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The 2018 Albany County budget is $678.6 million. The Town of Colonie is proposing a $96.6 million budget for 2019. The South Colonie School District’s 2018-19 budget is $111.1 million.
There is not enough space on this page — or in this paper — to scrutinize how each penny is spent. But, we are confident in saying there is some discretionary money in that pot of some $886-plus million somewhere.
Parents at Shaker Elementary School have long asked for some common sense safety measures at the intersection to what is basically a driveway into the school and the heavily trafficked Albany Shaker Road.
To read a story on the issue click here.
How much money it will take depends on the fix.
A county worker did go out and re-paint the lone crosswalk. Without knowing the specifics, we are guessing that cost a few hundred bucks.
You get what you pay for.
A crosswalk is better than nothing, but there is no signage or lights or even crossing guard to slow the traffic down should children at the school want to cross the street and maybe walk on the sidewalk. To a driver going 40 mph some paint on the road is just that, some paint on the road.
By the way, there isn’t a sidewalk on the Shaker El side of Albany Shaker so any kid who walks to or from school has to walk on the shoulder or cross the busy thoroughfare.
Neither is particularly safe for the student, nor is it acceptable to the parents and should not be acceptable to the entities that can do something about it.
At the other end of the spectrum is a series of lights that work in synch. For example, there would be a stop light directing traffic and crossing lights telling pedestrians when it’s safe to cross.
That option, according to a recently released fancy traffic study on the Albany Shaker Road corridor, would cost $300,000.
Now is probably a good time to say the study — that also came to the groundbreaking conclusion a left-hand turning lane into The Crossings is a swell idea — cost $80,000 and has taken 14 months so far.
A monumental waste of time and money rivaled only by the two-year and counting upgrade to the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
The cost of that study is almost a third of what it would cost to make a school full of elementary age children safer.
But, that money is spent.
Now, the town is saying it is working with the county, which owns the road. The county says it is working with the town, which would be in charge of assigning a crossing guard and have a say in setting the speed limit.
The school district is at the town and county’s mercy but could chip in some money like it does with the School Resource Officers, whose salary is split between the town and district.
Everyone says it comes down to funding. If the town, county and school district all chipped in it would hardly make a ripple. Toss some state aid in for good measure and the ripple would be even smaller.
The parents at Shaker Elementary are so frustrated and scared, though, they started an online petition to maybe light a fire under one of the entities above before something tragic happens.
The request is not without a degree of common sense too. Use the light only for an hour or two in the morning when buses and parents are dropping kids off and again for an hour or two when school lets out.
For the rest of the day and night, have the light blink yellow.
The powers that be can claim it’s not that simple. But, actually, it is.
Maybe, those same powers that be can commission yet another study, and by the time a first grader at Shaker Elementary School graduates from Colonie High, goes onto college, starts a career and has children, someone will find a lousy $300,000 to make that first grader safer.