Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CDTA Route Restructuring: One Week In

On November 13th, the Albany County CDTA bus routes went through the most dramatic revisions in their entire history.  One week later, they seem to be working out pretty well.  I haven't seen anyone freaking out about everything and I've heard some pretty positive comments on the buses themselves.

This one...uh not quite.  At least making fun of the CDTA website is a guaranteed good time.
The discontinued #4, my dearest friend in Lark Street transit for years.
My morning commute hasn't altered significantly.  I used to be able to take the 4 at 7:40 and the 63 at 7:57, both across the street.  If I want to take the Madison Avenue routes now, I take the 114 (with coffee on the way) at Madison and Lark at 7:35 or 8:05 or the 63, still, at 7:57.  The 10 now runs every 10 minutes at Washington and Lark between 6:00 and 9:00 am.  And the company shuttle that I can take still comes at 7:50.  To be fair, these routes all get me to work at different times.  But to be more fair, that's just as consistent as I would be if I had a car.

The first commute on the 114.  Madison and Lark.  The Madison Corner Deli and Lifestyles Vegetarian Juice Bar, two very recently opened businesses, are across the street.

Lifestyles Vegetarian Juice Bar and Dino's Pizza.

Madison, Lark and Delaware.  Just behind the walk/don't walk light is Delaware Park, where a farmer's market is held on Thursday afternoons in the summer.

The 114 letting me off at my stop, Madison Avenue and St. Rose College, as its known on the bus announcements.
This particular stop is across the street from the College of Saint Rose's new Huether School of Business.  The new business school, renderings of which can be seen in this Places and Spaces post, will be housed in a renovated building that will have a rear addition, not to the knowledge of some commenters on various Times Union Blogs, however.

This school is one of the two sites on the Saint Rose campus that has been the subject of protests over non-union labor, including this rat in front of the new dorm:

And this groove of footprints worn into the grass up the street at the new business school:

Yeah.  For real.
I'll write more about the protests when I write about some various new construction and renovation projects in Albany.  Some really cool and exciting stuff going on overall.

As far as my thoughts on the protests themselves, it's pretty well established that I support many forms of civil disobedience.  Saint Rose does, as well, in their policy of tolerance toward the demonstrations.

Back to Madison Avenue and St. Rose College, as the #114 pulls away.

The College of Saint Rose Alumni Garden

Sunday, November 13, 2011

CDTA Route Changes Go Into Effect Today

Today Albany's new routes begin, commencing the largest service change in CDTA history.  I've written about that a few times on this blog, and I've been pretty optimistic overall about the changes.  I think they'll improve the service we're getting.  However, there are a couple of things that aren't going to work quite as well.

While it's nice to see an increase in frequency on Routes 10 and 12 during the week, on weekends the two routes are running at the exact same times, while in the past, they were staggered to run at different, but equally frequent times.  While under the old route structure, I can get a #10 at say, 10:20, 10:40 and 11:00; and a #12 at, say, 10:30, 10:50 and 11:10; they are now they are all coming at, say, 10:20, 10:40 and 11:00.  As you can see, my frequency was basically cut from every 10 minutes to every 20, which makes a huge difference.  The frequency from downtown to Crossgates Mall has been effectively cut in half.  I am still hopeful that this was merely a colossal oversight that will eventually be corrected.

Needless to say, I've already complained, which would come as no surprise if you've read this post.

One thing that I admit I will miss when the new routes go into effect is the #4, which I fully admit is due to nothing more than really lame nostalgia.  The first time I took a CDTA bus was the #3 (also to be discontinued) but the first bus I took to regularly commute to work was the #4.

Due to the fact that I tend to take a bunch of random pictures anyway, I've managed to get some shots of my favorite morning moments: the moment my bus comes down the street.

My first bus stop, Lark Street and Madison Avenue.  I walked the 2 blocks from Madison and Swan each morning before moving close to the bus about six months after moving in there.
The stop at Lark Street and Lancaster Street.  Originally I lived about six houses from this intersection, now I live directly across the street.
On one of my last trips on the 4, earlier this week, a representative from CDTA was on board passing out literature about the new routes that will be useful to replace this one, namely the 114, the 10 and the 734. 

Two passengers were discussing the new routes in the seats in front of me.  They didn't seem happy to lose their #4.  One of them, a man sitting immediately in front of me, was complaining about the fact that things change (I'm not making fun of him, he really was) and how the government is always messing with his life (I'm not making fun of him, he really said that).

He then, toward the end of my time on the bus, said that he'll "take this route until I can't no more, then I'll figure something out."  I wanted to tell him that he had about two days to figure it out, so he should start soon.  But I didn't.  I thought getting punched that morning would be a bad idea.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Filler Perspective: Empire State Plaza

That's right.  I'm way too busy to actually write a blog post, so here's some easy and effortless filler instead:

I was just looking back through my iPhoto albums and I came upon one from 2008, just after I moved to Albany.  It was from September of that year, and with fall returning after a brief winter and summer, I thought it was appropriate. 

Here are some views of Empire State Plaza and Downtown Albany.

The Cultural Education Center, home of the New York State Office of Cultural Education, New York State Museum, New York State Library and New York State Archives.  The Pedestrian Perspective has 'perceived' the trip there in a prior post.

The Corning Tower.  My ex and I were scared shitless when we went to the observation deck on the 42nd floor and received an ID'ing, eye scan, metal detector and interview at the security desk on the concourse level.  Perfectly understandable for the tallest building in New York State outside of New York City, but still frightening nonetheless. 

My favorite picture out of the bunch.  With the exception of the UFO in the background, it has the most human scale of all the shots.

Stonehenge.  No, really.

I've always thought that the Agency Towers were modeled on Easter Island.  The shapes of the buildings look quite a bit like that.

A column of the Cultural Education Center, looking out over downtown.

Downtown Albany, with Madison Avenue in the foreground.

Downtown.  The silverish building in front is the Times Union Center.  The building with the red roof behind it is the somewhat recently built New York State Office of the State Comptroller.

Foliage.  From behind the Cultural Education Center.

The most elegant possible shot of Empire State Plaza.  Except for possibly the gardens, which I hope to visit next time, and soon.  This staircase doubles as an amphitheater for summer concerts.

To be honest, I really do enjoy walking down to the Plaza, sitting in the gardens, looking out over the city by The Egg, ducking into the cramped and hidden corners of the Cultural Education Center.  We will get into the history of the Plaza after we get through the nearly doomed history of the Albany Highway System. 

....when I finally get to it that is.  I actually have the second blog entirely completed.  The problem is that I got the path of the highway wrong.  Soooo I just need to re-write the ENTIRE thing.  

Hope you enjoyed our trip to the Plaza!  I know I sure did.