Imagining an Albany without I-787

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Have you ever wondered what the Albany waterfront might look like if I-787 did not exist? Well, a new group in Albany is trying to make that question a reality.

“We see it as an invitation to just envision what’s possible here and how reconnecting to the river can be an economic driver,” says Jodi Smits Anderson, Director of Sustainability for the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and a member of the Albany Riverfront Collaborative.

Smits Anderson says instead of a bustling highway, the ARC would like to trade acres of concrete for around 92 acres of green space and better waterfront access, with 787 being reduced in lanes and speed. “The plan we are focused on to entice people is to look at making a boulevard out of 787 and reduce the speed. So that gives us an opportunity to reduce lanes to increase the access points to the river and slow the traffic down so maybe more people will come into Albany for things other than work.” 

Albany Common Councilmember Owusu Anane says he understands concerns commuters may have if 787 is turned into a boulevard with traffic lights. Councilmember Anane says he believes removing the highway could be a positive step for the city.

“I know that while commuters, who live outside of the city, appreciate the easy access in the city [but] there has been a growing number of residents here in the city of Albany that would like to see a full access to the waterfront,” the councilmember says.

ARC has not come up with a projected cost for razing I-787 and revitalizing the Albany waterfront. But, they do say the cost could be equivalent to what it takes to maintain the already established highway.

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