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What you need to know for 11/18/2017

Freeman's Bridge Road improvements meeting planned

Freeman's Bridge Road improvements meeting planned

Study could help effort to secure funding for improvements
Freeman's Bridge Road improvements meeting planned
Freeman's Bridge Road in Glenville.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

GLENVILLE -- The town has scheduled a public meeting for Aug. 23 to discuss ways to make Freeman's Bridge Road better, including improving its appearance and making the mile-long corridor more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The meeting will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Glenville Senior Center on Worden Road. It comes as the town conducts a public survey to gather ideas about how to improve the road, which is a significant commercial corridor between Glenville and Schenectady.

The goal, according to Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle, is to make the corridor -- home to two big-box retailers and a number of road-front businesses -- safer, while also encouraging economic growth and applying "complete streets" principals that encourage use by cyclists and pedestrians, as well as motorists.

Among the ideas being studied is construction of a sidewalk system and installation of lighting; many residents have also criticized the aesthetics of the corridor, which in addition to retail businesses contains a brownfield site that is working its way through a state Department of Environmental Conservation cleanup.

"We'll invite the public in, solicit their visions and ideas and thoughts on what would be good for Freeman's Bridge Road," Koetzle said. "I'd like it to be our front door, like a potential gateway to the community."

Koetzle said the goal is to have a draft report to the Town Board by late November or early December, and to have conclusions finalized by early 2018. The study could support any grant applications for suggested improvements.

"Without this study, we can't apply for grant funding (for construction), so it's a critical piece of the puzzle," Koetzle said.

A second Freeman's Bridge Road study, which also has $50,000 in funding, is under the state's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Koetzle said the town and state are still in the process of selecting a consultant, so there is no timeline yet for the study's completion.

The highway, used by about 12,000 vehicles per day at its upper end and more than 24,000 south of Maple Avenue, is Glenville's closest point to the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady. Town officials think the route is going to see new traffic because of people traveling to the casino, which opened in February, but Koetzle said it is still too soon to have concrete data on that.

The "complete streets" study is being done by Planning4Places LLC of Niskayuna and Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants of New York City.

People wishing to take the survey may do so at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FreemansGateway.

There is also information on the project at freemansgateway.com.

The Aug. 23 meeting will be in an open house format. Town officials said there will be a children's activities table to make is easier for families with children to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, swilliams@dailygazette.net or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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