Revitalizing Lark Street ... Again?
The bad news is, I'm too busy working with my clients to create new content for this blog. The good news is, I have copies of a bunch of posts I created for a community blog that were lost from that site through a technology glitch. Here's an example from November, 2019.
Update - In September of 2020, Mayor Sheehan announced a $1.3 million investment to revitalize the Lark Street Streetscape, based on the findings of the Lark Street Improvement Study, and as of spring 2022, we have a lot of spraypaint on the sidewalks ... plus dirtbikes and ATVs. Three of the 4 corner buildings remain vacant or underutilized (The Larson at Madison, former KeyBank at Washington and former Subway at Washington.)
The stretch of Lark Street between Washington and Madison Avenue could be in for a bit of a makeover – eventually.
Liz King, a landscape designer with Bergmann Associates, recently provided an update on the Lark Street Improvement Study for dozens of business and property owners and Lark Street area residents at a public open house at Hackett Middle School.
The study, launched in May, should wrap up in December with a series of recommendations to (according to the consultant’s PowerPoint):
After meeting with stakeholders along the corridor, the project team analyzed existing conditions of the streetscape, zoning, parking availability and usage, and crime and accident (car vs. pedestrian or cyclist) statistics. Preliminary recommendations to support the goals above include:
Net loss of parking from all these recommendations is 20 spaces – or 1% of some 2,000 spaces in the Lark Street catchment area. The study recommends tactics to improve the use of existing parking options, including better signage and access to the Albany County lot between Washington Avenue and Spring Street.
The study also provides a vision board for street amenities to give a coherent look and feel to the 8-block corridor. These range from bollards to delineate pedestrian space, structures like benches and bike racks – everything from trash cans to street trees.
Further, a proposed street lighting scheme would mark the gateways of the corridor at Washington and Madison Avenues with illuminated sculptures and bring back the much-missed strands of white lights across Lark Street at strategic intersections.
Of course, these are just recommendations unless or until funds are allocated to put the plans into place. But as Mayor Sheehan said in her welcoming remarks, “You don’t get funding to make changes unless you have a plan. And I think we’ve been able to demonstrate time and time again that when we have good ideas and get community input and collaboration, we’re able to attract funding.”
The Lark Street Improvement Study is supported by the Lark Street Business Improvement District, the Albany Parking Authority, and a grant recommended by the Capital Region Economic Development Council. Visit https://larkstreetbid.org/lark-street-improvement-study/ for more information or to offer feedback.
Colleen M. Ryan is an