New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan is frowning upon the New York State Department of Transportation’s (DOT) latest plan to redesign the Scajaquada Corridor, which runs through Delaware Park. For what seems like forever, the DOT has been working on a plan to improve the corridor and create a more pedestrian friendly, parkway-focused design. The DOT’s plans to date have fallen far short of the original goals and generally propose additional landscaping, a new median, and signalized intersections.
The Environmental Impact Statement for the project states two main goals. First, to “Bring this transportation facility more into harmony with the community character and natural environment,” and second, to “Improve the visual and functional connectivity between the various features and resources in the adjacent area for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.”
The most recent plans announced by the DOT do not accomplish the necessary “downgrade” that the community has been seeking. Most notably, the DOT’s preferred alternative would allow for the speed limit to be set at 40 mph, rather than what has been most suggested, 30 mph. Ryan has posted a petition on his website calling on the DOT to follow 13 specific guidelines that will downgrade the expressway into a pedestrian friendly parkway:
1. All proven traffic calming techniques should be applied to the project area to establish a 30mph design speed and create a safe and more accessible urban boulevard.
2. Additional opportunities for public access crossing the Scajaquada via bicycle and pedestrian are needed.
3. Adequate crosswalks with the appropriate safe crossing treatments.
4. The Parkside and Scajaquada intersection should be greatly improved to provide a safer pedestrian crossing for the neighborhood and students from Medaille College that use it, current alternatives do not adequately address this issue.
5. Roadway design and landscape restoration should be employed to minimize the intrusion of vehicle travel through the historic landscape of Delaware Park to the greatest extent possible.
6. The Main Street intersection at the Scajaquada needs to be improved for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles. Improved access to and exit from the Route 198 corridor at Main Street is a critical part of improvements within the entire corridor. All pedestrian crossings do not meet the state standard for safety.
7. Create a complete street that accommodates all roadway users; this includes vehicles, commuting bicyclists, recreational bicyclists, recreational joggers and walkers.
8. On-street bike lanes and pedestrian walkways are desired connecting to the city-wide network.
9. Gateways should be established within each end of the corridor honoring the historical significance of this area by creating a welcoming and inspiring user experience.
10. Storm water runoff should be treated naturally throughout the entire Scajaquada corridor.
11. Improved ingress/egress from Delaware Park and other facilities is necessary.
12. Establish a long-term maintenance plan with all stakeholders and agencies.
13. Coordination with NFTA to leverage additional investment as a way to encourage alternative modes of transportation and integrate the corridor into the metro system.
You can sign the petition here.