CDTA, Amsterdam to address concerns over new bus stops

CDTA bus stop signs can be seen on Route 67 as drivers approach the Five Corners in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

CDTA bus stop signs can be seen on Route 67 as drivers approach the Five Corners in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

AMSTERDAM — New bus stops posted ahead of the Capital District Transportation Authority’s roll out of services in Amsterdam next month are causing concern among some city residents.

The placement of bus stops on both sides of Church Street has residents along the roadway worried about traffic issues and pedestrian safety, according to Dave Dybas.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls from my fellow neighbors,” Dybas told the Common Council during Tuesday’s meeting.

The busy road carrying Route 67 is already prone to traffic congestion. Dybas questioned how buses stopping on the street without room for following motorists to pass would affect travel.

Impatient drivers already pull into the opposite lane to pass residents backing out of their driveways, according to Dybas. Adding buses to the mix would only worsen safety issues, along with pedestrians potentially having to cross the road when traveling by bus.

“I can envision some screeching tires,” Dybas said.

Mayor Michael Cinquanti acknowledged that Dybas is not alone in his concerns. Residents quickly shared their consternation with City Hall over the new bus stops since CDTA began posting signs in recent weeks.

“We’ve gotten complaints, concerns,” Cinquanti said. “We haven’t been inundated with them, it’s not a huge problem, but it’s an issue we need to address.”

Cinquanti contacted CDTA after the issues came to light and a meeting between city and state officials will be held in the next week or so to review the bus stop locations and consider changes.

“That’s really part of the collaborative process we go through when we go to any community,” said Jaime Kazlo, director of corporate communications for CDTA, on Wednesday. “We typically will talk to community leaders or stakeholders in the area to review plans.”

Calls fielded by the city have extended to bus stops that seemed unsensible, including one posted on a street without any sidewalks that had a homeowner questioning whether riders would wait in the road or in their yard.

“It’s not a big problem, but it’s a big concern for the people who are impacted,” Cinquanti said.

Over 120 stops will be established across Amsterdam to support the four CDTA bus routes that will begin on Aug. 28. Signs marking the stops began going up on utility poles over the last few weeks and installation will continue in the coming days until completed. Only posted signs will be used initially with shelters expected to eventually be installed as the route network develops.

Agency staff normally visit communities to scope out suitable locations for bus stops based on anticipated ridership and pedestrian infrastructure to support safety, including the presence of sidewalks, crosswalks and signalized intersections.

Still, Kazlo said it’s not unusual for CDTA to make changes along its routes, especially for new lines. She pointed to the likelihood that at least some of the already posted stops will be changed to address any concerns before bus service begins next month.

“We continuously make tweaks, it’s not uncommon for us to roll out service and then make a few changes if we get feedback from police or safety personnel from the community,” Kazlo said.

However, Kazlo noted that CDTA treats state routes like any other street and confirmed that drivers would be expected to stop behind buses on any road where they cannot safely pass just as they would be required to do for any other stopped vehicle.

“That’s a situation people run into in other cities we serve,” Kazlo said. “It’s a minimal amount of time that a bus is stopped.”

To address issues long term, Cinquanti said the city is forming a committee that will work with CDTA. The committee will include representatives from local law enforcement, the Greater Amsterdam School District, the Community and Economic Development Department and the Tourism, Marketing and Recreation Department.

“This is a brand new relationship that is just starting,” Cinquanti said. “We’re going to resolve those issues and I think everybody is going to be happy with it.”

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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