Nov. 14—SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced the completion of a $5.7 million project that added a new sidewalk and bike lanes to Union Avenue, well-ahead of the project's projected completion date.
According to a press release from the governor's office, the sidewalks and bike lanes will enhance safety and improve bicyclist and pedestrian access to the historic Saratoga Race Course and the city's vibrant downtown business district.
The project, which also included the resurfacing of Union Avenue, was planned and constructed to fulfill the goals of the New York State Department of Transportation's "Complete Streets" initiative to consider safe, convenient access and mobility for roadway users of all ages and abilities.
"The City of Saratoga Springs is one of Upstate New York's must-see destinations and with these improvements we have made it easier for residents and visitors alike to explore its many charms without having to drive," Hochul said in the release. "By expanding access for bicyclists and pedestrians across New York State, we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also promoting healthier modes of travel and increased recreational opportunities and tourism, which benefits all of us."
Union Avenue, also known as State Route 9P, connects to the Adirondack Northway ( I-87) at Exit 14, forming one of the key entryways to Saratoga Springs and the historic horse racing track that draws more than 1 million visitors annually. The road's link to Saratoga's horse racing history is well established.
In 2022, Hochul designated Union Avenue as " Marylou Whitney Way," after the late philanthropist and staple of the Saratoga community.
"We are thrilled to have implemented new bike lanes and sidewalks on Union Avenue," Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim said in the release. "This upgrade enhances the accessibility from our wonderful downtown area to NYRA and back. I'm proud of the Complete Streets initiative and look forward to continuing to make Saratoga Springs a safer, more convenient City for everyone."
As part of the project, The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) installed a new sidewalk compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act on the north side of Union Avenue to connect Polk Avenue and the New York Racing Association Gate 16 with East Avenue. Five-foot-wide bike lanes were painted in both directions between East Avenue and Henning Road.
" Governor Hochul understands that 21st century transportation networks must strengthen and connect communities while also improving access for all users of the system, whether they walk, ride or drive," New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said in the release. "This Complete Streets project in Saratoga will make it easier to visit the historic Race Course and other attractions in this beautiful city without having to drive, which means fewer cars on the road, lower vehicle emissions and cleaner air."
An approximately three-mile stretch of Union Avenue between East Avenue and the bridge over Saratoga Lake was also resurfaced and new drainage structures added between East Avenue and Henning Road to improve stormwater runoff. Construction began in April of 2023 and was halted during the summer racing season to minimize traffic disruptions.
Work was finished well ahead of the scheduled completion date of the spring of 2024 thanks to expedited work by NYSDOT personnel and contractors.
"The completion of new bike lanes and sidewalks along historic Union Avenue in beautiful Saratoga Springs will be a welcome benefit for residents and visitors to the Spa City and help improve safe access to the Saratoga Race Course and downtown," State Sen. Jim Tedisco said in the release. "I want to thank Governor Hochul and the NYSDOT for their support for this important infrastructure initiative in the 44th Senate District."
Complete Streets projects consider the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, motorists, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Complete Street designs contribute to a cleaner and more environmentally friendly transportation system. In December, Governor Hochul signed legislation to provide additional support for municipal "Complete Streets" projects across the state.
" Saratoga County is happy to announce along with Governor Hochul the completion of new bike lanes and improved pedestrian access along historic Union Ave" Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Theodore T. Kusnierz Jr. said in the release. "This project provides safe new transportation opportunities in Saratoga Springs for residents and visitors alike.
"We are thankful to New York State DOT for their steadfast work in completing this project ahead of schedule."
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