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The state DOT strongly advises against lowering speed limits without making physical changes to a roadway. Even with increased enforcement and education, results across New York have shown that lowering a speed limit has little effect on actual speeds, with the Cherry Ave Extension in Slingerlands and Feura Bush Rd in Glenmont as local examples. To achieve slower speeds, physical changes to the roadway are a must.
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In December, 2017, the Town Board approved redesigning Delaware Avenue between Elsmere Avenue and the Albany town line to have:
These features are a proven safety countermeasure to reduce the types of car accidents occurring along the road, make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and make the area more attractive to new businesses. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration strongly recommends this approach to improve traffic safety on roads with fewer than 20,000 car trips daily.
Actually, the complete streets project is not about cycling. The new traffic pattern would reduce the number of car accidents, allow pedestrians to safely cross Delaware Avenue (which they can only do now at Elsmere Avenue and Delaware Plaza – ½ mile apart), and make businesses along the corridor more accessible to customers.
The pavement on this stretch of Delaware Ave is in bad shape, so the state DOT (who owns and manages the roadway) will need to rebuild it sooner than later. Because the road is in such poor condition and will need to be rebuilt, the Town will first upgrade the underlying water and sewer pipes, which were put in just after WWII. As such, there will be major construction on this section of Delaware Ave regardless of whether Complete Streets safety improvements are made to the roadway, sidewalks, and crosswalks. The projected start date is 2024.
One note: The Albany complete streets project included on-street parking. The Delaware Ave Complete Streets project will not add or remove on-street parking. Instead, it will create a center turn lane and wide shoulders with room for bus stops and cyclists.