Congregation is flourishing in Schenectady’s Mont Pleasant neighborhood — and so is the traffic

Cars pass each other on Ostrander Avenue next to the Faith Deliverance Tabernacle
Cars pass each other on Ostrander Avenue next to the Faith Deliverance Tabernacle

SCHENECTADY — Faith Deliverance Tabernacle is a vibrant community, delivering what its pastor said is much-needed spiritual solace in uncertain times.

But the tight-knit congregation in the city’s Mont Pleasant neighborhood has its drawbacks — including traffic congestion as faithful flock to Sunday morning service.

Ostrander Place is narrow as it is. But it becomes virtually clogged when parishioners start packing the makeshift pews of the outdoor tent erected in the parking lot.

Churchgoers stop in the road to drop off passengers, said the Rev. Chandradat Robert, backing up traffic in both directions. 

And pedestrians darting between parked cars present blind spots.

“It goes both ways and is hazardous and dangerous for them,” Robert said.

The outdoor tent has been a summer tradition for the past decade, Robert said, and was not a direct result of the pandemic-mandated social distancing guidelines.

But, he acknowledged, people have been leaning on their faith more.

Nearly 50 city residents, many of them from the neighborhood, have signed a petition asking the city to convert the stretch of Ostrander Place from Chrisler Avenue to Crane Street to a one-way traffic flow on Sunday mornings.

Shannon Funtroy, who lives down the block from Faith Deliverance, recalled vehicles stretching down the block on Sunday mornings.

“It would be beneficial,” Funtroy said of the one-way designation.

Cars flew by Wednesday afternoon. 

“There’s a lot of kids on the block,” said Dorothy Quent, pointing out buildings housing youngsters as well as a nearby duo selling lemonade. 

City Council’s Public Service and Utilities Committee approved the amendment on Monday, which now heads to the full City Council next week.

If approved, traffic would flow one-way from Christer Avenue to Crane Street between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sundays only. 

Our Original Pizzeria sits at the intersection.

Manager Sylvie Milazzo says traffic issues have been chronic for years and aren’t just limited to congestion.

Milazzo’s late husband initially petitioned the city to install a stop sign at the corner of Ostrander Place and Crane Street, she said.

“Thirty-eight years, [accidents] every other week,” said Milazzo as she motioned out the window.

Beyond the traffic issues, a bigger issue for Milazzo are the customers of the bodega across the street who attempt to park in front of her building, a practice she tried to curb by installing heavy planters.

“If [Robert] could get it done,” Milazzo said, “more power to him.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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