Come next year, the Town of Colonie will hopefully have something it’s been lacking: sidewalks.
The New York State Department of Transportation gave a short presentation to a packed house at a Colonie Town Board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17, describing the logistics of the highly anticipated sidewalks along Route 9. The project will install 5-foot-wide sidewalks that will run from Fiddlers Lane to Newtown Plaza, as well as make upgrades to crosswalks and pedestrian signal systems. The project is backed by state funds acquired by former Assemblyman Bob Reilly.
The Department of Transportation is partnering on the project with Siena College, the Town of Colonie and the Capital District Transportation Authority. Siena College is currently working on its own initiative to add sidewalks along the east side of Spring Street Road to Fiddlers Lane. For consistency, NYSDOT is looking at adding sidewalks at the east side of Fiddlers Lane to Maxwell Road.
Additionally, they are also looking to construct sidewalks at Maxwell Road to Homestead Drive, or the south entrance of Newtown Plaza. From there, pedestrians could cross Route 9 on the north side of Maxwell Road and continue on the west side to Newtown Plaza.
Project Manager John Masi discussed several challenges the DOT foresees, including avoiding utility poles, underground utilities and roadway drainage.
Masi said the total cost of the project will be about $460,000 and work will be underway in late 2013. The town will ultimately be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk and for snow removal. A resident at the meeting brought up the possibility of trash being left on or near sidewalks, and Masi said the DOT will look into the issue.
Some residents had safety concerns regarding the 45 mph speed limit at the corner of Route 9 and Maxwell Road. The majority of sidewalk users will most likely be Siena College students, and one resident said she is worried too many people speed through the light at the intersection and may hit student. Masi said he would look into the possibility of changing the speed limit so people don’t fly through the light.
“We will take a look at that, but you have to look at the other aspect of it, too. Without sidewalks right now, they are still walking on the road and without a safe refuge,” Masi said.
Others were interested to hear if there were plans to extend sidewalks further north. Town Planning and Economic Development Director Joe LaCivita said the Colonie Planning Board is currently trying to work sidewalks into any new projects by asking developers to add them into plans.
“As we start to see things change and development, we’re trying to get (sidewalks) as far north as we can,” LaCivita said.