Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA)

NY: Schumer Joins CDTA to Announce 40 Miles of BRT

The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) was joined by Senator Charles Schumer today to detail the development of its “40 miles of BRT” route network. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is one of the fastest-growing service categories in the country, and locally provides a transportation alternative that improves connections to jobs and stimulates the Capital Region’s economy.

“The bus rapid transit line expansion plans unveiled by CDTA are absolutely transformative for the Capital Region, as BusPlus will reduce traffic congestion, spur new economic growth, and save time for commuters.  The Washington and Western Avenue line in particular is the kind of project that will have long-term economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits for students and residents all over the Capital Region; I am in it for the long haul to find capital sources to fund the expansion,” said Senator Schumer. “I worked hard to bring federal support to the successful Route 5 bus rapid transit line, because forging a faster Albany-to-Schenectady bus connection was a win-win for both cities, and created jobs when we needed them the most.  Now my sights are set on connecting UAlbany and CNSE with downtown Albany and the Crossgates Mall, to link up businesses with their customers and spur business development all along the proposed line.”

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.

“Thanks to Senator Schumer and our network of government, transportation, community and business partners, we were able to introduce the first bus rapid transit line in upstate New York,” said CDTA Chairman David Stackrow. “Its success has been felt at many different levels. In addition to providing greater accessibility for our community, it has made a tremendous impact in the area of economic development, and we are excited about the possibilities of what a BRT network can do for the region.”

BusPlus is a premium, limited-stop service that combines a quicker ride with enhanced customer amenities, such as large stations, real-time information, transit signal priority and security features. BusPlus reduces traffic congestion and saves energy, ultimately improving air quality. BusPlus has increased ridership on Route 5 to more than 4 million boardings and helped the region take notice of the economic benefits and innovative nature of CDTA’s robust transit system.

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.

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 percent of the total project cost of just over $25 million.

The Capital District Transportation Authority will hold an open house on Nov. 12, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Milne Hall Room at the University at Albany – Downtown Campus at 135 Western Ave., Albany, to seek public input on the proposed BRT line traveling the Washington-Western corridor.

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.