It is unconscionable that you can’t run, bike, and walk throughout the town

To the Editor:

In your article discussing the proposed hotel at Crossgates Mall, you indicated that Supervisor Peter Barber views walking and biking access to be a priority for the town. I do not see any evidence that access for any pedestrians or bicyclists are a priority whatsoever.

I would acknowledge sidewalks have been installed on Route 20 but only out as far as Route 155. Then there is a section of Route 20 until Route 146 (Altamont) without sidewalks, then sidewalks are installed until Route 146 (Schenectady).

But the rest of the town is a forgotten child except for low-traffic areas like Timothy or Coons roads. Truly, for non-driving people, you can’t get there from here!

As a daily walker in my Fort Hunter neighborhood, I am ashamed at the quality of pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the town.  On Old State Road (East) there are no sidewalks, limited  to a very short distance on the West. On Lydius Street there are  only sidewalks from Traber to DiCaprio Park.  The sidewalks on Route 146 are so disjointed that they are really useless.

Now the town is going to get three assisted living facilities: one at Rt. 20 and Foundry Road, one on Route 155 between Western Avenue and the post office, and one at the Best Western near the University at Albany. If you were to visit a loved one at any of these facilities (except perhaps the Best Western site) and you wanted to take that person for a walk to get fresh air on a sunny day or go to the library, you could not.

I see runners and bicyclists on the major roads, taking their lives in their hands every day. And, if the children close enough to DiCaprio Park wanted to ride there on their bikes, go for a run, or a walk, they could not.

And Route 146 toward Altamont was repaved a couple of years ago. Sidewalks were not part of that plan.  Even a sidewalk as far as Tawasentha Park would be a good thing. I read Route 146 toward Schenectady will be widened and a roundabout is planned at Lydius.

How about sidewalks from Route 20 all the way to the Thruway? Or at least connect all the ones that have gaps to make it safer to go to, say, the Corner Ice Cream.

So does the town end at Route 155?  What is the plan for the rest of Guilderland?

Every year, the highway department has a plan for paving — following a systematic schedule to make sure all town roads are cared for adequately and timely.  Why not develop a similar plan for sidewalks and bike lanes?  Plan on adding a specific amount each year until the town can say it is in fact pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly?

It is unconscionable that you can’t run, bike, and walk throughout the town and be able to access the major public facilities like the library and the parks without having to go in the road or be forced to drive.  

I have been in a lot of other places that are so user-friendly in this regard and Guilderland should work towards being one of them. We are a community that wants to be identified by its residential nature and not become overwhelmingly commercial.

Infrastructure for engaging in healthy activity about town should be at the top of the list of things to do, not something that is only done when property owners seek a building permit.

Jim Pickett




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