Safe routes panel to advise Niskayuna planning board on developments

Beginning this month, the Niskayuna Safe Routes Committee will become an advisory committee to the Planning Board and Zoning Commission regarding new development projects.

The Safe Routes Committee was established to come up with a whole map of the town that would promote the hiking, biking and safe routes throughout town, and they have since accomplished that, said Landry in a statement dated Sunday, March 1. "We have a whole map from them about how you can get around town."

Now, the members of the committee will be asked to review plans for new developments and projects that are submitted to the town, and provide comments to the Planning Board consistent with their original mission, which is to dedicate routes for non-zoned traffic to connect the town residents with one another, schools, recreation, work and shopping.

"We just think this is a good opportunity to use the expertise of these individuals," said Landry.

According to Kathy Matern, planner for the Town of Niskayuna, the Planning Board and Zoning Commission meet twice a month and anyone who wants to do any development or project in town has to apply to the planning board if it's a major or minor subdivision. She said that they have other advisory councils in place already for reviewing certain plans.

"They have the Conservation Advisory Council and the Tree Council " the plans come in and they then immediately get distributed to these other committees that would review them for their purposes," said Matern. "The Tree Council reviews them from the trees [standpoint] to see if we can preserve trees, and the Safe Routes Committee would review them from the non-motorized aspect: Are they promoting pedestrian walking traffic, are they putting in enough sidewalks, etc.?" said Matern.

Matern said that the Planning Board has already been doing this for years " making sure that plans promote pedestrian walking traffic, have enough sidewalks, etc., and that it has been a goal of the Planning Board's for many years, but that "it will be nice to have the Safe Routes people look at [new plans]."

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