Informal meeting notes for 8/29/07 meeting prepared by CDTC Staff

and sent to NYSDOT via email on 11/1/2007

 

NYSDOT Region 1 Design (Scott Nowalk,

Ian Ross, Geoff Wood), Program Mgt (Frank Bonafide), CDTA (Kristina

Younger, Ross Farrell, Tony Grieco), Village of Colonie (Frank Leak,

Tom Tobin), Town of Colonie (Denise Sheehan, Mike Lyons), and Anne Benware

 

Notes from Central Ave rehab project scoping meeting:

Meeting yesterday (8/29/07) at Village Hall. The Village, Town, CDTA and us participated along with 3 designers from DOT Reg 1 and Frank Bonafide. It was a positive and productive meeting where the designers basically committed to either incorporating into the project or exploring various potential improvement ideas for this $6.7M rehab w/in curb to curb area including:

-High visibility/aesthetically pleasing crosswalk treatments at all major intersections (similar to the treatment used in the Schenectady Crosstown project) and will explore installing them at all CDTA bus stop/station locations. At major intersections crosswalks may be wider than at lower volume crossings, similar to the approach the City of Albany is taking with their Everett to Colonie line project now.

-Incorporating the BRT station design elements within the curb to curb area at the Colonie Ctr/Nway Mall area including a raised median with a cut thru crosswalk bisecting it (Town agreed to do snow removal within this "pass thru area" - pending confirmation from their Pub Wks). DOT

will examine operational issues re: this including signal timing/phasing implications/needed changes to make it work safely in coord with Traffic & Safety - i.e. there would need to be a fully protected ped phase (I think there already is ...)

-Discussion of restriping lanes to accommodate a separate 6 ft bike lane was dismissed as there isn't enough cross section to work with also CDTA said bike lanes conflict with transit - creating a safety issue. (I think this is something we need to work on in general - if we don't start getting a real bike network I think that's a problem). DOT was promoting exploration of a wide curb lane to accommodate bikes (they said higher skilled riders like those better than bike lanes). Anyway

- that's a moot point because the group discouraged wide curb lanes and (esp the Town) requested that DOT look into narrowing the travel lanes (if they're greater than the 11 ft that's required). DOT agreed to consider striping the outside of the curb lane the length of the project to create an 11 ft lane and leave a strip between that lane and the curb (prob 2 - 3 ft) which would help calm traffic, etc. CDTA was OK with that. DOT said there is some concern re: the long term maintenance

issues with this striping however and they have to factor that in so it's not a sure thing at this point but they seemed like they would like to do it.

-There could be some curb resetting/re-delineation work under the following circumstances:

o where there are existing bus traps that are currently unused or will be unused in the near future by CDTA (either because of bad dwy placing that occurred since traps were put in or where local stops will disappear due to the consolidation of stops that's planned for the corridor in addition to/conjunction with the NY 5 BRT), DOT would remove the trap area by resetting the curb back toward the street in line with curbs above and below the bus pullout. CDTA will go thru and ID these for DOT asap. (It should be noted that the BRT station draft designs all call for the bus stopping in the outside travel lane at the stations - except for at Colonie Ctr/Nway Mall.

 

o Where there are inappropriately long stretches of commercial frontage that is paved and driveways are currently undefined/curbing has eroded, (i.e. around Tanglewood Dr for ex I guess) they may reset the curb line and define driveways. After they do more field work, highway access permit files, etc they'll see how many of these there are and if such definition can occur without "negatively impacting" the access to specific businesses.

In addition, to start out the meeting DOT handed out a sheet with a list of items tentatively included in the project scope including:

  • 3.5 inch mill and fill of pavement to eliminate the rutting
  • possible concrete pavement (to a 6 inch depth) at NY 155 and Fuller Rd intersections (as a result of the discussion at the meeting they will also look into using this treatment at all BRT stations where CDTA had indicated in the environmental clearance doc plans that they would be installing concrete pads
  • upgrade pedestrian facilities with countdown type ped xg signals
  • higher visibility crosswalks (as mentioned above)
  • detectable warnings at sidewalk ramps

With respect to locations where DOT will be tearing sidewalks up to install detectable warnings, if there are sidewalk gaps or deficiencies as ID'd thru CDTA's station design/envl clearance work, DOT said they thought they'd probably be able to address most if not all of those

while they're in there.

Also, project funding is $6.7 M and they hope to have plans completed by January 2008 with an April letting date so that the project could be done next construction season - if letting slips to June 2008 they'd miss next season. Rehab itself should take 1 year to complete once started. There will be no utility work except that which is limited to where poles are in the road (?) or at sidewalk curb ramps. This project will be ADA compliant - hence the curb ramps. Drainage work will be limited - but the Town and Village were asked to let DOT know of any problem locations they're aware of. DOT will be examining a limited set of lines via camera initially but they don't anticipate problems as most were addressed during the last project.

The need/desire for holding a public workshop on the elements to be included in the project scope once they're fleshed out was discussed. It was decided that it would be desirable just from the pt of view of letting people know about the project/potential disruption/night rehab work, but also to put the rehab in the broader context of the vision for the corridor that includes the imminent BRT stations/service and access management, other elements of the Rte 5 corridor study and local initiatives including the Village's streetscape/archi glines and the Town's comp plan/rezoning that all strive to make the corridor a pedestrian friendly revitalized "place". So, DOT will coordinate with everyone and everyone in the group will provide materials, etc for that workshop.

Finally, I asked Frank if they were OK with proceeding to draft a scope for the overall Rte 5 access management study (the contract for which CDTA would like to bundle with the queue jumpers and transit signal priority work) which would include this segment from Fuller to NKR with an eye toward developing mid to longer term solution concepts, but also to do the community/staff level "quick and dirty" aerial based workshop to id some shorter term solutions - he said YES proceed. The Town and Village like this dual approach as they reiterated (again!) that the more ideas they have spanning shorter to longer term solutions the more tools they have when dealing with redeveloping properties along the corridor. During this discussion the DOT designers chimed in that having these tools would help DOT immensely as well - mostly by keeping everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction to reduce conflicts along the corridor.

Other misc. info: The village in coordination/coop with Town of Colonie has spent their ped (safety) spot improvement $ for enhanced lighting at key pblm intersections and direction signage to crosswalks. Also, the village has not yet adopted the Streetscape and Architectural Design

Glines done thru the linkage study - altho' they hope to soon.

There were promises to share initial materials as soon as they're Available and to keep the dialogue going.

Anne Benware

Senior Transportation Planner

Capital District Transportation Committee

One Park Place

Albany, New York 12205

(518) 458-2161 (phone)

(518) 459-2155 (fax)