Pedestrians and Bikers Tell Engineers What 'Complete Streets' Mean to Them

The city of Albany is working to make streets safer for pedestrians and drivers. Monday night they heard from the community on the Complete Streets policy. It was prompted by several deadly incidents involving pedestrians. Katie Eastman reports.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- In the first public hearing since the Complete Streets Ordinance was passed two years ago by Albany Common Council, people had the chance to say what their vision of the ordinance entails. 

"I'm going to jot down some of these ideas," said Jackie Hakes, the director of planning for M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying. 

M.J. is the contractor picked by the city to implement Complete Streets. In the simplest terms, the ordinance means making Albany more accessible to non-motorized vehicles. 

"We hope to learn more tonight from you," said Hakes to the pedestrians, bikers, and commuters at Monday night's meeting on Central Avenue. 

The engineering company held the meeting to find out what the public wanted before they drafted up a design manual. Their team has already surveyed the city in cars and by foot to see what's working and what needs work. 

Thomas Rocco was one of the bikers who came to voice concern. He was hit by a driver who made an illegal u-turn on Madison Avenue two years ago. He tore ligaments in his hip and back. 

"Because there was no bike lanes and there's no area designated for cyclists I thought I should come down here and advocate for cyclists," Rocco said. 

In addition to bike lanes, he believes all drivers should be educated on bike etiquette as part of receiving their license. 

"I'm lucky that I didn't get killed," he said. 

The engineering company will take all of these suggestions and include many of them in their draft of the design as part of the city's 2030 plan. A second public meeting will be scheduled to reveal the designs they chose.

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