The Niskayuna Town Board will spend more time before hiring an engineering firm to study traffic and parking designs in the town’s Via Del Mar neighborhood.
The board on Tuesday voted to table a resolution that would have accepted MJ Engineering and Land Surveying’s proposal to evaluate “traffic deterrence and parking designs” in the Via Del Mar, Almeria Road, Clifton Park Road and Crescent Avenue right-of-ways — in conjunction with Schenectady County’s upcoming construction project to improve the intersection of Nott Street and Balltown Road.
Residents of Via Del Mar recently voiced concerns about changes in the county’s plan — chiefly the removal of barriers that would have made Via Del Mar a dead-end street and the inclusion of entrance and exit spaces on the Via side of the parking lot that serves the Niskayuna Co-op food market.
Via residents believe the new openings on the Via side of the lot will put more traffic on their street. Without a barrier at the end of the street, they are also concerned Via Del Mar will be used as a cut-through to reach the market.
Board members earlier this month listened to residents’ concerns — via a video conferencing meeting — about how traffic in their neighborhoods could be affected by the Nott project.
Councilwoman Rosemarie Perez Jaquith moved to table her resolution, which would have paid MJ $10,900 for the traffic study. Schenectady County retained MJ for the design phase of the Nott Street project.
Jaquith said residents on Via Del Mar expressed a preference that the town consider engineering firms that were not directly involved with the Nott Street project.
“We are happy to do so,” Jaquith said. “We will seek additional proposals on potential treatment options for Via Del Mar, Almeria, Clifton Park and Crescent and assess them all. I hope to have another resolution recommending an engineering firm at our next town board meeting.”
“I also think it is a good idea to table the resolution on MJ Engineering,” said Councilman John Della Ratta, “only because we generally do get several bids via an RFP (request for proposal) and get some fresh eyes on it, maybe get some different ideas as well.”
Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw agreed with the request for proposal.
“They’ve done some very hard work for the county,” McGraw said of MJ, “but I think we’re best served if we put out an RFP on that.
“Via Del Mar, Clifton Park Road, Almeria, all of those streets are very important to us,” added McGraw, who along with Supervisor Yasmine Syed is co-chair of the town’s Public Works Committee. “We are doing our best to ensure we can move forward with the safety aspects of this project. We’re certainly considering all the concerns of the neighbors.
“We’ll be looking at a variety of ways to be able to address traffic on Via Del Mar, including looking at how we go in and out of that parking lot and other things.”
In other matters:
* Jaquith, who chairs the town’s Highway, Parks and Recreation Committee, said the town is finalizing its summer program book.
“There are still a lot of unknowns, will have to see how things unfold,” she said. “We’re hoping to schedule our first summer concert for the end of June. We’ve been discussing ways that social distancing can be effectuated.”
Jaquith also said the town’s dog park and River Road Park both opened last Saturday, Blatnick Park will open this Saturday and Avon Crest Park will open Saturday, June 6
* Syed, in her supervisor’s report, said plans are being made to re-open Edwin D. Reilly Jr. Niskayuna Town Hall to the general public.
“Because we are a municipality, we are exempt from all of the other phases of re-opening so we can essentially make our own determination as to when we feel that is the utmost safety to our staff and our residents to allow the general public back in,” Syed said. “We’d like to do it sooner than later but again, we want to make sure we have all the protocols in place, that we’re going to re-opening in the safest manner possible.”
Contact staff writer Jeff Wilkin at 518-641-8400 or at [email protected]