage all new development and major rehabilitation projects to have "cool" roofs (i.e., white or grey roofs with a high solar reflectivity index or green roofs) or green to reduce the urban heat island effect13." (pg 162 / pdf pg 172)

+ "Require that all new buildings, which meet certain size and/or density thresholds,
built or rehabilitated with public-private funding be LEED Certified or meet some other
established minimum level of energy-efficiency and sustainable site specifications
established by the city." (pg 162 / pdf pg 172)

+ "Implement phased green infrastructure strategies to reduce stormwater runoff and ultimately eliminate [combined sewer overflows], comply with New York State water quality standards, and Clean Water Act requirements. Potential strategies include new street trees, underground cisterns, green roofs, green streets, and rainwater capture." (pg 163 / pdf pg 173) (Translation: when it rains a lot, make it so that untreated sewage doesn't overflow into the Hudson River.)

+ "Revise building codes and work with NY Department of Environmental Conservation to allow the use of greywater recycling systems (i.e., untreated household wastewater from showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines) for irrigation and other non-potable uses." (pg 165 / pdf pg 175)

+ "Develop standards for new construction and rehabilitation projects to require the use of high-efficiency toilets and low-flow fixtures." (pg 165 / pdf pg 175)

+ "Investigate the feasibility of utilizing the City's gravity fed water and sewer system for
renewable energy generation." (pg 165 / pdf pg 175)

+ "Goal: Increase recycling and reduce the solid waste stream." (pg 171 / pdf pg 181)

+ "Create incentives for reducing solid waste disposal. As recommended in the SWMP, explore the effectiveness and feasibility of pay-as-you-throw programs, or volume-based disposal charges to create financial incentives for waste reduction and recycling." (pg 172 / pdf pg 182)

+ "Implement single-stream recycling for residents." (pg 173 / pdf pg 183)

+ "Partner with the New York State Office of Technology, communications service providers, the school district, and major institutions to expand wireless internet service for commercial, institutional and residential use throughout Albany and the Capital Region." "Expand high-speed internet access in public locations, including libraries, senior centers, community centers, and schools." (pg 174 / pdf pg 184)

Institutions

+ "Identify opportunities for shared services with local governments, state agencies, not-for-profits, and institutions." (pg 182 / pdf pg 192)

+ "Work with the State Office of General Services (OGS) to encourage state offices to locate in existing downtown buildings and consider adaptive reuse/opportunities for historic preservation. Currently many employees at Albany's major employment centers (e.g., SUNY, Albany Nanotech Complex, Empire State Plaza) have little incentive to patronize businesses outside of their office complexes. However, when buildings are integrated into the existing urban fabric, there are opportunities for employees to support nearby retailers and restaurants at lunch and after hours." (pg 184 / pdf pg 194)

+ "Integrate the development of Harriman Research and Technology Park and the proposed Albany Convention Center with the surrounding urban context of Downtown, historic neighborhoods, and nearby institutions. These large economic development projects provide the opportunity to establish linkages between downtown and new employment centers, encourage spinoff development, and create employment opportunities." (pg 185 / pdf pg 195)

+ "Goal: Address the positive and negative impacts of government and institutional expansion on the City's tax base." (pg 187 / pdf pg 197)

+ "Partner with the state government, higher education institutions, and other tax-exempt institutions to design a comprehensive and fair approach for implementing [payments in lieu of taxes]." (pg 188 / pdf pg 198)

+ "Lobby New York State for appropriate AIM Equity Payments, Empire State Plaza and Harriman PILOTS and Capital City service agreements to reduce the fiscal burden on the City." (pg 188 / pdf pg 198)

Prioritizing goals

If you want to read a chunk of the plan, but not the whole thing, the priorities section is a good place to start. You can get a good sense of what's in the plan from the lists.

Short term

+ Create a Capital Improvements Program (pg 227 / pdf pg 237) Basically, this involves upgrading and maintaing infrastructure.

+ Develop the Harriman Campus as a mixed-use, transit-oriented community. (pg 228 / pdf pg 238)

+ Establish baseline Citywide Community Assessments. (pg 229 / pdf pg 239) For example, how many vacant buildings are there and where are they located?

+ Create a Strategic Arts Welcoming Program. (pg 230 / pdf pg 240) How can the city attract and retain artists?

+ Develop a Comprehensive Urban Agricultural Plan. "food cultivation and livestock practices don't always integrate well with the compact nature of urban neighborhoods, and a comprehensive urban agriculture strategy will need to be developed for supporting efforts to grow and consume more fresh, sustainably produced, and locally grown foods within the city." Backyard chickens are not mentioned, but one the proposed elements of the plan is: "Address the role that livestock may play in the urban food system." (pg 231 / pdf pg 241)

+ Hire a marketing consultant to develop a city-wide marketing strategy. (pg 231 / pdf pg 241) How can the city market itself better, both in the region and beyond?

+ Develop system for inter-departmental and community data sharing to improve government efficiency (pg 233 / pdf pg 243)

+ Create an "Albany Local" buy local/use local program. (pg 234 / pdf pg 244)

+ Create an Access to Healthy Foods program. (pg 235 / pdf pg 245)

+ Create a PILOT task force and implement a fair and consistent PILOT program. (pg 236 / pdf pg 246)

Intermediate term
(starts on pg 237 / pdf pg 247)

+ Prepare a comprehensive update to the city's zoning ordinance.
+ Create a comprehensive waterfront development strategy for the Hudson River
waterfront.
+ Grow and strengthen the local Small Business Development Community.
+ Develop a commercial / office space reuse plan and program
+ Develop a complete streets plan, policy, and design guidelines.
+ Develop a green infrastructure system.
+ Develop a city-wide parking management strategy.
+ Expand the current street-tree management plan into a comprehensive urban for-
estry program.

Long term
(starts on pg 247 / pdf pg 257)

+ Develop intermodal transit centers.
+ Develop a model urban rehabilitation building code.
+ Develop context appropriate design guidelines, manuals and pattern books.

Ongoing projects
(starts on pg 250 / pdf pg 260)

+ Establish formal lobbying presence at State and Federal level.
+ Develop a regional Economic Development task force.
+ Implement the initiatives outlined in the Mayor's Office of Energy and Sustainability.
+ Reconvene an Education task force to develop a new Urban Education Agenda.
+ Implement the Bicycle Master Plan.
+ Complete and implement the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategic Plan.
+ Implement a brownfield redevelopment strategy, starting with preparation of a Step
Two Brownfields Opportunities Area (BOA) Nominations Study.

Comments

Huzzah! Thank you for reading through it so that the rest of us don't have to.

I'm glad that addressing the chicken issue is one of the short term plans. I would hate to have to wait 20 years to see this come to fruition.

This is a surprisingly wonderful list, but I would like to see more specific steps for each point. For example, why build light rail in a city with low traffic? Wouldn't Bus rapid transit, like the Gold line in LA, be more appropriate?

Also, I love the idea of increasing density downtown, but could parking minimums be reduced to allow for this increase? Could the city think about a rezoning along Smart Code lines to switch to a form, rather than function based approach?

Basically, everything they say is lovely and pro-urban, but I don't believe much of it will happen without concrete goals and timelines.(I don't have time to read the document today, and this may be addressed, but will definitely this weekend)

Either way, good luck guys!

Great to see this summary up - thanks for reading and posting! We have the Draft Plan online (full pdf, section by section pdfs, and no-download versions on Scribd). There are also quick surveys for each section so you can rate its quality.

We'll be taking comments all summer, and will revise the Draft Plan based on your feedback. Look for us out in the neighborhoods too, getting input from those of you who don't wade through the full 272 pages (although it's a surprisingly quick read due to photos, tables and how it's broken up, we're pretty sure it's not the summer reading most people are into).

Like the author mentioned, there's a lot more in there - so it's worth reviewing when you get a chance. Read and comment on it here: http://albany2030.org/node/137

I am adding the full report to my Nook for my return journey to the 518 but I am glad to see all the things that are listed here. These things will help Albany continue to be a completely livable city and I look forward to that...not just for me, but for my son.

Thank you, AoA for, once again, doing the hard work!

Wow, even your summary is tl;dr!

As per other comments, before we get our hopes up for a plan that, in the abstract, appears to be excellent, we should ask for specifics (which thus far have been lacking).

There is another deeper problem: this plan is based on the assumption that Albany will be in healthy enough fiscal shape to realize its goals. As it stands now, the City of Albany has historically been in denial about its long-term fiscal reality. Until this is solved--and on the local level where the law requires that municipalities have balanced budgets (i.e. we cannot borrow, only the Federal Government and one state in the Union can do that)--the Albany 2030 plan will not be realized.

Leaving money aside, the City of Albany lacks the kind of administrative and organizational capacity--the ability to identify, catalog and categorize problems, and develop, prioritize and implement solutions--required to realize such a plan.

Plans such as Albany 2030 place the cart before the horse. We need to solve the problems outlined above before we can systematically implement a plan such as this. This is not negative thinking--as a life-long resident, I have a solid sense of its history and political culture and have seen plans go up in smoke (try "Block by Block" for starters)--this is the kind of realistic thinking that citizens need to engage in to take the actions necessary to elect officials willing and capable of doing what is necessary for our City's future.

Wanttobeanonymous asks: "For example, why build light rail in a city with low traffic? Wouldn't Bus rapid transit, like the Gold line in LA, be more appropriate?"

Perhaps. The existing BusPlus line seems to be succeeding so far. Maybe the people who wrote this expect density and traffic levels to increase to the point where light rail would be a better choice? Even if this document does not contain concrete goals and timelines, I'm glad to see someone thinking proactively rather than reactively.

Tim,
What difference does positive thinking make when it is predicated on (apparent) hot air? Wishful thinking won't make it so. Do you think that anyone would demonstrate (publicly) "negative thinking?"

Ask some questions: how much did the consultants get paid to contribute to and procure this plan that seems to be lacking the concreteness that it ultimately requires?

Who was on the committee that produced the plan? Look at the public servants on there and you will see that many are favorable (some are not as favorable but are not enemies either) to the Mayor and would never produce a plan other than the one that he wanted to see.

This plan is a way to make progressives feel good about the City and to take some wind out of their sails for the 2013 election. It allows Jennings to claim that he is "moving forward," or some other double-speak that public figures like himself so often make to cover their backsides. In short, so long as Jennings and his acolytes have their hands on this plan or any plan for that matter, consider it dead on arrival.

Time to wake up.

Fluff. Half the plan says "Develop a plan for..." How much did we pay for this and it recommends more plans?

Now we need an agriculture plan? We already compost, have farmers markets and community gardens, the RADIX center, a veggie mobile, what else needs a STUDY?! Jennings vetoed the only component of urban agriculture we didn't have, and now he wants to spend tax money on another plan?

This goal makes my head spin:

+ "Develop the Harriman Campus as a mixed-use, transit-oriented community. (pg 228 / pdf pg 238)" Like we didn't do with Patroon Creek when we had the chance. Good one there. The state, in their infinite wisdom, is moving people BACK there, and the only plan to date for the campus was fraught with SPRAWL (http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Urban-nightmare-at-Harriman-campus-695886.php)

I could not agree more with Common Cents. Great name by the way.

The City of Albany needs to elect leadership that understands that the way forward is not through glossy "plans" like Albany 2030, not through twitter or facebook, but through ACTUAL ACTION GROUNDED IN REALITY. Let the gloss follow the reality, then we can say we are "moving forward."

Too many of us think--or claim to think--that these bells, whistles, and shiny objects are substitutes for actually doing something. They are not. Not even close.

I would like to go one step further: it is OUR responsibility to elect new leadership and hold them accountable. If we fail to do so, expect a repeat of 2009.

This really is "cart before the horse" type stuff. It all sounds great, nearly utopian. But, without realistic projections or goals this is not a "plan". This needs to begin with an idea of the future population, and an assumption of tax revenues. Then the hard work of prioritizing and choosing the ideas that can be afforded and could give the most value to the community. If the Albany of now struggles to afford the services it currently gives, and the big ideas of it's past (harriman park, the plaza, the 787 roadway madness). How will it afford (with possibly less prosperity) such a huge list of expensive projects, programs, studies, initiatives, etc.. etc..? Which ideas can be reasonably afforded and have the best chance of stimulating the organic economic growth necessary to get us to the place this "plan" dreams about. Without the economic growth the majority of this is DOA. Daydreams.

Totally unrealistic, I agree with realworld. The plan should be re-named Albany 2030 (in a perfect world of endless resources). They took the easy way out by including every recommendation and feel-good idea without regard to feasibility. And then copped-out by calling for more plans to "investigate/explore/evaluate" the toughest ones to accomplish, such as the waterfront (fat chance). This whole process was really a disservice to the community that participated.

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