PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING
August 1, 2012
Frank Bonafide, NYS Department of Transportation R1
Ross Farrell, Capital District Transportation Authority
Michael Franchini, Capital District Transportation Committee
Bruce Hidley, representing Rosemary Nichols, City of Watervliet
Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority
King, representing Rocky Ferraro, Capital District
Regional Planning Commission
Joe LaCivita, Town of Colonie
McCarroll, representing Michael Loftus, NYS Thruway
Barb McHugh, Town of Clifton Park
Mike Morelli, Town of Bethlehem
Ozzie Priotti, representing Sarah Crowell, City of Rensselaer
Paul Reuss, Village of Menands
Joe Teleska, representing Wayne Bonesteel, Rensselaer County
Tony Tozzi, Town of Malta
Mike Valentine, Saratoga County
STAFF AND OTHERS
David Ardman, Chazen Companies
Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee
Robert Hansen, Creighton Manning
Karen Hulihan, New York State Department of Transportation R1 Dave Jukins, Capital District Transportation Committee
Patrick Kane, City of Cohoes
Christine Kingery, Spectra Engineering
Teresa LaSalle, Capital District Transportation Committee
Fred Mastroianni, Greenman-Pederson, Inc
Leah Mosall, Capital District Transportation Committee
Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee
Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee
Jim Rivers, Greenman Pedersen Inc.
Gregory Roy, McFarland Johnson
Matthew Smith, City of Schenectady
Lisa Westrick, CHA
Michael Wieszchowski, Laberge Group
Steve Iachetta opened the meeting at approximately 9:35 AM. There were no visitors’ issues.
The minutes from July 11, 2012 meeting were approved as written.
NYSDOT PRESENTATION ON THE TRAFFIC IMPACTS/PUBLIC OUTREACH FOR THE TWIN BRIDGES DECK REPLACEMENT PROJECT
Frank Bonafide introduced staff from Region 1 NYSDOT Design and Structures, George Hodges and Dave Richards to share information on this upcoming project. Construction will begin the Friday after Labor Day and is planned to run for six weekends, with the exception of Columbus Day. Each weekend during the construction period lane closures will start at 10 pm on Friday nights and continue until 5 am Monday mornings. During this period there will be one travel lane open in each direction; outside of this weekend period all three travel lanes will be open in each direction. During weekend construction periods the northbound bridge will be closed and traffic will be accommodated via crossovers onto the southbound bridge, with all three lanes re-opened on Mondays. Work to build the lane crossovers to be used during weekend construction has started.
In terms of public outreach, a variety of notices to a diversity of officials and stakeholders will be distributed starting next week starting with Legislators from Essex County to Albany County followed by municipalities along the Northway corridor, then to Chambers of Commerce, NYS and other tourism officials and to the I Love NY website, etc. The main message being conveyed is that travel on this section of the Northway should be avoided during the Friday night to early Monday time periods for the construction/lane closure period.
NYSDOT will be posting a project website containing detailed information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Alerts will be posted on www.511ny.org with the most up to date information available via that site’s social media links. Planning Committee members and municipalities in the region are asked to post links to the project website on their websites to spread the word with the goal of encouraging travelers to choose alternate times and routes during the construction time periods.
There will be two informational meetings with emergency providers; the construction contract does include provision for towing service during the weekends and for media outreach costs.
The six weekend construction period will be followed by another session of weekend-only construction planned to start again in April 2013, with the exception of Memorial Day weekend.
The HELP Truck will be mobilized to NYS Route 9. Traffic will likely divert to NYS Routes 9, 146 and 50. CDTC staff helped NYSDOT model traffic impacts and diversions. Results indicate traffic delays shouldn’t be much more than what occurs on the typical busy weekend. NYSDOT’s project website will provide information on alternative routes however formal detours will not be set up.
There will be VMS (variable message signs) placed at strategic locations (I-787 and Alternate Route 7) so travelers can make alternate route decisions. Signal timing will be adjusted on Route 9 ahead of time to promote good progression.
Members asked several questions: Can an email could be sent out when the project website goes live so they can distribute the link/publicize the project and the lane closure period? Mike Franchini said CDTC can help get the link to members. Will trucking firms be notified? NYSDOT will be reaching out to truckers. In terms of timing, weekend work is more efficient and cost effective. Signal timing changes can be considered on non-state roads such as at the Exit 8 Park and Ride which experiences more traffic than some sections of Route 9. Mike Franchini thanked the NYSDOT staff for their presentation.
UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM
Dave Jukins reviewed the CDTC Progress Report typically completed every six months summarizing progress on Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) tasks. Meeting materials included a two page summary and the full progress report. Highlights are: completion and adoption of the New Visions 2035 update, staff participation in the NYS Capital District Regional Economic Development Plan, NYSMPO Association Safety Working Group efforts to establish local road crash data and rates, Highway Condition Inventory data collection and analysis which is critical to gauging results/modeling impacts of pavement preservation strategies, and conversion of TIP mapping from static maps to interactive mapping using a more user-friendly ArcGIS interface, among others. Members approved the Progress Report as written.
2010-15 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM AMENDMENTS
SA225 (1757.54) Commercial Access Highway Improvements – Luther Technology Park
Details on this request were sent from the Town of Malta Supervisor to CDTC and included in the meeting materials. Tony Tozzi explained this TIP amendment would allow improvements in the Round Lake Road (County Route 80) corridor. The Town of Malta prepared a Round Lake Road improvement plan to identify needed improvements from I-87 Exit 12 westward to East Line Road that would utilize remaining funds specifically set aside for Luther Forest Campus Transportation Improvements. The primary Campus entrance is located on NYS Route 67 along which commercial uses are not allowed. However, near Exit 11 commercial development and redevelopment is growing along Round Lake corridor which is in need of improvement. Funding will allow a true complete streets reconfiguration of Round Lake Road. Proposed improvements include pedestrian and bicycle accommodations between East Line Road and the Round Lake Bypass roundabout, intersection improvements at several locations, and access management, storm water management, and streetscaping improvements. This may be the only plan that can be implemented within the time frame the funds are likely to be available; if not spent funds may not be accessible after 2014. Support for this effort has been received from Congressman Gibson’s office, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, and the Towns of Ballston and Malta, and the Village of Round Lake. Mike Franchini thanked the Town and County for submitting information on the amendment request early and sitting down with NYSDOT and CDTC to help clarify the information. There were no other comments or questions. Members approved the amendment request.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN AMENDMENTS
CDTA and CDTC staff requested several minor changes to the Public Participation Plan adopted as part of the New Visions 2035 plan update. Jason Purvis reviewed the proposed wording to satisfy Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requirements to clarify that CDTC’s Public Participation Policy satisfies CDTA’s public participation requirements for the program of projects (or POP). NYSDOT Region 1 mailing address was also update. Wording to the Public Participation Procedures to waive the forty-five (45) day public review period for minor changes to the Procedures designated to the Planning Committee and Policy Board for adoption was also proposed. Members approved these amendments.
2013-18 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM UPDATE
Section 5310 (Elderly & Individuals with Disabilities Program) Program Update
Anne Benware reviewed the application and evaluation process for the federal fiscal year 2012 5310 program which provides capital-only funding for the transportation needs of elderly and disabled individuals. NYSDOT’s Transit Bureau administers this program and has a well-established competitive process, which includes an inter-agency review committee for selecting fund grantees on a discretionary basis. CDTC is one member of the review committee for applications submitted by Human Service agencies in our region seeking vehicles needed to transport elderly and disabled citizens to various destinations. 5310 funds are used to purchase accessible buses for not-for-profit organizations at 80% federal funds with a 20% match by the grantee. There are no operating funds provided under this program, and recipients are responsible for 100% of their ongoing operating expenses for vehicles awarded through a 5310 grant. CDTC’s review of applications ensures that Section 5310 funding awards are compatible with the adopted regional Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan. For federal fiscal year 2012 applications were due to NYSDOT on June 1st and CDTC staff is to receive the full package of applications the week of July 24th with evaluations due back to NYSDOT August 24th. There were six (6) eligible applications in the CDTC area. Mike Franchini noted we would typically have the results of the grant selection process available earlier to the Planning Committee; once CDTC staff has that information it will be presented to the Committee.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment Evaluation Process
Mike Franchini briefly reviewed the CDTC TIP Amendment Evaluation sheet included in the mail out and explained the desire is to provide a bit more information on proposed TIP amendments. Mike asked that project sponsors seeking amendments provide information to the staff as early as possible as that helps provide needed and consistent information to the Planning Committee. Mike pointed out this is not a major change but it should assist in the review process for TIP amendments; providing the information early allows it to be included in ample time for Planning Committee meeting mail outs and to answer questions ahead of time. Frank Bonafide asked if CDTC staff would fill in the information. Mike responded CDTC staff, along with the project sponsor and NYSDOT would work together. One questioner asked whether this would require re-evaluation of original benefit cost ratios. The response was that a full re-evaluation should not be necessary unless the Planning Committee requested it.
Proposed Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Update Schedule
The tentative proposed schedule was reviewed. Mike Franchini noted development of the schedule is a work in progress and several meetings between CDTC staff and NYSDOT Region 1 have occurred. In addition, a working group has been formed by the NYSDOT Main Office to help address how their Forward Four policy focused on preservation first will be integrated with TIP updates statewide which must be completed by June 2013. Questions being considered include how “Beyond Preservation” projects will be addressed as NYSDOT is looking to apply the Forward Four approach to local projects as well. This may affect some existing projects but that will be determined later. Frank Bonafide indicated NYSDOT is trying to strike a balance between preservation only and other capital projects. A question was asked if the focus on preservation first will help streamline the design approval process. Frank Bonafide responded that preservation projects could be implemented more quickly but that using federal funds requires the federal process be followed. Discussion turned to other opportunities for efficiencies and cost effective approaches such as potentially bundling a sponsor’s projects (such as bridge repair work) into one contract. Dave Jukins reminded the group that if a sponsor saves monies and projects end up costing less than the TIP estimate that is great and that money goes back into the overall pot of funds; savings aren’t given to the project sponsor. Bundling projects under preservation would be desirable; any new projects not currently on the TIP would have to compete.
STATUS OF PLANNING ACTIVITIES
Mike Franchini reported that the AMPO conference will take place the second week of September in Saratoga Springs and that ten (10 ) CDTC members have signed up which is great. The CDTC Policy Board meeting will be held at 8 am on September 13th and many of those members will attend the conference. The conference will have many good sessions and is part of the national conversation on transportation policy in the U.S. Dave Jukins noted that the most recent CDTC newsletter In Motion, has been distributed and was put together by Sreekumar Nampoothiri of our staff.
Joanna King reported that Rocky Ferraro has been appointed co-leader of the Capital District Regional Economic Development Council’s Metrics Committee. CDRPC has been working on the Climate Smart Communities contract made possible through a NYSERDA grant and has been participating in the Governor’s Cleaner Greener Sustainable Capital Region Plan through various committees. CDRPC has published both population and household projections on their website.
NYS THRUWAY AUTHORITY
Patrick McCarroll reported that the Exit 23/24 project is progressing and that sections of concrete are being poured. The construction zone speed limit is 55 mph with numerous tickets being issued for violators.
Ross Farrell reported there are currently two large projects CDTA is spearheading including restructuring the Northway NX Service which involved two weeks of public meetings; participation was good. Revised NX service and its new fare structure will roll out October 1st, 2012. Phase 2 of the Albany County route restructuring project focused on rural and suburban routes is progressing and public meetings will be held the week of August 20th. Information about the proposed restructuring will be posted on CDTA’s website. Ross asked that members please come and participate in these meetings.
Frank Bonafide reported on several meetings that took place to help address concerns NYSDOT had with the previously discussed Commercial Access Improvements in Saratoga County. NYSDOT and Saratoga Springs staff also met to discuss concerns over the Route 50 bridge project followed by an internal DOT scoping meeting to explore opportunities for pedestrian travel along the Route 50 Bridge as part of the upcoming bridge rehabilitation project. Frank also reported that during September there will be meetings in each county for local sponsors to review the status of TIP projects with both Region 1 and CDTC staffs. Frank noted Mary Ivey has retired as Region 1 Director and Sam Zhou will be her replacement.
ALBANY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY
Steve Iachetta thanked NYSDOT for renewed interest in the Exit 3 / 4 improvements. There are signs of growth and there are 7 projects currently which are occurring in a competitive bidding environment.
LINKAGE/LOCAL PLANNING ACTIVITIES
Mike Franchini asked the group to review the table on Status of Linkage or other Planning Studies. Mike noted the Railroad Avenue Area study is winding down and that the businesses there have shown a good deal of interest. The Malta Downtown Master Plan Implementation study, focused on converting their existing zoning code to a form based code is progressing well. Tony Tozzi will give a presentation on that to the Planning Committee this fall. The Schenectady Gateway Plaza Implementation Plan is also moving along. Dave Jukins noted the Schodack Linkage study kick off meeting is slated for August 21st.
Other active studies include two NYSERDA funded efforts, the Cleaner Greener Regional Sustainability Plan and the Climate Smart Communities effort, spearheaded by CDRPC with public meetings recently held for the Sustainability Plan and launch of a website where people can post ideas and comments.
Jason Purvis noted that the Bike Ped Task Force meeting on August 14th will highlight the Albany Bike Share study.
Sandy Misiewicz reported the Safety Working Group has been very involved with NYSDOT and FHWA in developing safety data for local roads and that CDTC has been well represented at those meetings.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:35 PM. The next Planning Committee meeting is scheduled for October 3, 2012.