Beyond the Lines

Imapct Albany3Have you checked the Capital City’s  “Impact Downtown Albany” plan? The “Briefing Booklet,” a sort executive summary to a larger document we can only assume has yet to be released, made some waves yesterday and it is a bold, exciting vision for downtown. Great imagination at work here, and the design team earned their paycheck on the sparkling renderings of areas of the city that desperately needed some imaginative love.

Of course there’s a line on the map for the Livingston Avenue Bridge walkway. It’s potentially the most important bicycle and pedestrian connector in the region. OK, we’re partial… but yes, it is in there (as you can see to the right).

Imapct Albany2Keep skimming the pages of the 20-page urban planner’s Christmas catalog  and you’ll see a lot of great ideas for State Street, the Waterfront, Pearl St., Broadway… it’s all good stuff. Even better there aren’t just renderings, but “Action items,” place-making steps identified to spur investment and leverage public assets.

Turn your attention to pg. 17, Vision Concepts for The Corning Waterfront:

“Vision #10 An active “high line” linear park transforms this underutilized highway ramp into Clinton Square’s connection to recreation, dining, culture and nature at the Corning Riverfront.


  • Work with NY DOT to verify feasible design and timeframe for ramp conversion to park
  • Work with NY DOT and OGS to implement new street connecting Quay and Centre Streets, enabling conversion of existing Quay Street-Colonie Street segment into added park space
  • Apply for state and federal funding for the creation of the linear park”

Then to the next section, pg. 19’s Warehouse District:

“Vision #12 New pathways and artwork connect Corning Riverfront with the Warehouse District and Arbor Hill, attracting reinvestment in retail, workplaces and housing.

• Extend a recreational path from the Corning Riverfront to Arbor Hill

Vision #13 Historical relics find a new life as attractive landmarks supporting today’s market positioning and culture.


• Commission artwork to transform the Cold Storage Warehouse, Broadway railroad bridge and/or other prominent structures
• Install signage to identify the district and enhance wayfinding to Downtown and the Corning Riverfront”

Something is missing, no? These action items identify signage, connections, working with NYSDOT, heck even the laudable but very lofty goal of turning an exit ramp into a our version of the “Highline.” Where’s a little love for the Livingston Avenue Bridge Walkway? We don’t intend to come off bitter, the lines are on the map, there’s a decade of studies to support it, the city and county (on both sides of the bridge) support the concept. But the walkway should be entrenched in the minds of designers and project managers by now, right? Shouldn’t it also be a slam-dunk, no questions asked, no doubt about it addition to the action items in the the Waterfront and/or Warehouse District recommendations? These days it is so easy to do a word search that it comes as second nature when a plan comes out in which the Walkway could/should be a mention. The term “Livingston” doesn’t appear once in the document. That smarts a little bit.

So hey, great start – I don’t mean to detract from the hard work, and thanks for the lines, truly – but please, let’s put the walkway back on track, front and center, and make it a codified priority for waterfront and downtown development.

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