Schenectady Craig Street corridor plans taking shape

Feedback sought on streetscape options
Mary Moore Wallinger and Kristin Diotte review streetscape plans Wednesday
Mary Moore Wallinger and Kristin Diotte review streetscape plans Wednesday

SCHENECTADY — Imagine a shady, tree-lined street with safe bicycle lanes buffered from traffic.

Such a scenario may be well possible for a section of Craig Street as part of a new streetscape project. 

Planners revealed several proposals on Wednesday that would reshape portions of the main thoroughfare running between Hamilton Hill and Mont Pleasant. 

Each of the proposed improvement projects, broken into four locations along the Craig Street corridor, factors in variables like sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and bike lanes. 

And each has pros and cons: For example, broader bike lanes might result in a loss of parking. 

But how important is that to residents? City planners want to know. 

The goal for this week’s series of workshops is for community members to offer input on which elements are most important to them before a coalition led by the city’s Development Office selects a precise plan.

The goal is to complete the study this fall and to implement the designs recommended from the study next year.

For instance, just 40 percent of Craig Street residents have a vehicle, said Mary Moore Wallinger, a planner with LAndArt Studio, and parents have complained the street doesn’t lend itself to safe biking for their kids.

“There’s a huge need for better pedestrian and biking infrastructure,” Wallinger said.

Attendance was thin at the event at COCOA House on Wednesday, with coordinators attempting to flag down passers by, many of whom were glued to their phones, as four-wheelers ripped through the streets and people took advantage of the warm weather to work on their cars. 

But organizers said the launch event at the Electric City Barn on Monday drew about 200 people, many of whom began highlighting their priorities and what they’d like to see installed as part of the proposed new infrastructure.

City Director of Planning and Development Kristin Diotte said the event generated some early feedback on not only infrastructure, but also on land use and access to services.

Residents weighed in everything from the lack of access to fresh food to the need for more public green space, ranking each in order of importance.

People are also being asked to weigh in on what should be done with the space left from demolished buildings. 

“We’re trying to look at how to prioritize what’s most useful in the community,” Diotte said.

Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) awarded $67,500 to the city for the study, and the city will contribute $22,000.

City officials said they plan to seek additional grants for implementation of the plan. 

Urban designers and planners from the Place Alliance New York, LAndArt Studio, River Street Planning & Development, Mutual Design and Creighton Manning are working with the city and CDTC to help lead the process.

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Categories: News, Schenectady County

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