BALLSTON SPA — The Village of Ballston Spa has officially approved a detailed guideline intended to serve as a framework for development projects that can make the community friendlier to bicyclists, pedestrians and public transit riders.
The Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved on Monday the Village of Ballston Spa Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan – a 120-plus page document that came out of a study by two outside consulting firms, which surveyed the village and reviewed nearly 160 public comments. The detailed study and analysis determined that needed improvements include better sidewalks and sidewalk connections, better links to the Zim Smith Trail, traffic calming measures and better bus shelters.
The plan, nearly a year and half in the making, is meant to serve as a guideline, not a mandate, said Mayor Christine Fitzpatrick, who was presiding over her final meeting after losing a March 15 special election to Republican Frank Rossi Jr.
“It’s saying that we’re going to use this document as guidance, as reference. We are not approving all the projects, we are not funding all the projects,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everything that gets done is going to have to come before the Board of Trustees to be approved.”
The consultants — transportation engineering firm VHB and Planning4Places — whose fees totaled about $60,000 of the approximately $90,000 grant from the Capital District Transportation Committee that made the project possible, according to past reporting in The Daily Gazette, also noted that the village has a diverse population of pedestrians, including low-income individuals, seniors, homeless veterans, and disabled adults, many of whom don’t drive.
The plan lists the costs of potential projects as ranging from $5,000 to complete a sight distance evaluation at the Ballston Avenue/West High Street intersection to determine the need for sight distance mitigation to $535,000 to widen Hyde Boulevard between East High Street and Grove Street to provide a sidewalk on each side of the roadway, bike lanes and separate the travel lanes with centerline striping.
Other specific projects proposed in the plan include:
- Construct a sidewalk on the north side of East High Street from Hyde Boulevard to Eastern Avenue to complete the pedestrian network between the soccer fields, playground, and park to downtown.
- Complete the sidewalk on the north side of Malta Avenue from East Grove Street to Ralph Street to complete the pedestrian connection between Hyde Boulevard and Ralph Street with a logical end.
- Coordinate with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Town of Ballston to identify the preferred location for a pedestrian crossing on NY Route 50 near the south village line to serve residents traveling to and from destinations in the Town of Ballston outside of the village.
- Install a high visibility crosswalk on the east leg of East High Street at Hyde Boulevard with approach signage to improve access to the Zim Smith Trail.
- Complete the sidewalk on the southeast side of Malta Avenue to Hyde Boulevard and install and a high visibility crosswalk on the west leg of Malta Avenue at Ralph Street with flashing beacons and approach signage to improve safety for students at the Ballston Area Community Center near Pine Street often traveling to and from Kelley Park and the village pool.
The entire plan, available on the village’s website, can be found at https://projects.vhb.com/ballstonspapbmp/pdf/Ballston-Spa-PBMP-January-2022.pdf.