The City Council this week announced an experiment on Henry Street which will see the two-way road transformed into a one-way street for motor vehicles. The free lane space created will then be turned into a two-way cycle track. The pilot project – which will run from Saturday, Sept.14 through Sunday, Sept. 29 - will measure the impact of implementing this low-cost engineered design to create the urban segment of the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail from Lake Avenue to Spring Street.
Henry Street, which runs adjacent to the rear-side entry of the Saratoga Springs Public Library, was named after Henry Walton – a man of high culture and polished manners who possessed the faculty of binding to himself close social ties to the educated and the refined, according to William Stone’s late 19th century writings, “Reminiscences Of Saratoga.” Walton was a judge and landowner during the early development of the local community.
A Public Hearing was held Aug. 13 regarding traffic congestion and the safety of students being dropped off and picked up at the Lake Avenue School, which faces Lake Avenue and is bordered by Regent Street and Marion Place. Potentially converting one of the two-way streets into a one-way street, as well as implementing “traffic calming-solutions” such as a large, billboard-esque electronic speed monitor were among the topics of discussion. The public hearing remains open and will be revisited by the council.
A Public Hearing was scheduled and will take place at 6:40 p.m. during the Sept. 3 City Council meeting regarding a Local Law to amend the City Charter as it relates to terms of office, eligibility and salaries of officers. The law seeks to increase the compensation of the elected City Council members from $14,500 per year to $30,000 annually, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. Member salaries have not increased since at least 2001, Mayor Meg Kelly said.
City Center Parking Garage Hearing Scheduled
A Public Hearing was scheduled to also take place Sept. 3 regarding the crafting of a lease between the City and the City Center Authority that will potentially see the City Center develop and operate a 600-space parking garage near High Rock Park.
The project proposal includes two phases of development along the city-owned 2-1/2-acre parcel that runs from High Rock Park to Lake Avenue, and Maple Avenue to High Rock Avenue, one block east of Broadway. The City Center Authority has applied for a building permit, and if the lease agreement is approved, the project may begin development this fall and be partially completed by next summer, according to a spokesman for the City Center.
Current plans involve only Phase 1 of the project – on 1.75 acres directly east of the City Center and the Algonquin lot.
Phase 1 call for a multi-level, 600-space parking garage, a “pedestrian connector” atop Maple Avenue to run between the City Center and the parking structure, and an extension of the Green Belt Trail along High Rock Avenue, where there is 50 feet of space between the potential structure and the curb line. A small “pocket park” has also recently been added to the plans and will sit at the southeast corner of Phase 1 plans.
Capital Plan – Announcement on Code Blue Coming Oct. 1
City Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan will bring the proposed 2020 comprehensive city budget to the council Oct. 1 and “will include a financial plan to move the city forward with a permanent Code Blue Shelter,” Mayor Kelly said this week. “Commissioner Madigan and I have been working very hard to find land for a permanent location and we are making great progress.” The city is working with Shelters of Saratoga on the emergency homeless shelter.
A separate, six-year proposed capital plan totaling just under $17 million was also announced this week. The plan ranks 36 city projects according to importance. The highest ticket item is $6.6 million for an Eastside Fire/EMS Facility. The city currently has two stations – one just off Broadway and one on the west side. The potential of an east side facility has been discussed for several years. At present, no land where the station would specifically be sited has been determined. The fire/ems station ranks third highest in order of importance.
Other high-cost items include a Loughberry Lake Dam Embankment stabilization and spillway project – ranked 2nd overall and carrying a cost of $1.75 million, and the Geyser Road Trail construction – specifically related to the area in and around Route 50. The project would ultimately connect the Geyser Crest neighborhood with the Saratoga Spa State Park and Railroad Run. The council will likely vote on the Capital Budget at its next meeting, Sept. 3.