Skyway Feasibility Study Findings and Final Recommended Design Presentation

August 7, 2018

Capitalize Albany Corporation is hosting its third and final event as part of a series that has engaged and informed the public regarding the Skyway’s design and engineering. On Thursday, August 9 at the Palace Theatre from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. the engineering, design and economic analyst team will discuss the findings of the Skyway feasibility study and present the final recommended concept based on the community’s input.

The completed feasibility study has readied the project to move forward with detailed construction-ready drawings to begin implementation of individual components of the park. With Governor Cuomo’s previous announcement of $3.1 million of DOT-funding, the project is able to move forward immediately by decommissioning the ramp and supporting all of the baseline requirements to convert the underutilized infrastructure and open the park. The City of Albany is seeking additional external funds to enhance the park with amenities that will maximize the usage and impact of this new, transformational asset.

Please RSVP

The Skyway is a project that will ultimately result in the conversion of the underutilized I-787 northbound exit ramp from Quay Street to Clinton Avenue — into the Capital Region’s first and only elevated linear park. The feasibility study, funded in part by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Capitalize Albany Corporation, has been developed with the support and feedback from hundreds of local community members who participated in an online survey and multiple public meetings throughout the Skyway design process. The event on August 9 will feature an overview of the Skyway’s feasibility and traffic impact along with a presentation of the Skyway’s proposed design, programming and economic impact. 

This project has mobilized local stakeholders, residents and members of the community, creating strong consensus at events held as part of the project’s public engagement series, in May at the Palace Theatre and in March at the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center. The public online survey was made available on the Corporation’s website, shared through social media and local media outlets. It gathered feedback from nearly 500 participants.

In coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation, on April 12 and May 2 the northbound exit ramp was temporarily closed while the design and engineering team conducted site and structural assessments on the future site of the Skyway. On the closure conducted May 2 City department leaders and Mayor Kathy Sheehan participated in the site visit. The on-site assessments provided critical information regarding design elements and potential programming along the Skyway. An important goal as part of the site visit was to better understand and experience how the ramp would function as a linear park, and how initial community feedback could be addressed and incorporated into its design. Please see photos here:

The property is owned by the New York State Department of Transportation. NYSDOT is working collaboratively with Capitalize Albany towards the project’s success.

The Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan identified that the current exit ramp is underutilized, redundant to other exits, and could offer more to the City, and Region. The Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan, the City’s comprehensive plan, Albany’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative application, the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and waterfront master plan show demand for, and an economic need to increase connections from downtown to the waterfront.

The completed conversion of the exit ramp will support transforming the underutilized infrastructure into a landscaped multi-use connection, from downtown Albany and surrounding neighborhoods including Arbor Hill and Sheridan Hollow, to the Corning Riverfront Park. Upon conversion — the former ramp would serve as a fully ADA compliant promenade, bike route and linear park making valuable connections to the Hudson River — dramatically increasing accessibility to both downtown and the waterfront. In addition to serving as a waterfront connection, the Skyway would be an amenity for Albany’s downtown neighborhoods, creating an experience for its users and becoming a regional destination.

The project’s sustainability impact will be an additional benefit. Once completed, the project would function much like a green roof, absorbing, filtering and diverting storm runoff that would otherwise enter the City’s combined sewers and eventually the Hudson.