Today Is the Day to Submit Your Comments! Here are Ours

NYSDOT Main Office Rail Projects Group is accepting comments only until the end of the day.

Find out how to submit comments at https://www.dot.ny.gov/livingstonavebridge/outreach 

Here are our comments:

“Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Livingston Ave. Bridge project. We want to emphasize, right from the top, that we could not be more proud of NYSDOT and we are grateful the agency supports a bike and pedestrian walkway on both design alternatives for the Livingston Ave bridge replacement. We commend NYSDOT for responding to public input and advancing a bridge replacement that will meet the needs of all New Yorkers for the next 100 years. 

The Livingston Avenue Bridge Coalition, a truly grass roots effort that’s been working since 2012, was formed to echo and amplify a unanimous public support for restoration of the walkway on a new or rebuilt bridge structure.

We stand firm that the walkway will pay enormous dividends for local businesses, residents, tourism and people that may commute on bike or by foot across the bridge. Development immediately adjacent to the bridge on both sides of the Hudson River is booming and we believe this bridge will be an enormous benefit to both communities as they grow. The reconstruction of the Livingston Avenue presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide enjoyable and cost-effective access for people, to cross the Hudson River safely and quickly on bike or foot. We cannot afford to waste this opportunity to rebuild a better bridge. The recent completion of the Empire State Trail and opening of the new Skyway has only made underscored the importance for a safe, accessible bike and pedestrian river crossing on a new bridge.

We could not be more pleased both alternatives feature the walkway, however, the alignment of the connection of the walkway’s western approach remains unclear. A new, curving structure east of I-787 is represented by single lines in the schematics, descending from the bridge to a section of open space, then  crossing Quay Street to connect to the trail system in the Corning Preserve. In all likelihood these design options were proposed before the new “Skyway” multi-use trail was developed along the former Clinton St. northbound I-787 exit. ramp. 

A better alternative for this west side bridge-trail connection would be located directly to the west of I-787. At this location the bridge and the new “Skyway” come within about 25’ of each other and are at nearly the same elevation. This should replace the depicted new trail exit/entrance ramp and would facilitate a direct link into Albany and the Corning Preserve via the Skyway. 

We want to see an operations plan for when the walkway is open – recognizing that as critical transportation link, the walkway is only effective if it is open as much as possible, preferably 24/7 and year-round. 

We strongly encourage that attractive architectural and lighting features be incorporated into the bridge to make it both inviting and comfortable for bike and pedestrian users. If the bridge is not attractive it may discourage use or give the incorrect impression that the bridge is somehow dangerous for and pedestrian users. Furthermore, the new bridge will be a centerpiece of the Albany skyline and its visual identity for a century. Thus, it is critical the bridge is as attractive as possible as its will be a prominent feature of marketing material, regional branding,  and surely 1000’s of photos taken each year by residents and visitors. We’re sure the agency would agree this is a bridge that DOT can point to as a beautiful success story. Let’s make sure it will look as good as it’s price-tag should command.

Thank you again for the opportunity to provide comments and an enormous “thank you” to NYSDOT and everyone involved in this project.

-Livingston Avenue Bride Coalition

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