Studying the future direction of Washington Ave

Washington Ave Albany near Aspen private dorm 2016-September

What sort of (figurative) direction should upper Washington Ave in Albany take?

That's the question at the center of a new project to study the corridor -- and there's public meeting coming up next week to talk about it. Project blurbage:

The Washington Avenue - Patroon Creek Corridor Study is a collaborative feasibility study for the area along Washington Avenue, between Brevator Street and the Eastbound I-90 On-ramp (Exit 2), across from the University at Albany main campus entrance.
?This part of Washington Avenue is a major arterial roadway--connecting residential and commercial properties that have grown along Washington Avenue Extension, west of the project area, to Albany's midtown and Downtown core, east of Brevator Street.
The Capital District Transportation Committee, in coordination with the City of Albany and the University at Albany, NY, are investigating this area to identify key opportunities for complete street design elements. Further modifications to the corridor will improve safety and reduce roadway conflicts to compliment the newly reduced speed limit.

The public meeting is Wednesday, March 21 from 4:30-6:30 pm in the Hall of Fame Room at the SEFCU Arena on the uptown UAlbany campus.

There's been a lot of development along this stretch of Washington Ave in recent years, including more pedestrians thanks in part to the new private dorm (with another on the way).

In 2016 the city lowered the speed limit from 45 mph to 30 mph. But the design of the road is the same -- and it's designed for much higher speeds, so 30 feels very slow and it's easy to go faster than that if you're not paying close attention.

So, it will be interesting to see if something like the Madison Ave Road Diet would be appropriate there.

+ A way to say "more like this" when it comes to talking about how streets are designed
+ A cookbook for designing Albany streets


A road diet up there? Are you kidding me? That's a great idea (sarcastic) with all of the state workers and UAlbany students pouring in there every day, that won't create gridlock traffic or anything.

I hope the person that decided the speed limit should be 30 mph on that stretch steps on a bunch of rakes.

The entirety of Washington Ave could stand to be redesigned. The fact is that almost no one drives the speed limit through the section that they are studying which then spills over into the residential section of Washington Ave past Brevator making the road dangerous for crossing pedestrians and the painted bike lanes heading downtown impossible to use safely.

My suggestion would be moving toward a narrower single lane in each direction, an island in the middle, with sidewalks on both sides of the road, and, understandably a long shot, bike lanes. There are enough UAlbany students that live across Washington Ave from the campus now thanks to the private dorms that increasing the safety of pedestrians on that stretch should be paramount. Something like this could also encourage those state workers that drive in off of 85 and 90 that both living and working in the city of Albany is feasible.

A move toward that could, ideally, nudge the State toward reconsidering how the Harriman Campus loop is designed. If you look at an app like Strava, there are something like four separate informal "tracks" there. If the State could move towards formalizing those with biking and running/walking lanes, the campus could become an asset for the community as opposed to the uninviting behemoth that it currently exists as. People are already running and walking and biking there at risk to themselves because so often drivers ignore the crosswalks and yield signs, so why not add something to protect them?

It's time for the Governor to relinquish control of the State Office Campus (or at least the portions which were out for bid a few years back) to the City of Albany, so that the entire area can be part of a plan to move forward. (The original bid had restrictions that made it unattractive to area developers). The State could maintain control/ownership of its buildings but relinquish the vast areas of land and roadways. (Albany desperately needs to bulk up its tax base and integrate the Campus) Perhaps a well placed multi story parking garage between some of the buildings would rid of us of the unattractive seas of asphalt, and allow further development

Planning for Washington Ave, while much needed, shouldn't be done in isolation from the State Office Campus.

Would like to echo j's comments above.

I live in Pine Hills and Washington Ave Extension is one of the most dangerous streets n the city if you are not in a car. The section along the Harriman State Office Campus is the worst. At least SUNY Albany has a bike path for most of the way long this stretch.

The loops in and around the Harriman Campus are overbuilt. Transforming one lane into a bike and running path would contribute to the community of those who work at the campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Seems like it would be an obvious choice for a governor who loves trails!

Say, how about another hotel? That's what the area is really lacking!

I agree with the top comment, a road diet up there would be an absolute disaster. That road needs to stay two lanes each way, at least until you get you where Brevator is. This thing we have been doing in Albany of shrinking our roads, without providing more mass transit is not sustainable, and I am not alluding to more buses. Some sort of small light rail is truly the only thing that can get large quantities of cars off of the road.

Hey yet another study!!! Who thinks things monstrosities up??? A college campus that basically consists of 80% black top....a state office complex for which one requires a map a navigator and a compass as well as gps positioning to be able to negotiate without vomiting from the vertigo one gets driving around in end less loops.....a downtown gutted and razed to build....not really sure how to describe the bemouth that is esp.....a massive concrete Soviet era group of statist “buildings”.... fed by a spahettinof insane over passes under passed and thru passes.....does anyone else not see the utter insanity here in the “Capital” district????

I think a road diet is a great idea. Washington Ave extension is designed like a highway, which is why it is so hard to keep to the speed limit. With more and more people trying to cross it, and trying to bike down it, we've got a dangerous situation on our hands. Narrowing the road and adding sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks would be a great start!

A road diet on that stretch would be an absolute disaster. Let's create more gridlock traffic.

Washington Avenue definitely needs more than one lane in each direction, but that doesn't mean it can't be redesigned. They can reduce the size of the lanes, add a median, and add a protected bike lane where the shoulder of the road now lies. I agree, however, that the entire Harriman loop would have to be redesigned and that includes those over-passes, so this would be an extremely expensive undertaking if they want to do it right. But there could be significant development on the land that is now wasted by asphalt that could offset that cost and bulk up the tax base for the city.

Oh no I get it! We need to make sure all the folks that trundle in and out of the city can do so at whatever speed they choose. Lets make absolutely sure nobody that lives in the city could possibly safely ride or walk past Brevator. Lets also make sure that there is zero added cost for any of the services provided by the city (sorry that is another unrelated but related topic)
ROAD DIETS WOULD WORK! The idea that there is a lack of mass transit options is simply obtuse, pay attention there are mass transit options and alternative transit options either developed of being developed all over the region. We have currently have almost zero "gridlock" and as a whole we never experience true urban congestion looks like, GET OVER IT! These designs are antiquated designs created in a era where the super highway was the future and quality of life was collateral damage. There are basic redesigns that can calm traffic and NOT cause massive logistical upheaval. The bulk of the commuter traffic comes off 90 directly into Harriman a campus that is slowly being mothballed anyway. It wouldnt be a huge problem for cars on the road to slow down below the defacto 60+ speed limit.
But hey its Albany so lets first dismiss any change as impossible and of no benefit. Then lets keep complaining about the "do nothing" politicians and the deplorable conditions of our cities. Hows that working hamsters?

One thing to keep in mind regarding Washington - it is one of too few links to western part of Colonie and Guilderland. Throttling down Washington would put more traffic on Western and Central, and its not that there is too much room on those two streets as well. And yes, Washington ave. ext to 155 is easily getting clogged during commute.

Without repeating the positive ideas above regarding the benefit of slowing down traffic while increasing safety for pedestrians and riders, this is the perfect opportunity to develop a reasonable plan for creating a "boulevard" on Washington Ave. At the same time this is an opportunity to address the safety and desirability of the Harriman Campus for the neighborhood and the office workers by tying in ramp and loop pattern improvements. This opens the door to increased living options as well since someone will eventually realize that there is a demand for varied condo and apartment options for empty nesters, etc... who want to be near public transportation, shopping , the university, etc.... but not trapped on an island of asphalt like one unnamed but otherwise perfect apartment complex currently off Washington Ave.
The Harriman/UAlbany Campus is ripe for this type of development and addressing this corridor may be the first step.

I echo J's, Steve's and others' sentiments. Everyone objecting to a potential road diet should really look at a map. There's no need for such an overbuilt arterial in such close proximity and with such access to 90 and 85. If you have a need for speed, get on the highway. Gridlock...? You gotta be kidding me.

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