Central Ave is dangerous corridor for pedestrians, Ellis officially into race for mayor, shooting an AR-15, the castle that's not complete

From 2009-2013, a pedestrian has been hit on Central Ave an average of more than once a week -- and eight people have been killed, according to a Times Union analysis of state data. Map of the accidents. [TU] [TU]

The state DMV is operating as if proposed tougher rules for people with multiple DWI convictions are already in effect, the Daily Gazette reports. [Daily Gazette]

Andrew Cuomo has nominated Sheila Abdus-Salaam for the state Court of Appeals. If confirmed, she would be the first would be the first African-American woman to serve on the state's highest court. [Cuomo admin]

Gloria Nelligan has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in the beating death of her grandson Sha'hiim Nelligan in February. Schenectady County DA Robert Carney said Nelligan beat the eight-year-old with a wooden back scratcher and hair brush and other items over a 24-hour period. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Corey Ellis is officially into the pool for mayor of Albany. Among his ideas: a community college in downtown Albany. Ellis joins city treasurer Kathy Sheehan in the pool. Jerry Jennings hasn't said publicly what he plans to do. [Troy Record] [TU]

UAlbany School of Business Weekend MBA ad 2012 summer

In which Jimmy Vielkind shoots an AR-15, the gun described by a local gun store owner as the "big bad wolf." [TU] [TU]

In addition to the $22 million in campaign money Andrew Cuomo has banked, there's also the renewed Democratic State Committee -- which can accept unlimited donations -- ready to run ads supporting his initiatives. [TU]

State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin -- who represents much of Rensselaer County -- says the $60,000 cost quoted for fixing the West Capitol Park lawn following the NY SAFE Act repeal rally is "absolutely ridiculous." [TU]

Natural gas has pretty much replaced coal's share among fuels used to generate electricity in New York. [TU]

The Albany County legislature vote on the plan to privatize the county's nursing home has been put off for at least another month. [TU]

The Saratoga Springs board of education is considering a resolution that would call on the state education department to find other methods of assessment beyond high-stakes tests. State tests covering the new "common core" start this month for grades 3-8. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

There number of serious crimes was up 15 percent in Saratoga Springs in 2012 compared to the year before, according to an annual city public safety report. [Saratogian]

An overnight standoff in Bethlehem between police and man alleged to have been armed was resolved without shooting Saturday. [TU]

Four people -- including a pregnant woman -- were seriously injured in a car accident on Route 7 in Raymertown Saturday. [Troy Record] [TU]

Troy police say a car hit a taxi -- and then a bus stop, injuring a pedestrian -- Friday evening in downtown Troy. [TU]

A driver who skidded into a stopped State Police car on the Northway near the Twin Bridges on March 30 was ticketed for using using a mobile phone while driving -- but she says records indicate she wasn't using her phone at the time. [NYSP] [TU]

State Police say they arrested a Saratoga Springs man on Friday after it's alleged he robbed a couple at knifepoint in the parking lot of the McDonald's on Route 50 in Wilton -- the couple reportedly had met the man there to "conduct a private sale of electronics." [NYSP]

A change in the design of city of Albany property tax bills appears to have caused some confusion for some senior citizens about what was due and when -- and, as a result, some people have gotten delinquency warnings. [TU]

Barbara Smith isn't running for re-election to the Albany Common Council. [TU]

A South End thrift shop that provides free clothes to people in need says it's running low on donations. [TU]

A memorial for people killed during the Armenian genocide was dedicated in Troy's Riverfront Park. [Troy Record]

Victory Christian Church -- Charlie Muller's church -- has opened a location in Rotterdam, its third. [Daily Gazette]

ATV riders are accused of making a mess of trails in the wooded section of the Rensselaer Tech Park property. [TU]

It doesn't sound like the still-not-yet-finished castle entrance on the Steamer 10 Theater will be completed anytime soon. [TU]

Syracuse lost to Michigan 61-56 in the national semi-finals of the NCAA basketball tournament. [Syracuse Post-Standard]

Comments

Regarding the Central Ave pedestrian deaths...I drive up and down that street numerous times per day and trust me when I tell you it's not the drivers who are at fault here.

It's simple: Use the crosswalks, wait for the lights to turn red and don't walk in the middle of the road parallel to the double yellow lines while cars are zipping by at 30 MPH.

Brendan-

I say this as an Albany pedestrian/public transportation consumer. It's both pedestrians' and drivers' fault, but the aggressive pedestrians and the ones who seem to just be darting against a red hand are reacting to aggressive and negligent drivers.

Another aspect is the lack of solid urban planning that accommodates that Central is an important thoroughfare for both pedestrians and drivers. At many intersections, like Everett Road, there is actually never a "Cross Now" signal at the pedestrian lights. For a driver, you might notice this and think that the person is blatantly ignoring it, but as a pedestrian I've crossed there enough to understand the flow of traffic and figure out the best time to quickly run across.

Many drivers along Central, especially during rush hour, come from communities that aren't pedestrian cities. So, they aren't used to having to think about watching for pedestrians and that sneaking through at the beginning of a red light actually impacts people who aren't in other cars. Other drivers are blatantly aggressive and disregard "no turn on red" signs and do other illegal actions, because they know that pedestrians have more to lose if they hit them.

This also leads to the aggressive pedestrians who disregard crossing signals and intersections. People get frustrated after waiting for 10 minutes at an intersection, and then not being able to cross when they get the go ahead signal because people are too busy ignoring the "no turn on red" sign, or have to wait for the "Albany Red" devotees to run the light for 10-15 seconds. They think "Why should I bother using it if it's dangerous anyway, and I think I can dart across now if I don't go up to that intersection?"

The solution is reorganizing the traffic patterns to accommodate the fact that Central Avenue is a pedestrian zone so that people can safely cross without "disobeying" a signal that will never tell them they can cross, and so that aggressive pedestrians will lose their frustrations over the intersections being dangerous and inefficient. It needs to be coupled with cops actually pulling people over for blatantly illegal actions and ticketing people so that drivers will stop thinking they can just do whatever because there aren't consequences. If we do these two things, Central will be much safer and efficient for both drivers and pedestrians.

Allie, I agree with most of your comments above, and am consistently frustrated with how the drivers in Albany have complete disregard for pedestrians, but Brendan is right. Central Ave is the WORST for people darting out in the middle of traffic. Not against the red hand (because, technically, in NYS, if you're in the crosswalk, you're not jaywalking, even if you don't have the right-of-way), but in the middle of the block, they don't even dart, but SAUNTER into the middle of the street - sometimes with kids! - and look right at you while you slam on your breaks. It is like an arcade game!

Elsewhere in Albany, I agree with you. I routinely take my life into my hands crossing Lark St. during rush hour on my way to work.

I'm with irisira 110%. I had a draft comment written up yesterday and decided not to post it, because I've said the same thing here multiple times. In general, drivers in Albany need to learn to respect pedestrians and the rules of the road when it comes to pedestrians more... but Central Ave (within the city, like southeast of ShopRite) is a whole different situation entirely.

Allie's quote toward the end: "It needs to be coupled with cops actually pulling people over for blatantly illegal actions and ticketing people so that drivers will stop thinking they can just do whatever because there aren't consequences." That would be GREAT, and I'm all for it - I see a dozen ticketable offenses each day in this corridor - but I don't think it will actually reduce pedestrian accidents in that specific area. The pedestrians and cyclists in that area are the ones that 'think they can do whatever because there aren't consequences'. Because 99% of the time, there aren't consequences for their actions... the other 1% of the time, there's an accident.

Oh, I definitely agree that pedestrians who just dart in and out of traffic when they aren't at the intersection are a huge problem. It terrifies me when I see them dragging a child along behind them, and I always attempt to cross on a white hand but there are times, like at Everett, where one never shows.

I'm not saying pedestrians are pure and blameless, just that their aggressive behavior didn't develop in a vacuum and is the result of poor city planning and drivers who don't respect their rights.

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