Albany’s long-awaited Skyway Park opens on old freeway off-ramp

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Since the end of last week, New York’the capital has a new raised park that reuses an underused stretch of highway Infrastructure while providing pedestrians and cyclists with a unique new way to access the waterfront of the Hudson River.

Though it may not seem to reach the idyllic urban heights of New York’s most famous elevated park (although it does possess the same development-boosting qualities), Albany’s aptly named Skyway Park is a solid example of a 21st century infrastructure redesign that puts people, not cars, first. Located just north of the city’s downtown, the half-mile-long park (plus a park-like pedestrian bridge, actually) is located at the top of the Clinton Avenue off-ramp northbound off the rarely used Interstate 787, which connects Quay Street near town. riparian corning preserve with Broadway and Clinton Avenue near Quackenbush Square.

The exit ramp was permanently closed last Apriland the park was originally scheduled to open in late 2021.

Inaugurated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 29 by the Governor of New York Kathy Hochul, the highly anticipated elevated park provides a direct pedestrian link to Corning Riverside Park – a popular green space wedged between the Hudson River and I-787 – from downtown and nearby neighborhoods including Arbor Hill, Sheridan Hollow, Clinton Square and the warehouse district. In a statement, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan called the area of ​​the city that will directly benefit from the new park and riverfront access as “one of the most underserved census tracts in our region”.

Functioning as both a pedestrian bridge and an elevated park, Albany’s new public space has things to do. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul/Flickr)

The $13 million pedestrian bridge, connecting the neighborhood, also connects downtown and surrounding areas to a stretch of the Mohawk Hudson Hike Bikeway, part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. Completed in 2020, the trail is the longest state multi-use trail in the country.

Described as an “urban oasis,” the fully accessible, ADA-compliant Skyway Park features pedestrian lighting, amphitheater-style seating, and landscaped spaces designed around its main pedestrian and bike path. A generous shade structure also sits at the Broadway entrance to the multipurpose park. A myriad of traffic improvements, including new crosswalks, high-visibility traffic signs and push-button beacons, have also been completed on Quay Street at the north and south ends of the Corning Riverfront car park, as part of the park project.

Announcing Skyway Park as a “game changer for the city,” Hochul called Albany’s new park “the perfect example of a transformative infrastructure project that promotes equity and connectivity.”

“Infrastructure can be more than just building roads and bridges – like the Skyway, it can be about improving quality of life and righting past wrongs,” the governor continued. “With this ribbon cutting, we are reuniting divided communities, revitalizing Albany’s beautiful waterfront, and recommitting to a transformative vision that is a gateway to the future of infrastructure in New York City.”

a governor speaks to a crowd in an elevated park
New York Governor Kathy Hochul at the inauguration on April 29. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul/Flickr)

Skyway Park is a project of the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), which has worked closely with the City of Albany. The city will maintain the park, which also hopes to give a huge boost to local tourism as well as economic development.

During the April 29 groundbreaking festivities at Skyway Park, Hochul also announced a June public process start date for the DOT. Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge Replacement Project. Providing a “critical link” for passenger rail service between the Northeast Corridor and Albany-Rensselaer, the $400 million project will see the existing Civil War-era bridge spanning the Hudson River replaced with this which the governor’s office called a “new, modern structure capable of supporting high-speed passenger rail, freight rail, marine, and bicycle-pedestrian access.”

“Sometimes we have to fix past mistakes with infrastructure,” Hochul said in reference to Skyway Park. “We’re doing it in Buffalo, we’ve done it in Rochester, Syracuse and the Bronx. And right here we have this opportunity, which is extraordinary.

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