Just outside the Niskayuna Co-op, signs warn motorists to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Some cars slow to see if anyone is waiting to walk, while other drivers seem to fly through the intersection, not bothering to really slow down while someone is crossing.
That section of Nott Street will undergo an over $1.5 million makeover this summer by the county, which wants to improve pedestrian and motorist safety. The county determined the area had a high number of accidents using state Department of Transportation data and that data also supported information in Niskayuna’s 2013 comprehensive plan, according to Erin Roberts, the county’s Director of Public Communications.
Data from the state Department of Transportation shows that over 8,000 cars a day travel that road.
However, not everyone who uses the road thinks changes are needed.
“I’m not sure why they’re doing it,” said Robert Lemmerman, who used to live near Nott Street, but now lives in the Stockade.
He said he’s been down the street many times and has never had any issues nor seen any problems with pedestrian safety or people trying to cross the road.
“People stop, they’re very polite,” he said.
He also said the county should talk to the businesses along the street. The county held a meeting in 2019 with businesses and residents to see what their concerns were while the county was still picking out designs for the street.
Among the issues raised were people not following the posted speed limit, elevated risk of accidents as cars back out of parking spaces and line of sight obstruction due to a nearby bus stop location.
The project would create Americans with Disabilities Act accessible sidewalks along both sides of the street from Balltown Road to Clifton Park Road, according to the county. Two mid-block crosswalks would also be installed with rapid flashing beacons that would alert motorists when people are crossing.
“Nott Street will be shifted approximately 11 feet to the south to provide a wider parking lot in front of the businesses to prevent vehicles from backing into Nott Street,” Roberts said.
New street lights would also be installed.
The majority of the project, 90%, is covered with federal funds through the Highway Safety Improvement Program. The state will cover 7.5% of the project and the county will cover 2.5%. Roberts said the Schenectady Metroplex is contributing $250,000.
John Baranowski, only a six-month resident of the area, echoed Lemmerman’s notions, but added, “You always take a deep breath before you cross in front of a car that hasn’t fully stopped.”
He also said he’s seen kids on the street who are completely oblivious to what’s going on, but also said there’s nothing that can really be done to gain and keep their attention on safety measures.
Roberts said the project is expected to be done by the fall.
Correction 8:59 p.m. 4/3: An earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of John Baranowski