Funding for reconfiguring Washington Ave between Lark and Dove

By 42.6567376

The Cuomo admin announced a new statewide pedestrian safety campaign with $110 million for projects -- and one of the Capital Region items caught our eye:

$770,000 for a Capital District Transportation Authority project to reconfigure a one-block section of Washington Avenue in Albany between Lark Street and Dove Street to enhance safety for pedestrians, transit riders and motorists. The project will construct a travel lane exclusively for westbound left turns, consolidate six heavily used transit stops, provide a signalized, mid-block pedestrian crossing and extend curbs and revise parking to reduce speeds and traffic congestion.

CDTA has been wanting to reconfigure the bus stops there for a while (you might remember there was some outcry about how such a consolidated stop could affect the Iron Gate Cafe). It'll be interesting to see how this design shapes up. [TU+]

Info about the rest of the Capital Region projects getting money via this program is after the jump -- items include the rest of the Madison Ave Road Diet and improvements along Brandywine Ave in Schenectady.

Also: Apparently the technical term for a rumble strip is "Milled-In Audible Roadway Delineators."

From the Cuomo admin press release:

+ $1.3 million for a City of Schenectady project to increase drive awareness of pedestrians on Brandywine Avenue from Wyllie Street to just south of State Route 5 (Central Avenue) in Schenectady through public education, enforcement and roadway enhancements. Safety improvements will include the installation of enhanced pedestrian crossing signals, high visibility crosswalks, ADA compliant sidewalk ramps and signal timing changes.
+ $1.1 million for a NYSDOT project to widen Carman Road in Guilderland, Albany County, to add a two-way left turn lane, new sidewalks on each side of the street, high visibility crosswalks, new pedestrian signals and sidewalk ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
+ $770,000 for a Capital District Transportation Authority project to reconfigure a one-block section of Washington Avenue in Albany between Lark Street and Dove Street to enhance safety for pedestrians, transit riders and motorists. The project will construct a travel lane exclusively for westbound left turns, consolidate six heavily used transit stops, provide a signalized, mid-block pedestrian crossing and extend curbs and revise parking to reduce speeds and traffic congestion.
+ $1.4 million for a City of Albany project to calm traffic on Madison Avenue from Partridge Street to Delaware Avenue and Lark Street, the second phase of similar work planned for Madison Avenue between Pine Avenue and Partridge. The latest project will reconfigure the street and enhance accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists.
+ $1.7 million for NYSDOT to install centerline rumble strips, or Milled-In Audible Roadway Delineators, on 350 miles of rural, two-lane highways in the Capital Region. Rumble strips have been proven to reduce head-on and run-off-the-road vehicle crashes.

Earlier on AOA: Designing for safer Capital Region streets


The Cuomo administration should add 787 in Cohoes to its list of projects for the new statewide pedestrian safety campaign. Another young life was recently lost, the third in less than 5 years which could have been avoided with a sky walk.

The language in CDTA's recent route performance report that the NIMBY fools at the Iron Gate Cafe got their way about the bus stop. (Hence why I've stopped being a customer of theirs.) Only the westbound stop is mentioned in this report as being moved in front of the library. While this is great for taking the kinks out of the 10 and 12 routes, it still misses the opportunity for a much more useful consolidation of stops in order to appease business owners who demand the right to peace and quiet on one of the busiest roads in the city.

Stop info begins on page 12:

@JayK, I agree, and was disappointed when I saw the same in CDTA’s recent route performance report. Sad that a business open for about 9 mere hours can influence the fate of a busy intersection that functions 24/7. At least it appears that many of the pedestrian upgrades will be moving forward (per the Mayor’s announcement on upstate pedestrian funding coming from the state) and the west bound buses will see some nice upgrades and improvements in efficiencies, just a shame it will not be the case for those going east (as I typically do).

The worst part about that stretch of road is the number of people who double park throughout the day, especially as you get closer to Dove.

As a long-time frequent rider of buses along that block I'm HAPPY that Iron Gate saved its life by protesting the proposed stop. Until CDTA can properly clean and maintain its more popular bus stops, Iron Gate successfully fended off an eyesore that would be frequently filled with garbage and loiterers and would degrade their beautiful entrance and successful business. CDTA needs to pay attention to stops AFTER they are built as well as in the planning stages and I hope they may learn their lesson as soon as possible. If you need evidence, visit the Lark Station stop in front of the Armory. It's a horrible place to have to wait for your transportation and CDTA does precious little and hasn't done anything for the 10 years I've had to use that stop to keep loiterers from filling the place with leftover food, and disgusting garbage. They can't even fix the clock, which has been broken for more than a year. Neither Iron Gate nor the riders need another filthy, ugly consolidated stop on that block. Believe me, if you had to have one of those near your house or business you'd be a NIMBY and proud of it.

Lorre, there's a stop that serves ten routes directly in front of the patio that McGeary's and the French Press share.

Doesn't seem to be hurting their business. McGeary's has outdoor live music more days than not this time of year.

I walk past it twice a day on my way to and from work.

Then again, I don't have a visceral reaction to seeing brown people in public.

Lorre, thanks for an excellent example of the kind of attitude that's stopped me from being a customer of this business again.

P.S. I suppose you're always willing to try again with a hint of accuracy. Most of the stops are far better than they used to be - and this wouldn't even be in front of their business.

@Lorre S, at least you admit you’re a NIMBY 

I’m incredibly disappointed that this is the assessment and think Iron Gate lost out on leveraging a wonderful opportunity to drive more business their way, focusing too much on the negatives (and allowing the community to froth and panic over needless worries and plain prejudicial sentiments) rather than the positives. My friend in Madison, Wisconsin has a small café and was equally annoyed with their transit system which was planning to park a big bus shelter in front of her family’s long held business. Like CDTA, the transit company did a spotty job approaching affected neighbors (CDTA did talk with several, like the library and Armory, but forgot Iron Gate—not sure why), but once the two got together, she quickly saw the positives and found creative ways to get around the negatives. She can’t directly correlate it with the shelter, but business is better than ever, and she happy to see bus goers hop off and come to her business. I think Iron Gate, going in with no wish to compromise and threatening to sue CDTA and city if the shelter went through was a tragic reaction and a chief reason I don’t go there anymore.

Downtown, Cider Belly gets a ton of business from the shelter in front of their place, as folks, like myself, poor off the bus and have a few spare minutes to get a treat. Corporate Evil America (I mean Starbucks) has embraced the shelter outside their place, where I occasionally see employees help clean up the shelter, recognizing how many folks who frequent their business, wait for the bus before or after grabbing a coffee. I still won’t go to Starbucks, but it makes me happy to know they care about the community. Yes, CDTA can be more proactive in terms of cleaning shelters, but it’s a Herculean task to keep up, where even the great folks on Lark struggle to keep up with the trash, debris and general artifacts of urban living that accumulate along that stretch despite having a dedicate crew of cleaners and volunteers through the BID and Central Square Association—I think asking CDTA to patrol every shelter, 24/7 is a mighty expectation. Iron Gate could have really seized this shelter as an asset, working with CDTA to create a really exceptional, statement piece (look at the shelters in front of cozy café’s, bookshops and shopping nooks in Paris, Munich, etc.), dedicating a few hours to clean it up occasionally, if that was a big worry (hey, even offer customers a free coffee if they pick up the trash).

The NIMBY’s have spoken and won, but I still see it as a disappointment since this would have really helped me on my commute, and I would have even been more inclined to stop at Iron Gate (I go to Daily Grind, because the bus stop is closer and it’s easier to catch my transfer from that location—Iron Gate would have been the ideal stop under the proposed bus reconfiguration east bound—oh well, your loss Iron Gate, I’m sure the Daily Grind is smiling). As one commentator mentioned, they are only open for 9 hours, and CDTA was willing to listen. Just a shame that the negatives, rather than positives, caught the eye of Iron Gate’s owners and there was not one ounce of willingness to compromise.

I'm honestly surprised at the vitriol towards Iron Gate here.
There's plenty more space in front of the library and moreover a public institution, not a private business.

Just look at that poor Mexican market up Central Ave for an example of a business completely lost behind a huge bus stop.

Or the house across the street from there, I'm sure they love having a huge bus stop literally in their front yard.

[Just a reminder to please address criticisms to other people's arguments and not them personally or what you suspect their motivations might be.]

"Then again, I don't have a visceral reaction to seeing brown people in public.

... said -B "

Please don't tell me that the comments here are sinking to THIS level

Lana, the library stop is across the street and did not replace this one. Owning a private business (or a house) does not exempt anyone from having things placed out front. This stop also wouldn't have been in front of the Iron Gate Cafe.

Yeah, that was vitriolic; maybe I was having a bad day. The conversation at the time was full of dog whistles galore, though. The Iron Gate owners were concerned about safety and the "crowds they'll attract"... whatsoever could that mean? The comments on the Table Hopping post show a good cross section:
"the fabulous people who tend to hang out in bus stops."
"the people who congregate and just chill St the bust stop all day. Do drugs, drink alcohol and bother both pedestrians and drivers by."
"that bus stop, and everything that comes with it, will destroy the best thing on that block."
"it’s not the nice bus-riding people who are problem – many other people who hang out at those stops who are incapable of civil behavior make them a constant eyesore. The considerable number of panhandlers are not even the problem."

So yes, hyperbole on my part, but think about one of the primary arguments at the time (which you can see in many of the comments on the petition). The bus stop will ruin the view on the patio. Ignoring the fact that the stop was not actually planned to go directly in front of Iron Gate, I wonder how many people actually eat on the patio. The "view" is the 1199 SEIU building, and it's almost entirely blocked by the freaking iron gate the place is named for. This idea of the Iron Gate patio being some idyllic Downton Abbey garden is pure fiction.

Fine, I've gotten it out of my system. I'm sure bourgeois classism was not the primary motivating factor here. But don't insult me by saying it wasn't a factor at all.

@Lana, Yes, plenty of space in front of the library, which will be reconfigured for west bound traffic, but the current location for east bound traffic is less than ideal. The proposal by CDTA would have made things far more efficient for bus users and would also have prevented bus bunching at the present location which really ties traffic up, so it would have been a huge win for us car drivers (yes, gasp, can’t those of us who drive have a say here). I live in the neighborhood and need to drive to get to work, since the bus doesn’t cover where I go, unless I want to walk three miles from the nearest stop, but I do use the bus locally to shop and recreate, so I see this from all perspectives. This intersection is just madness during the evening commute and the proposal would have really eased things for all. I thought Iron Gate had an honest gripe about CDTA not approaching them to pre-plan and come up with some win-win solutions, but once they used a petition as a forum to help breed a lot of denigrating comments about those use the bus--yes, Iron Gate didn’t specifically say it, but nor did they come out telling folks to cool it on the comments--I started to loose sympathy. Then I found out that the proposed shelter was actually a few doors down from Iron Gate, and I started to get confused about what the issue was. Then, when folks in the neighborhood tried to be peacemakers and got CDTA in one room to discuss how to properly integrate a new bus stop on this block, Iron Gate’s only reaction was “I’ll sue you, I’ll sue the city, I’ll sue anyone who dare builds on my block” they lost me after that unneighborly tantrum, to include my business. I’m still glad the pedestrian upgrades are coming, to include the mid-block crosswalk. Maybe when cooler heads prevail, Iron Gate’s and my own especially, we can revisit the east bound bus access points and traffic alleviation measures; and just maybe I’ll use that mid-block crosswalk after stopping at the library to get a coffee at Iron Gate. Until then, Crisan and Daily Grind beckon!!

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