If one group in Albany gets its way, Interstate 787 will be replaced by waterfront parks and projects.
The Albany Riverfront Collaborative is leading a push to replace the waterside highway with a boulevard, according to the Times Union. ARC’s plan involves a remade roadway and the opening of 92 acres for green space and development.
The highway has been a controversial part of the city since it was built in the early 1970s. Its existence largely prevents the city from taking advantage of the waterfront.
ARC has a plan to change that. The group proposes narrowing the highway to a boulevard south of the Patroon Island Bridge. The road would have lower speed limits, crosswalks and stop lights.
Additionally, the elevated South Mall Arterial would be replaced by a ground-level roadway and the Dunn Memorial Bridge would be rebuilt into a simpler version of itself.
The changes to roadways and transportation in the city would be significant, but for the real estate industry, the most important aspect of the plan is the development potential it would create in Albany.
ARC’s plan would allow for 6.1 million square feet of residential and commercial development, the Times Union reported. A fiscal impact analysis from MRB Group estimated it would create 3,100 construction jobs and generate more than $300 million in sales and property tax revenue over two decades.
According to ARC’s website, it would also result in the planting of 6,500 trees and the removal of 73,500 tons of concrete through scrapping the South Mall Arterial connector.
It’s not clear what the timeline on such a project would be, but the collaborative appears to have the backing of a handful of local officials and business leaders. Patricia Fahy, Assembly member for the 109th District, is among the list of “contributors” on the group’s website.
The Times Union reported that a press conference with elected officials is planned for next week.
[Times Union] — Holden Walter-Warner