Often I would address these in separate posts, but there has been quite a bit going on this last week. So I thought I'd do it all in one. In addition to these news clippings, I'd like to report that the next post will be back to having fun pictures. You'll have to bear with a text-only one this time, though. :(
Let's get to it:
1. Last week, lawmakers in Albany passed a bill to increase fines on those who neglect to shovel their sidewalks in the winter.
Good. Screw those people.
In all seriousness, it's a huge problem in this city. When you see people in wheelchairs rolling down the middle of the street because some lazy homeowner can't shovel their walk, it becomes simply embarrassing. Even right next door to my apartment, the walk is left all winter long. As I've said in an earlier post, those properties that don't shovel their walks will be featured on this blog. I'll even wait for the 24 hour grace period to expire before I snap the photos. Then I'll make sure to send the links to the Albany Police Department. I think a fun winter is in order!
The response on the post from the Albany section of the Times Union Blogs site has been mixed, but, of course, heavily bent against pedestrians. Albany, we're never going to make any progress here if attitudes like this don't change. It's a perfectly nice city with perfectly wonderful people, but this pro-car, anti-everything else bias that we have is disturbing.
Bill sponsor Leah Golby from Pine Hills had a great quote when asked if this was an anti-homeowner arrangement: "It snows. It needs to be shoveled. Being a homeowner, owning property, is a responsibility."
You can read the full article here.
2. Madison Avenue Sidewalk Replacement:
This probably isn't the biggest deal to most, but believe me, in Albany, getting a new stretch of sidewalk is significant. Madison Avenue between Lake Avenue and Robin Street. Another project is taking place on North Main Street near Central Avenue. I sincerely hope they keep this up. And if these new sidewalks aren't shoveled and I notice, you'll fin(e)d pictures of the properties here. :)
3. Increased bus frequency on Route 5:
This is prior to the full roll-out of the CDTA Route Restructuring. An email update I got from CDTA last week listed service improvements for Route 5 and Wolf Road. The email claims increased frequency throughout the corridor as well as an elimination of the door-to-door service of the Flex Service down Wolf Road. I'm sure there are some people unhappy about that last part, but it's a bus, not a taxi. And we're lucky we're even able to provide service to such horribly built places like Wolf Road.
Click here for the full set of information.
4. The city is considering a proposal that will create a bond system for vacant properties. Owners of vacant property will have to post a $10,000 bond, as well as file a plan with the city stating whether the building will be demolished, left vacant or restored. If the city needs to then demolish the building, the bond is forfeited.
This ties in with the neighborhood improvements I mentioned in a previous post about the totem pole on Jefferson Avenue. We passed a building that was being restored. Before this, it certainly looked vacant. I can imagine that many homeowners would be more likely to do something with their vacant property if it means paying the city $10,000 otherwise.
Wouldn't this be even better if some of that money was used to help out homeowners who would love to fix up their properties, but cannot afford to? Just a thought, Albany.
My thoughts on loaning aside, you can find a much better analysis here at the Time Union's On the Edge blog, basically the opinion section of the TU Blogs site.