Give and take is needed to resolve traffic issues for Rapp Road Historic District

To the Editor:

I have read Dr. [Don] Reeb’s Sept. 4 letter regarding the impact of the proposed development of lands adjacent to Crossgates Mall on the Rapp Road Historic District, a designated National Historic District [“Avoid mall until historic Black community gets traffic pattern that won’t harm it”].

I appreciate and share Dr. Reeb’s concern for that neighborhood, and have, over the course of a number of years, had occasion to express that support in writing or at meetings, as well as by attending fundraising events in support of the Historic Association’s work.

However, I don’t believe that much of Dr. Reeb’s letter is accurate.

I have seen no indication in any reputable media account that would support his assertion that Pyramid Corporation has refused to fund the construction of a bypass road around the neighborhood. The suggestion that this is the case, whatever one may think of the proposed projects, is very much out of order.

Further, the historical association, in an August 11, 2020 letter to the Guilderland town planner (available in full in the town’s web pages covering the Environmental Impact Statement) expresses the group’s support for a traffic resolution that does not involve the construction of a bypass.

Additionally, Dr. Reeb’s unsupported advocacy for the construction of such a bypass completely ignores the environmental concerns associated with such a project.

In letters to the town on Oct. 7, 2019 and again on March 3, 2020, the Albany Pine Bush Commission, the public authority charged by New York State with the crucial task of establishing and maintaining a viable Pine Bush Preserve, expressed its opposition to each of the several bypass proposals put forth by the city of Albany because of the damage any of them would inflict on particularly sensitive areas of the Pine Bush Preserve, including areas occupied by active Karner blue butterfly populations.

As much as I hope to see a resolution of this situation that is positive for the Rapp Road Historic District, that resolution should not under any circumstances come by means of significant damage to the preserve.

The issues experienced in the historic district are the culmination of many years of development, primarily in the Frontage Road/Washington Avenue Extension Corridor in the city of Albany, that was undertaken without meaningful consideration of the impact of such development on the historic district.

A solution can come only with frank and open discussion between and among a multiplicity of parties —  city, town, Pyramid, historic district, and preserve commission — based on acceptance of the reality that give and take are necessary, and that any resolution will likely be less than perfect for any of the parties.

Attainment of the best possible outcome is not assisted by the throwing of rocks, particularly ones with no basis in fact.

Donald Csaposs


Editor’s note: Donald Csaposs is a grant writer for the town of Guilderland and is the chief executive officer of the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency.

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