New Elevated Park Scheduled to Open by End of 2021 Will Connect Albany Neighborhoods to the Hudson River Waterfront
Project Will Convert Clinton Avenue Ramp off I-787 into a Landscaped, Multi-Use Pathway for Pedestrians and Cyclists
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction on the Albany Skyway, a new elevated park in the state's capital, will begin this month. The project will transform an underutilized Clinton Avenue ramp off northbound Interstate 787 and Quay Street in Albany into an elevated, linear park and is scheduled to open by the end of 2021. When completed, the Albany Skyway will expand recreational and retail opportunities in the City of Albany and provide a new, safe way for pedestrians and cyclists to reach the Corning Riverfront Park and the Mohawk Hudson Hike Bike Trail - which is part of the Empire State Trail - along the Hudson River waterfront. The New York State Department of Transportation will oversee construction of the park.
"The Albany Skyway project will open the door for residents and visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Hudson River waterfront and provide a gateway to explore all that the City of Albany has to offer - from historical landmarks to recreational opportunities," Governor Cuomo said. "This exciting and transformational project will foster ample opportunity for local economic development and provide residents and visitors with another reason to enjoy New York's capital city and region."
The $13 million Albany Skyway project will close the underused Clinton Avenue ramp, which travels underneath Interstate 787 and links Quay Street near the Corning Preserve and northbound Interstate 787 to Broadway and Clinton Avenue at Quackenbush Square. The ramp will be repurposed as a landscaped multi-use park for pedestrians and bicyclists. It will provide safe, non-motorized access from downtown Albany and neighborhoods, such as Arbor Hill, Sheridan Hollow and the Warehouse District, to the Hudson River and the city's Corning Riverfront Park, while enabling visitors to the waterfront to safely access downtown Albany. The approximately half-mile-long Skyway will be fully accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
When completed, the Albany Skyway will build on the success of Governor Cuomo's landmark Empire State Trail, which is the nation's longest multi-use state trail. Completed in December 2020, the trail spans 750-miles and runs from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain Valleys to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal. It provides a safe and scenic pathway for New Yorkers and tourists to experience New York State's varied landscapes.
New York Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "There is an intricate link between tourism, economic development and transportation, and no greater champion of this dynamic than Governor Cuomo. The Department of Transportation is committed to providing sustainable and accessible transportation projects that connect communities and help grow our economy and we look forward to delivering this transformational project, which repurposes a portion of infrastructure in a way that strengthens the natural bonds that tie the Capital Region to the Hudson River and provides access for residents and visitors alike to enjoy the waterfront's scenic grandeur."
Senator Neil Breslin said, "I am pleased to see that the long awaited Skyway project is going to begin construction this month. This project will convert an underused highway ramp into an impressive park that allows new access to the Hudson River waterfront."
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, "I am excited to see the start of construction on the Albany Skyway this month. This has been a community driven priority for some time and reflects the continued growth in the city as well as the demand for greater recreational and healthy alternatives for the public to enjoy. I am glad state resources are able to assist in making this project a reality and I look forward to it's opening."
Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, "The Albany Skyway will help revitalize downtown Albany while reconnecting it with the Hudson River waterfront. The Skyway will become the Capital Region's first of its kind-elevated, linear park and will connect to the new Empire State Trail. It also illustrates a new wave of transformative investments in the economic and regional potential of historic downtown Albany. As we look towards reimagining parts of I-787 to reclaim the riverfront, the Skyway will help reinvigorate our local economy and adjacent neighborhoods in Albany in a post-COVID world. Thank you to Mayor Sheehan, the Albany Common Council, and the Governor for their work in bringing this project to fruition."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "The Albany Skyway will provide one of the most historically underserved census tracts in our region with a revitalized park, new economic opportunities, and a welcoming gateway between the Hudson River waterfront, Clinton Square, Arbor Hill, and Sheridan Hollow. Thank you to everyone who helped champion this project thus far, including Governor Cuomo, NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Dominguez, NYS Senate Vice President Pro Tempore Breslin, Assemblymember Fahy, Assemblymember McDonald, and Councilmember Love - helping to ensure that one of the most transformational projects in our city in decades will become a reality."
About the Empire State Trail
Introduced in the Governor's 2017 State of the State address, the Empire State Trail is open year-round and spans 750-miles total, 75 percent of which is off-road trails ideal for cyclists, hikers, runners, cross-country skiers and snow-shoers. It connects 20 regional trails to create a continuous statewide signed route. As part of the 58 distinct projects to complete the Trail on time, more than 180 miles of new off-road trail was created and 400 miles of previously disconnected, off-road trails were linked to eliminate gaps and ease engineering challenges such as railroad and water crossings in high traffic areas. The Trail is expected to draw 8.6 million residents and tourists annually. The New York State Department of Transportation improved 170 miles of on-road bicycle route sections to enhance safety and travel on low-speed rural roadways and city streets when possible. New York State also installed 45 gateways and trailheads along the route to welcome visitors and branded the trail with signage, interpretive panels, bike racks, and benches.