Meeting Minutes

November 3, 2010




Melissa Ashline-Heil, City of Cohoes

Frank Bonefide, NYS Department of Transportation

Wayne Bonesteel, Rensselaer County

Paul Cassillo, City of Schenectady

Rob Cherry, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Rocky Ferraro, Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Andrew Kreshik, City of Troy

Joseph LaCivita, Town of Colonie

Michael Morelli, Town of Bethlehem

Rosemary Nichols, City of Watervliet

John Poorman, Capital District Transportation Committee (Secretary)

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Tom Richardson, City of Mechanicville

Deidre Rudolph, City of Albany

Phil Serafino, representing Bill Rinaldi, NYS Thruway Authority

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

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




Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Ross Farrell, Capital District Transportation Authority

Shelly Johnston, Creighton Manning Engineering

David Jukins, Capital District Transportation Committee

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Sree Nampoothiri, Capital District Transportation Committee

Chris O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Chuck Rappazzko, NYS Department of Transportation

Steve Strichman, City of Schenectady

Deb Stacey, Capital District Transportation Committee

Mike Wieszchowski, Laberge Group

Cathy Woodruff, Times Union




Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 9:40 am. 

Virginia Hammer, from the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association voiced concern that the Madison Avenue project proposed by the City of Albany for the 2010-15 TIP, as written, would not be beneficial to the bicycling and pedestrian environment.  Ms. Hammer advocated that the project should include a “road diet” treatment, which would provide three travel lanes and a turning lane, rather than 4 travel lanes.  Ms. Hammer has been advocating for a $100,000 Planning Study that would be needed to advance the Road Diet concept.  So far the College of Saint Rose, Albany Med, Columbia Development and Price Chopper have committed funds for the Planning Study. 




Steve Strichman presented information about the recently completed Route 5 Transit Gateway Linkage Plan. The plan study area is bounded by Washington Avenue, State Street, and Erie Boulevard.  The Gateway District, once a thriving commercial and light industrial area served by the Erie Canal and several railroads, has seen significant decline over the past several decades and now includes much vacant or underutilized land.  The Linkage Study built upon the Route 5 Bus Rapid Transit and Land Use/ Transportation Corridor studies and included an analysis of planning measures/design standards to address bicycle/pedestrian circulation and connections, better utilization of parking areas, adaptive re-use options for the Armory and YMCA buildings, re-use options for the intercity bus terminal, identification of mixed use redevelopment opportunities, improved linkages to the Bus Rapid Transit system, other CDTA routes and the Amtrak Station, improved street designs, and better integration of SCCC into the community. The Route 5 Transit Gateway Study lays out a long-range vision for what the Gateway District could become over the next 10 to 20 years. It gives guidance to planners, developers, institutions and public sector agencies as they make decisions about the physical development of the area.




Ross Farrell from CDTA provided a “report card” on ridership productivity and attendant service change recommendations that resulted from the analysis.  CDTA’s Route Classification system, established during CDTA’s Transit Development Plan Update, establishes thresholds and ranges of ridership by route category.  Acceptable annual ridership thresholds vary by type of service, ranging from Trunk Routes at 250,000 riders per year, down to rural routes at 10000 riders per year.  CDTA recently completed an in-depth review of the bus routes in Schenectady, since they were based on ridership demand when GE was the major employer in the county.  The planning process involved substantial community input through stakeholder interviews and public meetings.  Preliminary data suggest that the re-structuring was positive--since the roll-out of the new neighborhood routes, ridership has steadily increased.  In 2011, CDTA will focus on an analysis of the Albany Route structure, with extensive public outreach.  The goal is to maintain service levels while increasing system productivity.






Approval of the August 4, 2010 Meeting Minutes


Members approved the August 4th meeting notes as written.


New Visions Update For 2010


An update of the New Visions Plan will be needed by October 2011. This short time frame will not allow an in-depth, comprehensive update to the plan.  Chris O’Neill briefly outlined the proposed approach for meeting the update deadline.  CDTC staff proposes that we pursue a maintenance plan update consisting of staff work to produce brief status reports on all key aspects of the New Visions 2030 Plan; opportunities for Planning and Policy members and other interested parties to comment on the assessments and contribute ideas for consideration in scoping out the subsequent plan update; extension of the horizon and conformity determination, and adoption.  Members approved the proposed approach for updating the New Visions Plan.


2011-12 Linkage Program


Sandy Misiewicz reviewed the proposed Linkage Solicitation Guidelines that was distributed in the mailout.  It is proposed that the 2011-12 Solicitation focus on implementation activities related to the 66 Linkage Program plans and numerous other local plans that have been undertaken in the region over the last ten years. The development and implementation of innovative zoning codes, design guidelines/standards, official mapping, etc. would all be eligible activities. Follow up planning work related to Linkage study recommendations would also be eligible if the initiative allows for more in depth study of an issue than previous planning work. Engineering related work as always, is not eligible. CDTC also proposes to offer to communities and sponsors NEW to the Linkage Program the opportunity to develop conceptual land use and transportation plans as have been funded in the past.  Members approved the proposed 2011-12 Linkage Program guidelines.




T9 CDTA Facility Improvements


CDTA submitted two applications for Earmarks for roof replacement at the Albany Bus Garage.  CDTA was successful, with the help of Paul Tonko, in receiving funding.  CDTA is working with NYSED_RDA to install “green” infrastructure.  Members approved the amendment as presented.



Discussion Items




Tiger II Grants—TIGER II awards were announced two weeks ago.  $600million was available nationally, two NYS projects were funded totalling $26 million (Niagara Falls Train Station and Bronx Intermodal Station)


HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant—Rocky Ferraro reported that despite an excellent application, with 11 project partners, the Capital Region’s application to HUD was not approved for funding.  About 40 applications were funded nationwide out of 260 applications submitted.  The application will be resubmitted if there is another round of funding.


Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP)/Safe Routes To SchoolJason Purvis reported that CDTC staff is working with the NYSDOT Main Office and the other NYS MPOs to iron out the evaluation process for the TEP program.  It is anticipated that a TEP solicitation for funding will be advertised in early 2011.  Mini grants ($1000 grants) are available through the Safe Routes to School Program; applications are due shortly.


Patroon Island Bridge—NYSDOT reported that the project scoping report will be circulated shortly.  The report will indicate that rehabilitation is preferred over replacement as it will cost about one third the cost of replacing the bridge.


Livingston Avenue Bridge—Chris O’Neill is a member of the Empire Corridor Committee.  Chris has emphasized the importance of bicycle and pedestrian access on the bridge.  The Planning Committee suggested that CDTC write a letter to NYSDOT to stress the importance of a bicycle/pedestrian connection.


High Speed Rail—Chris O’Neill and David Jukins represent CDTC on the Empire Corridor Committee which is looking at High Speed Rail in NYS.  Two million dollars is earmarked for a study to look at options for the entire Empire Corridor.


Erie Mohawk Corridor—NYSDOT is sponsoring a study to investigate multi modal issues and concerns, including highway access, freight, passenger rail, transit and trails along the Erie Mohawk Corridor, from Massachusetts to Buffalo.  This study will be coordinated with the High Speed Rail Study to avoid duplication of effort.  Chris O’Neill represents CDTC on the study advisory committee.







The contract for the consultant study for the Development of an Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) Plan for the I-87/US 9 Corridor is being processed by CDTA.  Once the paperwork is in order, the study will begin.




The Single Point Urban Interchange at Exit 6 of the Northway is open and working well.  NYSDOT staffing has been seriously affected by the early retirement incentive.  Over seven hundred people retired and another 100 employees are targeted for layoffs.  The Slingerlands ByPass Project received an honorable mention for Excellence in Design.   




CDRPC will hold a Foreign Trade Zone Workshop in early 2011.

The American Community Survey (Census) 5 year data will be released shortly.  The ACS replaced the long form that used to be conducted during the decennial Census. CDRPC will create Census summaries once the ACS data are available.  There could be significant sampling error issues with the data if it is drilled down to small geographic units. 




CDTA plans to roll out Bus Plus (Route 5 BRT) in April 2011.  The BRT stations are being constructed along Route 5.  The Accessible Taxi project funded with New Freedom funds is moving along; CDTA is entering into a contract with Yellow cab to provide the service.  The program will start with two accessible taxis and will grow to 10 taxis over the next few years.


Albany County


The southern section of the Fuller Road reconstruction is complete. The design report for Washington Avenue Extension/Fuller Road was recently submitted to NYSDOT.  The next phase will require detailed engineering with construction expected to start in November 2011.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.  The next Planning Committee meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2011.



Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman