PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING

Meeting Minutes

January 6, 2010

 

MEMBERS ATTENDING

 

Melissa Ashline-Heil, City of Cohoes

Bradley Birge, City of Saratoga Springs

Wayne Bonesteel, representing Fred Howard, Rensselaer County

Paul Casillo, City of Schenectady

Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

Frank Commisso, Albany Port District Commission

Todd Fabozzi, representing Rocky Ferraro, Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Robert Hansen, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority

Kate Maynard, Town of Wilton

Barb McHugh, Town of Clifton Park

Jim Moore, Town of East Greenbush

Mike Morelli, Town of Bethlehem

Rosemary Nichols, City of Watervliet

Marybeth Pettit, City of Rensselaer

John Poorman, Capital District Transportation Committee

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Tom Richardson, City of Mechanicville

Jim Rivers, representing Bill Roehr, City of Troy

Deidre Rudolph, City of Albany

Phil Serafino, representing Bill Rinaldi, NYS Thruway Authority

Michael Valentine, Saratoga County

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

Kristina Younger, Capital District Transportation Authority (Vice-Chair)

 

STAFF AND OTHERS

 

Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Frank Bonafide, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Jen Ceponis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Rob Cherry, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Rory Fluman, NYSOFA

Virginia Hammer, Pine Hills Neighborhood Association

Phil Hansen, Interested Citizen

Shelly Johnston, Creighton Manning Association

David P. Jukins, Capital District Transportation Committee

Andrew Kreshik, City of Troy

Teresa LaSalle, Capital District Transportation Committee

Fred Mastroianni, Foit Albertson

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Larry Mulvaney, NYS Department of Transportation, Region 1

Sree Nampoothiri, Capital District Transportation Committee

Christopher O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Phil Pearson, Interested Citizen

Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Manny Salorio, Clough Harbour Associates

Deb Stacey, Capital District Transportation Committee

Lorenz Worden, Albany Bicycle Coalition

Michael Wieszchowski, Laberge Group

 

VISITORS ISSUES

 

Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 9:35 am.  Several Visitors addressed the committee.  Virginia Hammer from Pine Hills Neighborhood Association and Lorenz Worden from the Albany Bicycle Coalition voiced conditional support for the Madison Avenue project proposed by the City of Albany for the 2010-15 TIP.  Both advocated that the project should include a “road diet” treatment.  They indicated that the road diet concept for Madison Avenue would have many neighborhood livability benefits, particularly for pedestrians and bicycles.  A fair amount of stakeholder support is documented for this project; the College of St Rose and the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association (representing 10,000+ residents) are two of several.  They stated that the opportunity to road diet Madison Avenue should not be lost.  Chairman Franchini thanked Ms. Hammer and Mr. Worden for their comments.

 

Phil Hansen also addressed the group.  Mr. Hansen lives in the city of Albany and has been a bicycle commuter for 30+ years.  Mr. Hansen noted that the road diet concept on Madison Avenue would do much for the bicycle friendliness of that road, and he urged the City to integrate this treatment into the design for the project.

 

ACTION ITEMS

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

 

Capital District Older Driver Network Assistance

 

Rory Fluman from NYS Office for the Aging (OFA) provided information about the Older Driver Network Assistance program that is offered by NYSOFA.  This program is funded through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee which meets monthly.  The program provides assistance to law enforcement officers on how to deal with the elderly driver and also provides one-on-one assistance to seniors to aid them in assessing their driving skills and needs.  Driver rehabilitation assistance is also offered.

 

CDTC Bicycle Education Campaign

 

Jason Purvis provided an overview of the Bicycle Education Campaign that he and others in the area have been working on.  The “Capital CoExist” theme borrows from a similar Colorado campaign.  Staff chose four of the Colorado messages to re-work with photos from the Capital District.  A new website is being developed by CDTC staff.  Final designs are being worked on.  The material will be provided at local events.

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

Approval of the November 4, 2009 Meeting Minutes

 

Members approved the November 4th meeting minutes with two corrections.  A correction on the bottom of page 2 was noted — the last line should read “…as per FTA/FHWA” and not “as per a FTA/FHWA”.  An additional correction on page 3, under Prospectus Update was also noted — “Part 3 will be brief…” should read —“Part 3 will be a brief…” 

 

Election of Officers

 

Mike Franchini entertained nominations for the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee for the 2010 calendar year.  Mike Franchini was nominated as chair and Kristina Younger as Vice-Chair, Mike and Kristina accepted the nominations.  Members unanimously elected Mike and Kristina to Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.

 

Air Quality Conformity

 

Chris O’Neill described the agreement between CDTC and A/GFTC regarding conformity activities.  The conformity analysis was updated to address A/GFTC’s new long range plan for 2030.  The conformity analysis was released for public review in November, 2009; no comments were received.  Members approved the Conformity document.

 

2009-14 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM AMENDMENTS

 

SA218—Saratoga County Vanpool

 

Kristina Younger described the proposed change to the scope of the project.  CDTA, CDTC and the DABID have been working with a national vanpool company, VPSI on a pilot program funded by NYSERDA which provides $500 per month subsidies to start-up vanpools.  So far three vanpools have been formed and work is progressing on additional vanpool markets.  The program has been successful; consequently CDTA would like to use the money that was set-aside for Saratoga County vanpool project in a similar fashion—for subsidies rather than the purchase of vehicles.  Members approved the scope change.

 

A433—Jericho Road Bridge

 

Mike Franchini provided the background about this project.  This bridge was programmed for replacement, but stakeholder outreach revealed that the bridge is not used enough to warrant the cost of replacement.  Consequently, the county would like to use programmed funds to remove the bridge (at a lesser cost).  Because HBRR funds cannot be used for bridge removal, the County proposed using STP-Flex funds for the demolition.  Frank Bonafide noted that offsets might be required by the Department’s Main Office;  Bob Hansen agreed to follow-up with the Main Office about the offset requirement.  Members approved the scope change.

 

DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

 

2010-15 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM UPDATE

 

Funding Allocation Report

 

CDTC staff attended a meeting with NYSDOT Main Office staff to discuss the funding allocation process.  Staff also met with NYSDOT Region 1 to discuss the proposed sub-allocation process. (Funds allocated to Region 1 are to be distributed to CDTC, AGFTC, and the region’s rural counties according to a mutually agreed-upon approach).  Staff will continue to work with Region 1 staff to determine CDTC’s programming capacity (identifying funds available for programming new projects).  Early indications are that CDTC will see less than the $100 million in “anticipatory” funding that the Planning Committee agreed to use as a starting point back in October.  John Poorman reminded members that they agreed to a two track approach to programming – one that is based on an expected increase in federal funding under the upcoming transportation legislation, and the second, a constrained program based on current allocations.  When Congress passes a new transportation bill, statewide and regional funding allocations will be adjusted to reflect the new bill’s resource levels.  In the meantime, CDTC will be well poised with a list of credible, evaluated project to move forward regardless of the actual funding allocations.

 

CDTC staff and NYSDOT will work together to prepare an “official” allocation estimate to discuss with the Planning Committee at its February meeting.

 

Candidate Project Walk Through

 

Staff reviewed the four tables that were e-mailed to members prior to the meeting (copies were also made available at the meeting).  Table 1 presents the results of the screening exercise.  Screening determined the funding eligibility and consistency with the regional plan.  Bob Hansen addressed the question regarding the eligibility of using federal funds to construct bluestone sidewalks along Route 85 in the town of Rensselaerville (project #24); he indicated that bluestone is an eligible material for sidewalks.

 

Table 2 summarizes the project cost data.  CDTC staff completed a detailed review to determine if the sponsor costs were in-line with “known” costs for similar type projects constructed with federal funds in recent years.  Staff further adjusted costs by 10% to account for inflation.  Table 2 shows the results of this exercise and shows the cost that was used to calculate the benefit-cost ratio for each project.  For some projects, the difference between the sponsor cost and CDTC calculated cost is significant.  CDTC staff has started a discussion with individual sponsors to reconcile the cost differences. 

 

Table 3 shows the preliminary results of calculated benefit-cost ratios for each project, using the costs identified in Table 2. Consistent with CDTC’s project evaluation procedure, bike/ped and transit projects were each evaluated separately using an evaluation process that was different from what was used to evaluate the road and bridge projects (the Bicycle/Pedestrian Projects to not show a B/C ratio).  Table 3 also illustrates the influence of the priority network and NHS/Principle Arterial filters. Sandy Misiewicz explained that if a project is within the top half of B/C (by project type), passes the NHS/PA filter and/or the Priority Network Filter, then it passes screen for consideration of Round 1 funding).  If a project in Table 3 does not pass screen, it does not mean that it cannot be programmed; it means that it will be considered for Round 2 project selection. Approximately half of the anticipatory allocation will be programmed during Round 1 and half during Rounds 2 and 3.

 

Table 4 shows the results of the evaluation of the candidate Bike/Ped projects.  A letter “grade” was assigned to the candidate projects, as well as a weighted score.

 

Members were asked to review Tables 1 through 4 and to contact staff to discuss any inaccuracies, discrepancies, or questions.  These tables will be finalized before the January 20th meeting.  Project fact sheets will also be distributed which provide qualitative information for each project.  At the January 20th meeting, it is anticipated that Round 1 programming decisions will be made. 

 

Frank Commisso asked why Phase 3 of the Albany Port’s rehabilitation project does not appear on these tables.  Bob Hansen reminded members that port projects are generally not eligible for traditional roadway TIP funding, but could be considered for funding if Round 2 of ARRA funding becomes available.

 

PROSPECTUS UPDATE: Chapter 2

 

John Poorman briefly reviewed the document entitled, “Roles and Responsibilities: Coordinated Efforts”, that was previously distributed.  John asked members to review the document, focusing only on the roles and responsibilities section (pages 1-29).  The remaining pages should be disregarded, as they have not yet been updated.

 

UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM

 

2010-12 UPWP Outline

 

Dave Jukins briefly reviewed the proposed UPWP.  Dave noted that the UPWP not only identifies the planning work that the staff will pursue in the upcoming two years, but also summarizes the accomplishments of the last two years due to the efforts of the staff, Planning Committee and Policy Board.  Dave noted that the program proposes several new initiatives in anticipation of the new transportation bill.  The new tasks would address climate change, freight planning, ADA compliance, and an increased data collection effort, among others.  This UPWP is a draft document and will be further developed to incorporate budget information.  Rosemary Nichols noticed that two Watervliet planning studies were missing form the Linkage narrative in the draft UPWP – the Colonie/Watervliet/Menands Route 32 redevelopment Plan (linkage) and the Mohawk/Hudson Bike/Hike Trail Crossroads Connections Study (non-linkage).  Staff will make sure that these two tasks appear in the next draft.

 

2010-11 Linkage Program

 

Sandy Misiewicz quickly reviewed the eight proposals that were received under the 2010-11 Linkage program solicitation.  An evaluation committee, consisting of representatives from CDTC, NYSDOT, CDTA and CDRPC will meet in January to evaluate the submissions.  The evaluation committee will bring their recommendations to the Planning Committee in February.  Approximately $200,000 in consultant work will be approved for undertaking the 2010-11 Linkage Program projects.

 

JOBS FOR MAIN STREET (AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT 2)

 

Legislative Status

 

Bob Hansen reported that there is a good chance that the Capital Region will receive more money for transportation projects under this federal initiative, if it is passed by the Senate.  Timing is not known at this time.

 

NYSDOT Region 1’s Preliminary Candidate Project List

 

Bob Hansen reviewed the list of Region 1’s preliminary candidate projects that was included in the mailing.  He noted that most of the projects on the list are drawn from the current STIP and are considered the “most” read-to-go.  He noted that the list is  very preliminary and is subject to change.  He noted that the rules may be more stringent than under ARRA – the current House version of the bill calls for 50 percent of the funds to be under contract within 90 days of the Bill’s passage.  In response to a question from Dede Rudolph, Bob Hansen indicated that local 1R pavement projects will likely be eligible for funding, but further stated that NYSDOT simply does not have enough staff to move local 1R’s forward as it did under ARRA.  CDTC staff will work with Region 1 staff and other Planning Committee members to refine the list as more information about the Jobs for Main Street Program becomes available.  Candidate transit projects were not yet identified.  Dave Jukins reminded members that CDTC will need to keep all of the region’s communities informed through formal outreach.

 

 

 

 

NYSERDA Funding Opportunity for Small Municipalities

 

Deb Stacey distributed a summary of a NYSERDA funding opportunity that area municipalities (with the exception of the City of Albany, City of Troy, City of Schenectady and Town of Colonie) can apply for.  Deb directed members to page 7 where project eligibility is discussed.  The following types of projects are eligible for funding:

¨     Projects to inventory local greenhouse gas emissions and developing reduction plans

¨     Projects to conduct building code and inspection services

¨     Projects to develop zoning guidelines for sustainable development

¨     Projects to implement regional plans that reduce energy use in various sectors

 

A link to the full application is provided in the distributed material.  The application process can be quite cumbersome; interested municipalities are encouraged to look at the application ASAP, as the submittal deadline is February 17th.

 

 

STATUS OF PLANNING ACTIVITIES

 

CDRPCTodd Fabozzi mentioned that a pictorial illustration of development in the Capital Region is available on CDRPC’s website and can be viewed in 10 year increments.

 

CDTAKristina Younger reported that CDTA continues to struggle with budgetary concerns.  CDTA wants to avoid another fare hike and service cuts, but the funding picture is very bleak.  However, among the good news, there is one innovative bike rack program that is just getting off the ground.  This program is intended to create more bicycle parking throughout the region.  The usage of the bike racks on CDTA buses last year rose threefold, but there is little or no bicycle parking at the customer’s destinations.  The new bike rack program provides free racks (up to $1000) to public agencies and half price racks (up to $500)to private companies.  Installation is the sponsor’s responsibility.  Applications must be submitted by March 12th.

 

Saratoga County—Mike Valentine announced that the Saratoga County Planning and Zoning Conference is scheduled for January 25th and will be held at the City Center in Saratoga Springs.

 

CDTC—Jason Purvis announced that the 2010 Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Maps have been printed and are ready for distribution. The map was updated using GPS technology and is more accurate than previous versions.

 

NYSDOT—NYSDOT distributed a list of lettings.  9P will be let on January 7th.  The Batchellerville Bridge design is being reworked to find some savings in cost.  1R projects are moving forward; savings from initial cost estimates are being used for construction inspections.

 

OTHER

 

There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.  The next Planning Committee meeting is scheduled for January 20, 2010.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

John P. Poorman

Secretary