Niskayuna approves pair of crosswalk projects



NISKAYUNA — A pair of Niskayuna crosswalk projects are set to commence this fall after the Niskayuna Town Board approved funding for pedestrian improvements during a special meeting on Oct. 11.

On Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved a resolution to award a construction contract to James H. Maloy, Inc. of Loudonville for $311,650 for crosswalk installations at the River Road – Saint Joseph Drive intersection and a separate project on Upper Union Street.
The funding for the crosswalk project originates from a $125,000 grant the town received in 2015 and an additional $250,000 grant the town secured in 2017, both from the State and Municipal Facilities Grant Program (SAM).

Niskayuna Town Planner Laura Robertson said that the town is pleased to allocate the state grant money after a prolonged process.

“We actually put the 2015 one out to bid once before, but it came in $75,000 too high,” she said after the meeting. “So we brought it back and we tried again and it was still too high. But we’re going to get done whatever we can this year.”

The town is seeking to improve walking and biking access along the Mohawk Hudson Bike Hike Trail by creating trail crossings.

“The main project is a crosswalk at the intersection of St. Joseph Drive and River Road,” Robertson said following the meeting. “Right now, everybody who lives in Orchard Park in order to get to the Mohawk Hudson Bike Hike Trail they’re crossing at St. Joseph, but there’s no crosswalk for them. This project will remove the parking lot and put in a crosswalk. I think it will vastly improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, who are just crossing right now. That took a very long time to get approved, but it finally did.”

An additional project on Upper Union Street will see the installation of a raised brick and concrete crosswalk.

“It’ll be a beautiful crosswalk and it’ll be much safer because we’ll have the push button and lights, but we’re unable to afford the median,” Robertson told the board. “So it’s very slimmed down, but it’s going to be safety improvements and connections that we’ve been trying to make for a very long time.”

The special meeting was held on Tuesday to approve the projects so that the construction work could begin on or before Nov. 1.
“Hopefully before the end of October even,” Robertson said after the meeting. “We had the meeting tonight because we really wanted to try to get substantial completion done, at least at Upper Union Street, by the end of this year.”

The town planner said the two crosswalk projects were bid out together in order to streamline the construction process.

“We have two grants that have pretty tight timelines, so we combined them together to save on mobilization and engineering costs,” Robertson told the board during Tuesday’s meeting. “We bid the crossing at St. Joseph’s and the crossing at Upper Union Street and the Nott Street sidewalk and the Plum Street sidewalk. This probably won’t shock anyone, but the bids were really high. The supervisor (Jamie Puccioni) and I looked at them for a really long time, trying to leverage every single dollar that we could and not go over budget.”

Robertson said there are still outstanding sidewalk projects to be done in the town in the new year, including work to be done on Nott Street between Garner Avenue and Baker Street.

“What I’m watching out for is that there’s a lot of infrastructure money and grants coming down from the federal government right now,” she said after the meeting. “That’s going to be perfect, because it’s already been engineered and put out to bid once. So if there’s a grant, that project is shovel-ready, which is a big deal for the federal government.”

During the Oct. 11 special meeting, the board also unanimously approved $28,700 in funding for the Weston & Sampson firm in Albany for a change order for engineering services on the crosswalk projects.

Robertson said the town hopes to complete an additional pedestrian improvement project on Plum Street between Van Antwerp Road and Nicholas Ave in 2023 using town funds.

Niskayuna Town Board Member John Della Ratta thanked Puccioni and Robertson for formulating the plans to get the crosswalk improvements done.

“That is a job well done,” Della Ratta told the board. “I know we couldn’t get as much done as we wanted to with rising costs, but I think the final plan that we’ve come up with is definitely going to make this a better, safer place for our residents.”

Categories: News, News, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

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