The speed limit on Washington Avenue Extension is coming down.
The reduction to 45 mph was announced by New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll as part of a broader safety campaign on the roadway.
The state has spent $7 million project to make safety improvements and reconstruct the road in the western reaches of the city of Albany.
“Safety is our top priority, and DOT’s rehabilitation project and speed-limit reduction dovetails with the city of Albany’s recent speed limit change to 30 mph on Washington Avenue near UAlbany and the Governor W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus, as well as with New Karner Road at the western end of Washington Avenue Extension,” Driscoll said.
Seven crosswalks were newly striped by DOT this past summer at signalized Washington Avenue Extension intersections. DOT also coordinated with the City of Albany to add striping at 20 crosswalks on city streets next to Washington Avenue Extension.
“Engineering solutions are one part of pedestrian safety,” he said. “Enforcement and education are equally important. That is why we are pleased to have such a strong partner as the City of Albany for this educational and enforcement effort on this stretch of road to remind both motorists and pedestrians of the need to follow the rules of the road.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said “the efforts to improve safety along the Washington Avenue Extension reflect months of planning and collaboration between the city of Albany and the Department of Transportation. This campaign will ensure that the public has the information necessary to make safe decisions while on the road.”
As part of the education and enforcement campaign, Albany City Police may issue tickets to both pedestrians and motorists for violating the law. In addition, police will have supplies of informative motorist and pedestrian safety tip cards to distribute.
City and DOT employees will also distribute informational material during this time to pedestrians crossing Washington Avenue Extension to remind them to obey pedestrian crossing signals and to use crosswalks and pedestrian push-buttons correctly.
The education campaign emphasizes the ongoing “See! Be Seen!” message for driver and pedestrian awareness.
The “See!” aspect of this campaign encourages drivers to:
Always look for pedestrians, particularly when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red
Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections
Do not block crosswalks when stopped at an intersection
Do not run red lights
Slow down and obey speed limits
Take extra care around schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods
The “Be Seen!” aspect of this campaign encourages pedestrians to:
Cross at intersections and marked crosswalks
Use pedestrian push-buttons where available and wait for the signal to cross
Use sidewalks; if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic so you see vehicles and drivers see you
Stay visible after dark and in bad weather by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing
Watch for vehicles backing out of parking spaces and exiting driveways
Make eye contact with drivers so they see you
Look left, look right, and then look left again before crossing a street
The education campaign and the speed limit reduction follow the completed rehabilitation of Washington Avenue Extension. That work replaced deteriorated concrete pavement on a 2.2-mile stretch of this road, from New Karner Road (Route 155) to the bridge over the New York State Thruway (between Crossgates Mall and SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering).
Additionally, 16 “doorbell-style” pedestrian push-buttons were installed this summer at the three intersections along Washington Avenue Extension. The doorbell-style pedestrian push-buttons emit a sound when a person pushes them and pulses red to indicate that the system has received a pedestrian’s request to cross the street. During the pedestrian crossing phase at the intersection at Washington Avenue Extension and Springsteen Road, red traffic signals stop motor vehicles in all directions, with LED “No Turn on Red” signs also lighting up.