NY 5 BUS RAPID TRANSIT CURRENT EFFORTS
INCLUDING THE NY 5 ACCESS MANAGEMENT PLAN
CDTA’s recent work has resulted in final station design, new hybrid electric vehicles, design and purchase of BRT station shelters, and progress on other elements of what will ultimately become NY 5 BRT. Also spearheaded by CDTA in partnership with NYSDOT and the Cities of Albany and Schenectady, additional recent efforts have included incorporating ADA compliant sidewalk ramps, sidewalks to new station shelters and other associated roadway improvement work.
Three important roadway components needed to ensure NY 5 BRT realizes its potential as a high type transit service have been the subject of recent detailed planning and design work. These three roadway components include: Transit Signal Priority or TSP, Queue Jumpers , and an NY 5 Access Management Plan.
The recently completed NY 5 Access Management Plan was developed with the assistance of a Study Advisory Committee representing NYSDOT, CDTA, CDTC and the five corridor municipalities and is intended to provide a handy reference tool for access management decisions in the NY Route 5 Corridor and throughout the five municipalities located along it. Proper access control improves safety, parcel access, and mobility. All roadway users including motorists, business owners, transit riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists will benefit from the proper implementation of access management throughout these communities. The NY5 Access Management Plan has three primary goals:
Consistent access management along NY5 is especially important as BRT is implemented through the corridor. Although the Plan provides a detailed look at NY5, the access management tools and the review checklist are applicable during the site plan review process throughout the corridor municipalities and others throughout the Capital District.
The NY5 (State Street/Washington Avenue/Central Avenue/State Street) corridor between Albany and Schenectady is a significant component of the Capital Districts’ transportation and land use system. With the region’s two largest urban centers at the ends of the corridor and the region’s largest suburban complex in the middle, the corridor carries both the highest arterial traffic volumes and the greatest number of transit riders in the region.
The NY 5 corridor has been studied for more than a decade, leading to the present plans for development of BRT service. The New Visions long-range transportation plan for the region identifies this corridor as having the region’s highest transit market potential. CDTA, CDTC, NYSDOT and the municipalities along the corridor are working in partnership to incrementally enhance bus operations and establish a new, fast, high quality service.
Implementation of the NY5 Bus Rapid Transit project is occurring in “building block” phases to incrementally increase the speed and reliability of service along the Route 5 Corridor so that the line can truly be considered “rapid”. The current effort related to the three roadway components, including queue-jumpers, transit signal priority, and arterial access management are considered to be key building blocks to the project’s success. Each of these three components will positively influence the speed and reliability of service on the corridor by reducing delay due to congestion, red lights, and abundant turning movements related to roadway access. A goal of the arterial access management plan is to achieve the objectives of recent regional and municipal plans that recommend making the Route 5 corridor a more pedestrian-scaled, pedestrian-friendly corridor. This will support both transit use and economic revitalization of this regionally important corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Other BRT project components being pursued by CDTA include new high-tech buses, improved passenger waiting areas, enhanced scheduling of limited stop, local and connector transit services, more and better traveler information, ticket vending machines to promote off-board fare purchase and other amenities related to passenger safety, comfort, and convenience.
NY 5 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Conceptual Design Study and the NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concepts Study – Project Histories
The NY 5 BRT Conceptual Design Study grew out of the NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concepts Study initiated by CDTC following the development of the New Visions regional long-range transportation plan. The NY 5 Study sought to evaluate land use and transportation issues along Route 5 in Albany, the Town and Village of Colonie, Niskayuna and Schenectady. Through an extensive planning process including significant public input, a preferred future was identified. This preferred future can be summarized in terms of the land use and transportation concepts as follows:
Land Use Concept
To implement the concepts developed in the NY 5 Study, a Preferred Future Action Plan was developed. Twenty actions were identified in the creation of the plan, summarized under four primary goals. The main goals of the action plan are to:
Specific actions relating to each of the four goals as well as additional details regarding the NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concepts Study can be found on the web at www.cdtcmpo.org/ny5/index.html. The NY 5 study was adopted by CDTC in October 2001. In addition, each of the five corridor municipalities endorsed the recommendations by city council or town/village board resolution and pledged to work with CDTC, CDTA and NYSDOT on implementation activities.
The NY 5 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Conceptual Design Study, Phase 1 was a joint effort by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) and the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA). CDTC administered the study consultant contract and served as overall project manager on behalf of CDTA. That $175,000 study was funded through CDTC's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and was included in the 2003-2004 Unified Planning Work Program as a follow-up task to the NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concepts Study. The study began in September 2003 and was completed in 2005.
For BRT Project Development/Current CDTA Initiatives see http://www.cdta.org/iride_projects_detail.php?id=7.
From the NY 5 Study, a key action identified under the transportation goal was to finalize a BRT system design and begin incremental implementation. Implementing BRT in the Route 5 corridor will not only bring high quality transit to the corridor but will also offer the potential for revitalized neighborhood, village and town center development surrounding transit stations.
The NY 5 Bus Rapid Transit Conceptual Design Study represented Phase 1 of a two phase effort to address this action item. Phase 1, co-managed by CDTC and CDTA staff, focused on identifying, locating and costing BRT stations; identifying feasible and desirable transit priority features (including treatments such as dedicated bus lanes, queue jumpers, etc.); and developing an operations plan and sketch level ridership estimates. Subsequent to the completion of Study Phase 1, CDTA initiated Study Phase 2 of the BRT effort which has produced additional detail on various elements emerging from Study Phase 1, such as detailed station design and priority measures for implementation, including the three roadway components discussed above. Study Phase 1 was completed in 2005. For more information on elements of the NY 5 BRT Conceptual Design Study Phase 1 please go to www.cdtcmpo.org/ny5/index.html for more information. there you will find Study Advisory Committee meeting notes, PowerPoint presentations from those meetings, study products and other information.
The conceptual design report produced through Study Phase 1, as well as the more detailed designs developed through Study Phase 2, will ultimately define the scope of the BRT project at a level that permitted CDTA to commence preliminary and final engineering design. CDTA is currently procuring rolling stock (buses), shelters and other hardware. See http://www.cdta.org/iride_projects_detail.php?id=7 for more information.
In addition, there are other various CDTA initiatives currently underway that will not only enhance existing bus transportation service along NY 5 and other corridors, but will also function as key components to BRT service as well. These include: