Draft UAlbany Downtown Corridor Study presentation
August 19, 2016
Over four days in early August, members of the community met with City and University officials to brainstorm ideas for the future of the midtown neighborhoods around UAlbany's Downtown Campus.
The discussions in Milne Hall were part of the UAlbany Downtown Corridor Study, a joint effort between the City and University to conceptualize a future for the neighborhood as UAlbany prepares to invest $60 million to renovate the 104-year-old former Albany High School at North Lake and Western avenues as the new home of its College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The University is also considering an investment potentially as large in Alumni Quad, its downtown dorms, on top of nearly $3 million in infrastructure improvements already underway to better manage storm water and reduce flooding in the area.
UAlbany's plans for the neighborhood come on the heels of the City's $2.7 million in state-backed green infrastructure improvements to Quail Street, which was identified during the public planning sessions as the commercial heart of the corridor.
Those four days of intensive planning Aug. 1-4, led by consultants from Dover, Kohl & Partners, resulted in a preliminary presentation (available here) that identified five big ideas to guide future development:
Focusing efforts by creating a center and gateways to the corridor
Restoring 'great streets'
Adding destinations and connections
Preparing for more transit
Strengthening adjacent neighborhoods
The ideas contained in the presentation are purely conceptual and not tied to any proposed projects. But these broad concepts will serve as the foundation for the final corridor study report due out later this fall as part of Albany's larger ReZone Albany project.
Other key stakeholders in the study include neighborhood associations, business groups and the Capital District Transportation Authority, which is planning a Bus Rapid Transit line that will run through the corridor on Western Avenue.