Albany, N.Y.-based Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) was joined by Senator Charles Schumer to detail the development of its “40 miles of BRT” route network on Monday.
BusPlus, CDTA’s version of bus rapid transit service was introduced to upstate New York on Route 5 in April 2011, connecting Albany, Colonie, Niskayuna and Schenectady. The award-winning project has resulted in 20% ridership gains and prompted CDTA to pursue BRT routes on two of the region’s busiest transit corridors: Washington-Western Avenues and on Routes 4 and 32 along the Hudson River.
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Senator Schumer was instrumental in CDTA being awarded the Section 5309 Alternatives Analysis grant in the amount of $500,000 ($400,000 federal) to advance planning for the Washington Avenue-Western Avenue BRT project, which was endorsed by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) in 2011. CDTA is finalizing the Alternatives Analysis process of the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program. Senator Schumer’s support allowed CDTA to obtain over $18 million in federal funds to implement the Route 5 BRT line. All told, the Senator’s commitments funded over 70% of the total project cost of just over $25 million.
The eight-mile Washington-Western Avenue corridor travels primarily through the city of Albany and encompasses the region’s largest shopping center (Crossgates Mall), multiple campuses of the University at Albany, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the Harriman State Office Campus, the College of Saint Rose and Albany High School. The service will operate through urban neighborhoods and business districts, providing a direction connection to Downtown Albany. Washington-Western Avenue, the second-most traveled corridor, features six routes that generate annual ridership of approximately 3.4 million people.
The other proposed BRT line will cover the 15-mile corridor that connects Albany, Menands, Watervliet Troy, Cohoes and Waterford. The River Corridor has a large, growing employment base and connects to a host of CDTA services, including the other BusPlus lines. The proposed locations account for more than 2 million annual boardings, making it the third-busiest transit corridor in the Capital Region. BusPlus will reduce traffic congestion along Route 32 and stimulate economic development while reducing parking demand in the cities of Albany and Troy.