Workshops on the future of I-787

Google Map of 42.645,-73.75

The planning project for the future of I-787 -- and the waterfront -- has a pair of public workshops lined up for later this month. As the flyer for the events says: "Help Us Visualize the Future of the Corridor."

Expanded blurbage:

Join us at one of two public workshops on June 24th in Albany or June 30th in Watervliet to discuss the future of the I-787/waterfront corridor. The purpose of the workshops is to introduce the study and its objectives, to share information on existing land uses and the transportation system and to provide opportunities for input on short and long term transportation and land use strategies.
Along with a brief presentation, workshop attendees will be able to view study area maps and data, can offer initial input on strategy and evaluation criteria and can participate in a hands on "map your ideas" station.

The first workshop is June 24 at the Albany Public Library main branch on Washington Ave from 4-7:30 pm (with presentations at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm).

The second workshop is June 30 at the Watervliet Senior Citizen Center (1541 Broadway) from 5-7:30 pm (presentation at 5:30 pm).

The I-787/Hudson Waterfront Corridor Study is sponsored by Capital District Transportation Committee, the state Department of Transportation, and the city of Albany. Its focus extends from the Port of Albany along the riverfront north to Watervliet. And its aims include helping develop strategies for improving waterfront access and guiding future transportation planning.

Whenever we ask people here at AOA about things they'd like to see changed about area, 787 gets mentioned. A lot. So this could be a good opportunity to get your concerns and ideas on the record with planners.

Furthermore: A lot of cities have been facing the issue of what to do with their urban (often elevated or waterfront) highways. Just down the Thruway, Syracuse has been trying to sort out what to do with I-81, an elevated highway that runs right through the middle of downtown, a process that's included conflict between the city and its suburbs. (Here's the latest on the I-81 storyline.)

As part of the planning process for the next I-81, the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council put together a bunch of case studies about how other cities have handled remaking urban highways -- it's worth a look if you're interested in the topic.


Why do we always have to start out big? Is it something about all the BS consultant groups that stand to make a huge windfall without ever really getting anything done?? Case in point he ESP! The original convention center seems to be in the review stages for decades and now we still have an empty parking lot! God created the earth in seven days and 10 years later we still have a run down bus station and a parking lot. Can't we just take a few baby steps like making the climate for private investment attractive to developers? Can't we somehow revive an area like Maiden's Lane into a little row of cute shops and restaurants like in Québec? Or maybe a grocery store? Or maybe a gathering market place that is open for longer than 5 hours every Saturday? Why do people around here start babbling about burying 787 and creating a new warehouse district? The cities that have successful "warehouse" districts have all ready saturated their centers and the next step is to move outwards. Why does Albany seem to have NO unifying theme of development. We just kinda go from here to there without any real plan or monumental success. Why do we favor metastatic development like Wolf Road when most other cities have already done that in the 80's?Where is the Mayor for this? Or the IDA? Are we corrupt or stupid here in the Capital Region? Maybe our leaders should take visits to other thriving cities both here and abroad and bring back some fresh ideas....PLEASE don't tell me about burying was a mistake in the 1960's but we kinda have to live with it for now, unless the city REALLY takes off like Boston and we have the capital or the need to bury the highway. For now maybe we can try to attract a grocery store( How good would Trader Joe's or Whole Foods have looked in the area off 787 near the Old English Pub in a city setting instead of another nameless, soulless strip mall. Or for that matter the Coop in an old industrial building revitalizing a neighborhood instead of in some sterile metallic pre fab away from any signs of walkability or life!)

At the risk of teeing off the suburbanites (who quite frankly should have to pay a toll to use 787, considering how wasteful its been to the tax payers)...

I think the most sensible solution would be creating a three mile boulevard through Albany, starting from the I-87 Exit 23 to the Patroon Island Bridge, which would transition back to the present day 787 once you passed the bridge. I think the idea of a boulevard shouldn’t be as scary as it sounds, for there are a few cities who were able to actually enhance traffic flow by utilizing a boulevard over the current bridge and ramp solution, which tends to waste space and create bottlenecks; once the ramps were remove, new arterials were designed to allow for quicker transfer from side streets to the boulevard and still allow for additional space for new building growth.

Here are a few facts that should help frame the discussion, per the current 5 year statewide transportation improvement plan (STIP) for the Capital Region (FY2011-FY2015), which highlights the anticipated investments logged for parts of I-787. The bridge and ramps of the current 787 model are the most costly to repair and replace, making a simple boulevard much more cost effective to manage, making me think that before we sink too much into repair, we should seriously discuss all our options and what we want out of our downtown Albany in the next 30 to 40 years.

Bridge Repair (Grand Total = $40.1 ml or 69% of infrastructure projects to 787): Clinton Viaduct = $25.2 ml; Dunn Memorial Bridge = $11.6 ml; Exit 6 Ramps = $3.3 ml

Pavement Repair (Grand Total = $18.2 ml or 31% of infrastructure projects to 787): Broadway to 378 (Menands) = $320k; I-87 to I-787 Overlap = $516k; I-87 Exit 23 to SME Complex = $17.4ml

Here is the link, to keep me honest:

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