A more walkable/bikeable Mont Pleasant, Hamilton Hill in Schenectady

Community input wanted; stakeholders using grant to hire consultants now tasked with creating a master plan
Bicyclists ride along a designated bicycle lane on Craig near Stanley streets during the Craig Street Bike Demo Fest in 2016
Bicyclists ride along a designated bicycle lane on Craig near Stanley streets during the Craig Street Bike Demo Fest in 2016

SCHENECTADY — City officials are in the early stages of conducting a study designed to examine ways to make a pair of neighborhoods more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.

Schenectady is pairing with the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) in the Complete Streets Linkage Study along the Craig Street – Main Avenue corridor between Albany Street in Hamilton Hill and Crane Street in Mont Pleasant. 

Stakeholders used CDTC-awarded grant funds to hire PLACE Alliance New York, consultants now tasked with creating a master plan. 

The firm will examine recent investments along the coordinator, and also probe ways to enhance connection between the neighborhoods, said Kristen Diotte, the city’s director of planning and development.

The study also seeks to create a master plan for future engineering and construction projects in those neighborhoods by examining existing conditions and land-use planning structures.

Stakeholders are in the process of assembling a study advisory committee, which will include community associations, schools and other local organizations, to oversee the process.

“We are planning for a four-day design workshop that will be a big opportunity for community engagement,” Diotte said.

That event is scheduled for May.

“As a priority, we want to be engaging the community in the process for the most effective improvements in their neighborhood,” said Diotte.

The effort will build on the revitalization efforts along the corridor, including the new Mont Pleasant Library currently under construction and the Electric City Barn on Craig Street.

Mont Pleasant Neighborhood Association President Patricia Ann Smith pointed at the new Boys & Girls Club at Mont Pleasant Middle School, new homes constructed by Habitat for Humanity and the removal of blighted homes and lots by the Capital Region Land Bank and Better Neighborhoods Program as signs that the community is on the rebound. 

“This could be a turning point,” Smith said. “We’re really finally chugging along in Mont Pleasant.”

Smith said local input is paramount.

“You’re part of this community and we need you,” Smith said.

Mike Franchini, CDTC executive director, recalled a high level of community engagement at a 2016 bicycle event at the Boys and Girls Club. 

“I’m hoping that interest will carry through to this study,” Franchini said.

The study, which will also offer recommendations for transit riders, is anticipated to be completed in the fall, according to Mayor Gary McCarthy’s office.

McCarthy said the study’s findings may be applicable to additional projects in the city.

“Hopefully in the long-term we’ll be increasing value and attractiveness,” McCarthy said. “To me, just investing in the quality of life and public space ultimately leads to quality development.”

Correction 3/6/19: An earlier version of this story misspelled Kristen Diotte’s last name.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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