Editor’s Note: Paul Marsh is a Guilderland/Bethlehem local. He and his son have operated a charter bus company since 1980. His family is invested in Bethlehem. Paul spent many recent years working for Volvo/Nova Bus as The National Field Representative dealing with transit authority issues across the States and Caribbean Islands.
To the editor;
For many years I sat in on the Capital District Transportation Planning Committee (CDTPC) board meetings. At these meetings new plans were introduced to the members from all the different municipal entities including cities, towns, villages and planners including NYSDOT.
Back some time ago, someone from the City of Albany introduced a program for a “China Town” district in the downtown area. When I asked why a china town noting that this area has been a Dutch Village since 1640 the planner from DOT stood up and proudly said, “Everywhere else I have put a china town it was successful!”
I knew then that all of the recent transportation updates all worked once, somewhere else, a long time ago. I knew then this planner was a civil engineer not an imaginer.
Our new traffic circle in Glenmont, the road diet on Delaware Ave and even our coveted bike trail are ALL old ideas. Our town board adopted these programs because that was the only real plan offered to them. For the town board the question becomes do we take the millions in dollars from the State to make our town like everywhere else? Well the crowds finally spoke and voted down one of these ideas recently.
Please take note.
I have no opposition to the ill-conceived transportation projects we currently back, but I am choking on the fumes to present a different plan.
The current administration’s transportation plan is just not ready. If we move all of our needed power supply for cars from fossil fuel to electric we need thousands of power plants built by the time the electric cars are mandated. I did not see this in the infrastructure plan.
If electric power is the way to go why is PSEG selling 250 or so power plants late this year, including ours? Is this another misconceived, it worked somewhere else plan. I imagine myself standing next to my car hooked to my windmill praying for wind.
So the question arises, what would it take to get you and I out of our cars?
1) It has to come to my door and bring me to work.
2} it has to get me there faster than my car.
3} no traffic delays
4} no emissions
5} no massive infrastructure build.
There is a plan, for our town’s situation only. This plan can do all of that plus create additional income from tourist related activities for our local businesses. Just a little Imagineering on our part. New equipment and technology are the answers.
The Right of Way already exists. The MAI study I had done said we would attract 78,000 visitors spending over $83.00 per person using the Altamont Fairgrounds as an attraction along with Voorheesville and the Delaware Ave area.
The study did not say anything about bicycles but Albany County did conduct a study exposing that 172000 linear feet of guard rail is needed to keep riders safe at a cost of millions. I guess Bethlehem’s Town Board did not get this message before accepting this property.
The plan I have includes re-use of the bike trail through our town to something more useful, not just for the avid vocal rider or two. It has much better uses. It is the right of way for an emission free future without massive infrastructure changes. This project will relieve thru traffic in our town, reducing the need for traffic circles and another bypass, saving green spaces for the future. It includes door to door service, faster commutes, and clean quit operation.
I am suggesting to our town board that a breathable future is a better use for the bike trail property than its current use. After all it is hard to walk or ride when you can’t breathe. I also suggest to our board that a plan to integrate this ROW into the master plan for Bethlehem’s clean future transportation needs. Do we even have a plan? Are we stuck with plans that worked someplace else a long time ago?
I believe the people of this town are ready for a transportation system that is not like everywhere else. A system that provides for the needs of the people in our daily lives that is quiet, clean and most of all efficient.
P.S. To the bicyclist who ran over my wife’s and my toes while we sat on a bench behind Elsmere Fire department. Ouch.