Building of America’s Roadways
In the post war era, too many communities have struggled with the need integrate the ease of access afforded by state and interstate highway systems with the desire to maintain a distinctive community character. While there are potential economic benefits to expanded auto access, these can be lost if the key highway/town link is handled in a piecemeal or haphazard manner.
If the focus is exclusively on auto-related issues like adequate turning radii and parking, key residential districts and commercial areas can disappear in a sea of concrete. If the link between the high-volume road and the local roads is not carefully articulated, quality communities and neighborhoods can be slowly eroded by traffic and noise. In the end, the tax benefits associated with highway-related development are offset by the costs in diminished quality of life.
Unfortunately, the Broadway Corridor in the Village of Menands has met this fate and has, as a result, become a primarily auto-oriented corridor. Once a thriving commercial district serving the capital region, today there are numerous vacant or underutilized sites. Buildings that have been successfully reused have changed from commercial/retail services to offices. Where Broadway once carried the bulk of the commuter traffic, I-787 now serves this purpose. The culmination of these characteristics has helped create a pedestrian unfriendly environment that is dislocated from the adjacent neighborhoods.
To recapture the Broadway Corridor for the pedestrian and connect it to the nearby neighborhoods, the Village of Menands, in conjunction with the City of Albany and the Town of Colonie, applied for and received funding from the NYS Department of State Office of Local Government Services Quality Communities program. The focus of the program was to examine the Broadway Corridor and make recommendations that will ultimately meet the needs and expectations of each of the communities in a sustainable manner that re-establishes the corridor as an economically and socially vibrant asset to the village and adjacent communities.