ALBANY, NY - Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan joined local elected officials, business leaders, and community representatives to announce an initial $1.3 million investment to revitalize the Lark Street Streetscape. Phase One of this project’s design and input process will commence in 2021, with construction slated for 2022.
Phase One improvements to the Lark Street Streetscape will include: a new street surface, ADA compliant sidewalk ramps, sidewalk panel repairs, semi-permanent curb bump-outs, pedestrian friendly and vibrant road paint, and lighting enhancements. These investments include a $200,000 contribution by Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, a $50,000 contribution by Assemblymember John McDonald, and a $750,000 Federal TAP award. These improvements were derived from community input via a Lark Street Streetscape Study that was funded in part by a grant secured through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Program, the Lark Street Business Improvement District, and the Albany Parking Authority.
The City of Albany will apply for additional funding for future phases that may include other streetscape infrastructure such as raised intersections, permanent curb bump-outs, enhanced lighting, and other amenities and traffic calming measures.
Mayor Sheehan also announced that the City of Albany will initiate a Washington Park Area Traffic Study in 2021. The goal of this comprehensive pedestrian and traffic safety assessment of Washington Park and the surrounding business and residential neighborhoods will be to improve pedestrian safety and walkability. This corridor serves as one of the epicenters for the movement of people that operate and utilize the City’s largest industries – government, health, and education, and this study will help find solutions that the City and its residents, businesses and other institutions could use for long-range planning, as well as to secure funding to implement solutions.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “The Lark Street Streetscape revitalization and Washington Park Area Traffic Study are prime examples of my administration’s commitment to creating a city where every neighborhood works. These investments will drive business development and growth in our City while also promoting vibrant, walkable neighborhoods. I want to extend a sincere thank you to Assemblymembers McDonald and Fahy for helping support the Lark Street Streetscape project and many other initiatives throughout the City of Albany.”
Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, “In many ways, Lark Street has become the unofficial meeting point between Uptown and Downtown Albany – connecting our city and residents with a centralized, walkable promenade of local eateries, shops, and more. I am happy to have secured $200,000 in funds to help assist the City of Albany’s Lark Street Streetscape improvement program and improve pedestrian safety and walkability of the Lark Street corridor. Undoubtedly, when completed this will help to drive foot traffic, local business, and tourism to Lark Street itself, which will have a positive and lasting multiplier effect for surrounding businesses and residents. I thank Mayor Sheehan for continuing to hold open dialogues regarding what city residents want to see done in their communities and for investing in the success of Lark Street.”
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “I am proud to provide continued support to the Capital City through the Lark Street improvements. I applaud the City of Albany and Mayor Sheehan for continuing to invest in our communities.“
Chief City Auditor Dorcey Applyrs said, “Lark Street's eclectic and vibrant culture make it one of our City's historic gems. The proposed streetscape improvements and corridor enhancements are long overdue and are needed to sustain Lark street and its rich history. Washington Park which can be easily accessed from Lark Street is frequented by thousands of pedestrians each year. These visits are for recreational purposes, attending festivals or having a quite picnic with family. A traffic/pedestrian study will help to ensure that all pedestrians, regardless of their reason for visiting the park, are safe and can access each area of the park with ease.”
6th Ward Common Councilmember Richard Conti said, "Recommendations in the Lark Street Improvement Study have the significant potential of enhancing the walkability and pedestrian friendlessness of the Lark Street corridor. Not only will this benefit nearby residents and visitors, but also the small locally owned business that are part of our community. I'm excited that in 2021 we'll see the beginning implementation of this plan with further phased implementation in the years ahead. In addition, at the same time it makes sense that we take a serious look a pedestrian and traffic safety issues in Washington Park and the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Lark Street and Washington Park are in the heart of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the City of Albany where pedestrian safety and walkability are key components of what makes our neighborhoods vibrant and attractive. The pedestrian and traffic safety study will help us to clearly define issues and develop solutions to benefit everyone. I appreciate Mayor Sheehan's continued commitment to one of Albany's key urban neighborhoods."
Lark Street Business Improvement District President Patrick Noonan said, “This project changes the narrative for Lark Street and with this commitment, Mayor Sheehan is making a down payment on the future of Lark Street. I would like to thank Mayor Sheehan for her vision and spirit as we're now that much closer to the realization of the full project. I’d also like to thank Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald for their incredible contributions. I am ecstatic for the future of Lark Street. While it is a phased project, it will realize several goals along the way, including improved walkability, improved lighting, improved ADA accessibility, improved traffic flow and more. Lark Street will be in a great position to welcome families safely and enhance its outdoor dining options, along with improved parking and overall quality of life.”
Albany Parking Authority Executive Director Matthew Peter said, “The Albany Parking Authority was proud to be a partner on the initial Lark Street Corridor Study and Grant specifically the parking needs and assessment. Creating a safe, vibrant and pedestrian friendly commercial district is vital to the continued success of the City and the APA. These improvements which came directly from the corridor study, will go a long way to ensuring the vibrancy and growth of Lark Street. I commend the Mayor and the City Planning Office on committing to this vital infrastructure.”
Hudson Park Neighborhood Association President Jeff Crumpton said, “We’d like to thank the Sheehan Administration for these investments in the Hudson Park Neighborhood. The Lark Street corridor is unique in that it links three neighborhood associations together in mutual partnership and, in many ways, is the backdrop against which many City events take place. Through careful listening, thoughtful conversations, and creative ideas, we can build on the success of the past while being mindful of the future. We look forward to working with the Mayor and her team in continuing to champion projects and investments that improve every resident’s quality of life and safety.”
Walkable Albany President Andrew Neidhardt said, “I heartily applaud Mayor Sheehan’s investment in Lark Street and Washington Park. Lark Street is the beating heart of one of our city’s most walkable neighborhoods and this investment will make it safer for people of all ages and abilities to shop, work, and enjoy some of the best that Albany has to offer. Washington Park is the crown jewel of our city’s park system and we are thankful the Mayor has heeded our call to make it safer for everyone. We look forward to working with the city and our neighbors to create a plan to calm traffic and improve safety.”
Washington Park Conservancy Board President Daniel McEneny said, “We want to offer our deepest gratitude to the city and Mayor Sheehan for advancing the traffic study of Washington Park. The park is a heritage tourism destination unmatched in the Capital Region. On any given day, the park is teeming with are city residents, tourists, and workers from surrounding businesses and institutions, all enjoying the park’s physical and mental benefits. It is imperative that a traffic study is undertaken that will enhance public safety and complement the landscape of one of our city’s finest natural and historic resources.”
Washington Park Neighborhood Association President Shadi Khadivi said, “We support opportunities to improve accessibility and walkability in our immediate neighborhood.”