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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 27, 2009

Traffic study underway to make Dr. Shaw Road safer

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — While the Democratic Supervisor, Kenneth Runion, sent out a press release promoting a study to calm traffic on Dr. Shaw Road, his challenger on the Republican ticket, Peter Golden, says it will be a proverbial drop in the bucket.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, town board members discussed the need for slowing the traffic on Dr. Shaw Road, making it safer for pedestrians to walk in the neighborhoods that stem from the street.

They hired, by unanimous vote, the engineering firm of Barton and Loguidice, P.C., to perform a traffic-calming feasibility study.

Possible solutions, offered by a representative of Barton and Loguidice, include narrowing lanes and creating landscaping focal points to create a visual of the road narrowing.

Golden, who is focusing on a comprehensive corrective traffic study for all of Guilderland as part of his campaign, told The Enterprise that small, individual feasibility studies are not enough to fix traffic problems.

“What I have come to understand is that you have to look at the whole town — everything else is a waste of time and money,” said Golden.

A lot of the traffic on Dr. Shaw Road is commuter traffic, said Golden, from people who are trying to avoid Western Avenue. The traffic-calming study proposed by the town is a good idea in theory, but in the long run, the traffic from Veeder Road, which runs parallel to Western Avenue, will overwhelm the fixes, Golden said. Commuter traffic flows through Prescott Woods and on Brandon Terrace as well, to the point where residents on Brandon Terrace have asked for speed bumps, he said.

It is just another example of why all of the links to Western Avenue need to be examined, said Golden.

The comprehensive corrective traffic study is one of the first things he would do if he were elected supervisor, Golden said. Traffic on Western Avenue is so bad that the school district has trouble with the buses, and the driver’s education program for students in Guilderland makes a point to talk about how to drive on the highway, he said.

The extraneous traffic on Western Avenue is contributing to the traffic on the side roads, according to Golden, which is why the study needs to be comprehensive. The study would have measurable results, and create a laundry list of solutions that could be presented to the residents, to see what they could live with, he said.

At the town board meeting, the representative from Barton and Loguidice said there would be one kickoff meeting and brainstorming session, and two other meetings with the highway department and Runion were planned. A public information meeting was not planned at the time; that would follow the decision to implement the project.

Donald Csaposs, the town’s grant writer, e-mailed a press release on Aug. 10 stating Runion had announced he would recommend the study at the Aug. 18 meeting.

Csaposs’s release quoted Runion at length, stating, in part, “Neighborhood residents have been asking for improvements that would enable them to safely access the sidewalks on Route 155 and the new Stewart’s store on its west side.  In response, I am recommending to the Board that we retain the services of outside experts to assist us in clearly defining the nature and the potential cost of steps that the town might take in order to enhance the quality of life for town residents.”

At the Aug. 18 meeting, Csaposs was permanently appointed to the position of grant writer, from the Albany County Civil Service list. Csaposs has been serving in the position of grant writer for almost seven years, and the 3-to-2 vote at the meeting was split down party lines. Republican Councilman Mark Grimm said that he was disappointed with the grant procurement process that has taken place while Csaposs has been serving as grant writer.

Csaposs told The Enterprise that people do not understand all that goes into obtaining grants.

“Getting a grant approval is just the beginning of a hideously complicated paper trail,” he said. In addition to filling out grant applications, Csaposs said he has to obtain letters of support from various legislators and organizations. The length of time between receiving a grant approval and getting the project off the ground is something that the grant writer has no control over, said Csaposs.

“I’m a believer in the Civil Service process,” Csaposs said. “I passed the test, I was first on the list. That’s all there is to it.”

Other business

In other business, the town board voted to:

— Retain the services of Barton and Loguidice, P.C. to complete storm sewer shed mapping required for phase two MS4 stormwater requirements;

— Release escrow for Mill Hill Retirement Community, in the amounts of $248.60 and $481.81;

— Approve transfers submitted by the town comptroller; and,

— Forward the application of Dutchman Acres to the Planning Board for preliminary site review.

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