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Schenectady to solicit feedback for tricky intersection near Ellis Hospital

Schenectady to solicit feedback for tricky intersection near Ellis Hospital

Public hearing slated for Thursday
Schenectady to solicit feedback for tricky intersection near Ellis Hospital
A blue vehicle on Nott Street waits for a traffic signal at the intersection with Wendell Avenue.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — The Rossettis have seen numerous accidents at the intersection in front of Ellis Hospital over the past 18 years. 

“We hear the brakes squeal — I get chills — and then we wait for the metal,” said Teresa Rosetti. 

The five-point intersection is atypical:

Nott Street, a main east-west thoroughfare, cleaves off at the hospital at the intersection with Rosa Road; Nott continues continues southeast, while Rosa travels northeast. 

But Wendell Avenue bisects Nott Street shortly before the intersection, forming a short sliver of roadway that residents say is problematic because it creates confusion in those unfamiliar with the intersection. 

Northbound motorists turning right from Wendell Avenue and taking the quick left onto Rosa Road must cross oncoming traffic with no traffic light guidance.

 

Ellis Intersection Web

“What they need is cameras,” said Armand Capullo, who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years. 

Alternatively, motorists driving southbound down Nott Street must be vigilant because it can be unclear if motorists are turning right onto Rosa Road or Wendell Avenue. 

Others opt to ignore the light entirely.

“That intersection is notorious for people blowing through the red light,” Frank Rossetti said. 

Further stressors include bumps and uneven road surfaces, which slows the flow of traffic and leads to swerving, and heavy pedestrian traffic from the hospital, Union College and Oneida Middle School. 

As such, the intersection has been flagged by city police as one of the city’s top nuisance intersections.

Now officials are weighing changes, and will solicit feedback for possible improvements at a public hearing on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the McChesney Room at the Schenectady County Public Library.

Proposed improvements include the installation of a new “five-leg” traffic signal, new striping, pedestrian push buttons and what the city Engineer’s Office is referring to as a “reduction of paved areas through the creation of refuge islands with high-visibility crosswalks.”

“We’re hoping to have all engineering done by the end of year and go out to bid in the spring so construction of the project can happen in 2020,” said James Hart, assistant civil engineer.

The project has a total budget of approximately $400,000.

“We encourage residents to participate in the hearing to offer input and share their ideas on the proposed safety improvements,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy.

The Rossettis said they support increased traffic lights, traffic arrows and pedestrian walkways.

Dan Jada said he just moved to the neighborhood in May, and isn’t familiar with the nuances of the intersection. But Schenectady appears to be more progressive than Troy or Albany in furthering projects designed to make the city more pedestrian and bike-friendly, he said. 

“If you make it safer and better for the community, that’s a good thing,” he said. 

For more information on the public hearing and the proposed intersection improvements, contact the city of Schenectady’s Department of Engineering at 518-382-5082.

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