Albany, NY

Opinion: Interstate 787

Carol Durant

Interstate 787 is a traffic arterial that traverses northbound and southbound in Albany, New York. The age of this highway is over fifty years old. It affords travelers to view the skyline of the capital of the Empire State at various speeds on the way to their destination. The newest idea from local government is to dismantle the entire skyway which currently obscures the Hudson River, so we can use the waterfront.

I've been to New York City and was a former resident. Manhattan and the other four boroughs compose that international city with millions of inhabitants. I have enjoyed many concerts, museums and sites including the Highline and Chelsea Piers; but adapting these cool projects to Albany gives me a large pause. The downstate cities and towns on the Hudson: Beacon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Kingston, Hudson, Catskill and Athens are thriving, due to natural landscape, reclamation projects and in some cases higher population density and socio-economic demographics. Buffalo and Rochester definitely benefit from population density, various long term construction projects and natural wonders including Niagara Falls and the Finger Lakes. While smaller cities along the Erie Canal and Mohawk River, such as Cohoes, Amsterdam, Utica and Rome are experiencing infrastructure revitalization with new roads, bike trails, SUNY Poly and an increase in population due to immigration relocation, they all are still a long way from success.

While I appreciate the grandeur of a boulevard lined interstate with traffic lights, trees and a park for all citizens to use, I have a couple of questions. According to the latest census does Albany have over one hundred thousand tax paying citizens to use this proposed wonderful park on a regular basis? Over six million dollars of federal, state and sales of brick pavers was used for the Walkway over 787 to get to the waterfront. Is the pedestrian traffic now so robust that it warrants immediate access to the waterfront? It seems that everyone who would like to patronize businesses such as the Dutch Apple cruise line, hikers, bikers, kayakers, boaters and tourists on the USS Slater are doing so. The Central Warehouse building is not on the waterfront, but it is an enormous unattended eyesore with needs that could be addressed with these federal dollars and ownership by the City of Albany. Will there be a waterfront grocery store?
Interstate 787Carol Durant

Pandemic aside, downtown Albany closes at 4:45pm during the week. Most of the downtown bars and restaurants that are still open have been hanging on by a thread and thankfully have long standing customers and supporters. New businesses have a niche and built a following to keep their lights on and products being sold. Unless there are weekend shows and concerts at the newly named MVP Arena, Palace Theatre, Capital Repertory Theater or Empire Live to create foot traffic, downtown Albany sidewalks are mostly bare and the minimal patronage gasping for air. Who in the citizenry are going to be consistently patronizing this new park? How is the new 787 park project going to impact the South End of Albany? Does the city of Rensselaer have input on this project? Any feedback from Rensselaer County? When was the naming of Steamboat Square? Is this called highway gentrification? If you have questions, let your politicians know how you feel, check the link below for additional information.

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Writer, author, poet, playwright

Albany, NY

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Albany, NY

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