There might be innovative ways to add trees

To the Editor:
Judy Slack recently wrote about a new sidewalk between 20 Mall and the Guilderland Public Library [“Some sidewalks improve neither our town nor the environment”].

Callanan, the contractor building the sidewalk, is working in a dedicated fashion. They set up strong work zones each day. Although this slows traffic, the work zone protects workers and vehicular traffic. The pace of work and work zone are a welcome contrast to work zones in other states where, paradoxically, no work was happening.

Ms. Slack seems to assert that this project will not be used by many pedestrians. I have seen a noticeable number of people walking on this segment. Some walk with children and some with two-wheeled shopping carts.

Traffic on this segment of Western Avenue is fast and drivers often drive aggressively. A sidewalk will protect pedestrians from this frightening and dangerous traffic. It will safely link Brandywine and Regency Park Apartments to the YMCA, library, and nursing home.

Ms. Slack also seems to suggest small groups in a community do not deserve public investments. This is a misunderstanding; there are good reasons why all levels of government fund investments that do not benefit large numbers of people.

For example, there are numerically fewer children than adults in Guilderland, yet we fund elementary and secondary education so kids can be successful. We do this even when some property owners protest assessments and their successful challenges raise the taxes of all property owners.

It is sad that some large trees were removed for this project. However, transportation projects receive strict environmental reviews and tree work is expensive. These factors likely limited the number of trees being removed.

Local governments have flexibility that state and the national governments do not have. There might be innovative ways for citizens, the town, and school district to partner, to add trees.

While driving Western Avenue this past Friday, I saw a woman walking, apparently happily, on a completed sidewalk segment — and hope more people will share this experience.

John Rowen


More Letters to the Editor

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.