OF THE 2003-04 UPWP


New Visions 2030 and Quality Region Initiative


In February 2002, a new task force was launched to oversee a visioning exercise for the 2030 plan.  The effort implements the New Visions' recommendation for an update to the Capital District Regional Planning Commission's "Regional Development Plan".  Labeled the Quality Region Initiative, work will pick up intensity in the 2003-04 program year and material will be developed for public review and discussion by the end of the year.


The Travel Task Force will resume discussions and pick up the new issue of policy treatment of possible growth-related travel increases.  The New Visions for a Quality Region / Visioning effort will continue, moving to a focus on transportation system issues and local planning tools in 2003-04.  Involvement in ARISE, CEG and other regional efforts can be expected to require significant time and attention over the coming year.


The Finance Task Force will also reconvene in 2003-04 for critical aspects of the 2030 planning effort.


NY 5 Implementation


The NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concept Plan was adopted by CDTC as a revision to the New Visions 2021 plan in October 2001.  During 2003-04, the Bus Rapid Transit / Street Design Committee will continue to meet to refine street section concepts and to help with the community-based planning of the NY 5 BRT system.  In addition, CDTC's zoning review project will be completed.  A broad-based NY5 Coalition will meet regularly to help facilitate implementation of study recommendations.


Linkage Program Year Four


Considerable activity is related to the Community and Transportation Linkage program, which has become a major component of CDTC's annual work effort.  In an effort to streamline the process, CDTC instituted a "Request for Expressions of Interest"  (REI) procedure in 2002-03 which minimizes consultants' preparation work and reviewers' work in selecting consultants while maximizing the breadth of potential consultants' participation.  CDTC works hard to implement a policy of "fair access" to contracting opportunities.


The 2003-04 program will a recommendation for seven new Linkage studies.  The new work represents approximately $360,000 in federal, state and local funding commitment to consultant work and CDTC staff effort; an additional $75,000 in staff support is required to prepare and administer the multitude of CDTC-municipal agreements, consultant solicitations, and consultant contracts. 


The transportation - land use cooperative planning program will continue to expand in terms of its relationship to project development work.  A North Greenbush master planning effort funded with I-90 Exit 8 Connector Phase 2 TIP project funds will also get underway in 2003-04, as will another TIP-funded "Linkage type" corridor master planning effort along Balltown Rd. in Niskayuna and Clifton Park.  The Balltown Rd. work will allow NYSDOT to focus near-term project development work on the Rexford Bridge (and approaches) portion of the TIP project and allow an increased community responsibility for sorting out the linear widening options north and south of the bridge.


The regional Community / Transportation Planning Group will continue to meet quarterly to coordinate these many efforts and the comparable efforts funded outside the UPWP.


The range of Linkage projects reflects the commendable state of cooperative regional/local planning efforts.  Planning efforts include bike and pedestrian planning, urban neighborhood revitalization, suburban town center retrofitting, pre-development master planning for a major suburban area, urban truck / neighborhood compatibility planning , waterfront revitalization and intermodal center exploration. 


Safety Initiative


The staff expects to progress a major safety initiative for 2003-04 in the area of safety.  CDTC has been working for the past several years with NYSDOT to develop a GIS-based crash data transfer process.  In parallel, the staff has been collecting data on "pedestrian friendliness" features, including inventory at 400 intersections; "red light running" data and "yield to pedestrian" data.


As soon as data permits, the effort will be modeled after the New Visions work, complementing significant technical evaluation of crash data with a task force approach.  Task forces will explore land use and highway design considerations, law enforcement practices, and safety education needs.  Work will be coordinated with local highway safety boards and others.  The schedule for this effort was listed as uncertain in the 2002-03 UPWP due to inconsistencies in the quality and timeliness of GIS-based crash data The schedule for this work remains uncertain, due to continue difficulties with timely access to crash data.


Development of a New Regional Model


In 2001-02, CDTC selected the European family of models, VISUM/VISEM/VISSIM to replace TMODEL2 as the framework for its STEP model.  The software was received and training received from the American vendor in December 2001.


To date, staff has developed and calibrated a TMODEL2-equivalent version of VISUM and is currently expanding the zonal system to the new 900-zone system established for the 2000 Census.  The VISUM-based model will be developed incrementally through addition of greater network detail, rather than importing the full GIS street network as anticipated a year ago.


Congressional I-87 Corridor Study Earmark


CDTC and its members will be involved in this NYSDOT-led study which is expected to start and finish in 2003. 


Thruway Capacity Study


CDTC staff is contributing technical assistance to the consultant study for the Thruway Authority of 20-year capacity issues in the Capital District.  The study will be completed in 2003-04.


Transit System Exploration


A $100,000 consultant effort, using TIP funds from CDTC's Corridor Management Initiative, will get underway early in 2003-04.  The effort will define key features of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operations and capital plan for the NY 5 BRT project.  It will also complete major portions of the transit data collection effort listed in the 2002-03 UPWP.  The remainder of the effort to collect extensive baseline data on transit usage will be carried out in 2003-04.


Other Contractual Elements


The 2003-04 UPWP includes providing support to the NYS MPO Association ($125,000, using statewide pooled funds).  CDTC has also executed a consultant contract for a statewide effort to seek to identify and document leading practices in community design and transportation system design. CDTC will also hold the contract for a follow-up effort for training, pegged at $100,000 statewide.


The CDTC/NYSDOT Public Relations Training and Assistance Program ($50,000) was successfully completed in 2001-02, providing extensive training to approximately 80 NYSDOT Region 1, CDTC staff and CDTC participants.



Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Update


In late 2002, CDTC initiated the development of the 2003-08 TIP.  This extensive effort has involved solicitation and detailed evaluation of over 50 candidate projects -- the first extensive effort since 1997.  Action on the TIP is scheduled for May 2003.


Ongoing and Follow-up Activities


Bike/ Pedestrian Planning:  The task force continues to meet monthly; plans include updating the regional bike map and reviewing the adopted bike and pedestrian priority network.  CDTC will continue to provide ample staff and financial support to these activities.  The task force will also participate in the New Visions 2030 "visioning" work.


Goods Movement:  The task force continues to meet and identify technical work.  Integration of the task force into the New Visions 2030 travel task force discussions will be an emphasis in 2003-04.


NY5 Corridor:     In addition to BRT development, the detailed exploration of local ordinances in the communities along the corridor will continue.


Arterial Management:  The staff will work with stakeholders in updating the New Visions arterial management tools, capacity guidelines and community compatibility indices.


Air Quality:  Work to help NYSDOT and NYSDEC pursue designation of the Capital District as a "maintenance area" will be included in the UPWP.


Greenways Contract:  CDTC will complete its small consultant effort with Greenways funds to identify ways of closing "gaps" in the bike trails in Albany County.  A follow-up joint-funded Linkage study will explore comparable issues in Rensselaer County.


Clean Communities Planning:  Work in 2001-02 included regular roundtable meetings and a "Share the Choice" event at the Albany International Airport.  CDTC will continue to facilitate work of the Capital District Clean Communities coalition after its contract to the NYS Energy Research & Development Authority and US Department of Energy expires.


REVEST, Champlain-Hudson International Trade Corridor:  These collaborative efforts will continue; the trade corridor work is now called the "Quebec - New York" Trade Corridor and the corridor coalition will be engaged in the I-87 planning effort.


TDM, Access Transit Support:  CDTC staff will continue to assist CDTA in both expanding the regional TDM/transit pass program and in developing the Access Transit brokerage.  The internet-based Commuter Register program will continue.  In 2002-03, CDTC and CDTA successfully completed a pilot TDM effort with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), providing financial incentives to employees at the new downtown work site to use transit.  The considerable cost-effectiveness was documented.  A new pilot was established which requires employees to give up parking privileges in exchange for transit fare subsidies.  In 2003-04, the success of the new pilot will be fully documented and new pilot programs sought.


Statewide Activities:  The NYSMPO association plans to complete its statewide investigation of transportation financing needs in 2003-04.  Other candidate shared-cost projects include various staff training exercises, work on policy issues for the TEA-21 reauthorization discussions in Washington, and phase 2 of a statewide data collection development effort.  No new funds, other than those reserved in prior years, have been assigned to the Shared Cost Initiatives program.


Other:  Major effort will continue to be devoted to data collection (including CDTC's biennial pavement condition survey of federal aid roadways), support to Albany County and the Town of Colonie and continued expansion of CDTC's internet information services.  2001-02 marked the first time that CDTC has offered an interactive comment service (related to the Quality Region work) on the internet.  Support to CDRPC's GIS and data collection efforts will continue.