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Park of the future meets reality

Colonie changes speed limit on River Road in anticipation of passive park

— Plans are still in the works for the Mohawk Landing Park on River Road, but Colonie is scaling back the ambitious goals in favor of a cheaper, passive park.

The 12.3-acre park, which would have walking trails, connectivity to bike paths, kiosks, bathrooms and a small picnic area, is situated on the windy turns of River Road. The road, which travels along the Mohawk River through Niskayuna and Colonie, has 30 and 40 mph speed limits along its path. In the Niskayuna part of the road, the speed is 30 mph, while Colonie has a limit of 40 mph until Forts Ferry. At the most recent Town Board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 8, board members passed a resolution to change the entire road’s speed limit to 30 mph for consistency and safety.

“When the park opens it’ll be better to have a lower rate of speed because there would be possibly be increased pedestrian traffic,” said Town of Colonie spokeswoman Sara Wiest.

Wiest said the town was also receiving complaints from residents that traffic was going too fast in that area.

“That action was reviewed by the town’s Highway Safety Committee and they agreed it would be fine,” she said.

Initial ideas for the park were first pitched in 2009. Originally, the proposal was for an energy-efficient park, complete with solar panels, tennis and basketball courts and a pavilion. However, due to lack of funding, the park will now stand as a simpler “passive park.” Wiest said members of the public also said they’d prefer a passive park to sports fields.

The park would sit at the site of the Latham Water Treatment Plan, which was demolished by the Industrial Development Agency in July. Now, with less work to be done compared to the original plans, town crews already completed site preparations, including removing shrubbery that will be replaced with new plantings, Wiest said.

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