A truck speeds along Albany Shaker Road at the Shaker El intersection (Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
ALBANY — The county Legislature voted on Monday, June 10 to accept a $125,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation to install a traffic light at the intersection of Albany Shaker Road and Shaker El.
The intersection has long been a concern for parents and school officials who cite difficulties getting in and out of Shaker Elementary School during the morning and afternoons when buses and parents are dropping off and picking up students.
In addition to the stop light, a striped crosswalk, ADA compliant ramps and pedestrian signal heads and push buttons will get installed.
“Traffic and pedestrian safety is always a priority for us in Albany County and this particular intersection was a cause for concern for years due to the amount of traffic at the elementary school,” said Andrew Joyce, chair of the Legislature.
The project is the direct result of a 2015 study to evaluate traffic along the Albany Shaker Road corridor. While the intersection has been an issue for years, during that time, more than 1,000 parents and residents signed a petition asking something be done and that petition was handed to state officials with the grant application.
“Since 2013, there has been one fatality and 15 significant injuries on Shaker Road,” said Legislator Joseph O’Brien, D-Colonie. “The Albany Shaker Road Traffic Study in 2015 recommended a number of safety upgrades which would be phased in over time. This project was among those upgrades and I am glad to see that it’s going to come to fruition just in time for the school year this fall.”
Shaker El is a dead end street along a busy stretch of county-owned Shaker Road with a church on the corner. It has been a major thoroughfare since Colonie was mostly farmland and it was used to transport crops to the more populated City of Albany. Today, it sees some 16,000 vehicles a day with an estimated 40 percent using it as a cut through to avoid congestion on the Northway and I-90.
“The County has really stepped up to the plate in providing safety for our children,” said Legislator Paul Burgdorf, R-Colonie. “The traffic signal and pedestrian crossings at Shaker Road and Shaker El will provide long awaited safety and traffic mitigation to thousands of residents of the highly traveled Shaker corridor.”
The light should be operational by September, in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year.