Some concerned about plan for Columbia Turnpike - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Some concerned about plan for Columbia Turnpike


Rensselaer, N.Y. - Residents weighed in during a public meeting Monday night about green infrastructure. It's a project along the Columbia Turnpike in Rensselaer, but now some local business owners are taking issue with parts of the plan.

"We need it to work first and then look pretty second," said Matt Polsinello with Polsinello Fuels.

According to the city of Rensselaer more than 25,000 vehicles travel the corridor along the Columbia Turnpike every day. Now a new plan for the main thoroughfare has business owners along the strip like Polsinello concerned.

"These are professional drivers and they want to go home safely too," said Polsinello.

The city plans to add bike lanes, raised medians with greenery and extended sidewalks. 

"Raised medians really presents a hazard to the traffic flow and it definitely reduces maneuverability," said Polsinello.

Rensselaer Planning and Development Director Charles Moore says there is now an alternative plan for the medians where they would not be raised.

"We want to work with those landowners that have concerns about transportation ingress and egress but we also want to accommodate the pedestrians that need to traverse that corridor regularly," said Moore.

The majority of the nearly one million dollar project has been funded by grants but Moore says the city will pay around $175,000. As Moore explained the new green esthetics, Polsinello talked about concerns of underground issues. 

"There's been some water main and sewer issues that have gone on that have caused the road to have to be torn up," said Polsinello.

"Unfortunately this funding is for only bike and pedestrian improvements but now that we're aware of those problems we can move forward with finding solutions," said Polsinello.

Moore says plans will be finalized in the upcoming months for this project and that construction will begin next spring.

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