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Schenectady announces open house for forthcoming Craig Street renovation project

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SCHENECTADY — The much-anticipated initiative to enhance pedestrian and cyclist accessibility on Craig Street is gaining momentum. The city is planning an open house event on Wednesday evening to discuss the project’s specifics.

The Schenectady Department of Engineering is set to host the public information session on Feb. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Electric City Barn. Attendees will be treated to food from Memphis King barbecue and have the chance to participate in raffles.

Originally conceived in 2016 as a part of a bicycle demonstration project that led to the temporary installation of bike lanes on Craig Street, the project aims to establish permanent bike lanes, upgrade sidewalks, and enhance pedestrian crossings along Craig Street from Forest Road to Albany Street.

A linkage study for the project was completed by the city in December 2019.

“We held several community engagement forums for this project,” said City Engineer Chris Wallin on Monday. “We had numerous public meetings and spontaneous street-side interactions with people who contributed to a comprehensive 356-page report for this corridor and the surrounding area.”

Despite the pandemic slowing down the project’s progress, the city managed to secure federal funding for the project, which is estimated to cost around $10 million in total.

“As of now, we have approximately $8 million in construction funding, but this figure could increase,” Wallin added.

The project will also involve expanding bike and walking paths on the state-owned bridge over I-890, connecting the Mont Pleasant and Hamilton Hill neighborhoods.

“The highlight of this project is a separate cycle track that is not part of the roadway but is separated by a curb or a median,” Wallin explained.

Currently, Craig Street has sidewalks on both sides but lacks dedicated bike lanes.

The city has obtained federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding for the project, which aims to improve local air quality by promoting bicycle use.

The project will also introduce parking lanes and green infrastructure along Craig Street.

“This project continues the investment in the neighborhood,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy on Monday. “It complements the construction work we’ve done in rehabilitating buildings in the area. We aim to enhance the walkability, bikeability, and visual appeal of the roadway.”

At the Wednesday night event, residents will have the opportunity to review the project’s preliminary designs and provide input to shape the final design.

“We won’t be asking, ‘Do you want a cycle track?’ because we’ve already decided on that,” Wallin said. “But we’ll ask, ‘Would you prefer a raised cycle track? Would you be okay with trees?’ We’re now focusing on the finer details and aim to keep people informed about the project’s progress.”

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Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres, a native of Schenectady, has returned to his hometown after several years of reporting in the Midwest. A graduate of Missouri School of Journalism, Alex is known for his empathetic approach to local news, covering everything from community events to local governance, always with an aim to bridge diverse perspectives.
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