State rebuffs trail plan for Valatie intersection

VALATIE–The Village Board has passed a motion requesting that the state Department of Transportation (DOT) conduct a traffic study at the intersection of Main Street and Route 9/Kinderhook Street.

Last month, representatives from the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET) presented a plan to change the intersection, removing the off ramp or “slip lane” that sends northbound traffic from Route 9 onto Main Street and widen the sidewalks along Kinderhook Street. In the AHET plan, northbound traffic on Route 9 would have a turning lane at the intersection with Main Street.

The AHET is a 35-mile bicycling and pedestrian trail running from Rensselaer County to just outside of Hudson mostly along the National Grid rights-of-way. The trail development and construction will be paid for by the state and is being developed by the Hudson River Valley Greenway. The trail crosses Main Street in Valatie at the crosswalk near the Route 9/Kinderhook Street intersection.

At the November Village Board meeting several residents from Albany Avenue, which is directly across from Main Street, expressed concerns about the problems they have now entering Route 9 from their street and said this new plan would make that turn worse. Other residents asked about a traffic light at the intersection.

The AHET representatives at that meeting said that the DOT had monitored the intersection and approved the AHET plan.

At the Village Board meeting Tuesday, December 11, Mayor Diane Argyle told her board that she met with representatives from the state about the intersection of Main Street and Route 9. She said the meeting “didn’t go well for me or the village.”

The mayor said the AHET planners came up with a new plan that would keep the slip-lane with a stop sign at the intersection. But she said DOT rejected that plan and said the slip-lane must be removed but that the intersection did not meet the qualifications for a traffic light. She said that the state claims the intersection does not meet the eight criteria needed for a traffic light.

The board is asking the state to do a complete traffic study of the intersection. The Town of Kinderhook Board passed a motion supporting the village’s request to the state for a study at their board’s meeting December 5.

As for the Albany Avenue residents, Mayor Argyle said the DOT wants to put a right turn lane at the northern end of the street by the water towers so vehicles can exit and enter Route 9 from there. That would not resolve the issue at the other end of the street at the Main Street/Route 9 intersection.

Also at the meeting:

• The board authorized Village Clerk Barbara Fischer to sell county permits to residents who take their recycling to the county Solid Waste Stations. Ms. Fischer read a letter from Jolene Race, the director the county’s Department of Public Works, at the meeting, saying that “the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to set a fee for residents utilizing the Columbia County Solid Waste Stations for handling recyclable material. This charge will take effect January 1.” Residents can purchase two permit stickers per household at a cost of $50 a year. If the resident is 65 years old or older the cost is $35. And for out of county residents the cost is $100 a year.

Ms. Fischer told the board that most village residents use the village’s recycling program – the village contracts with a private company that picks up garbage and recycling at villagers’ residences. But she said it would be a good program to offer some residents who are interested. And the village would receive a $5 commission for each permit sold. The board agreed. Ms. Fischer said she would reach out to the county about the permits

• During a conversation about Winter Walk, the annual holiday celebration in the village which was held on December 8, the mayor asked the president of VERA (Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association) to ask business owners about moving the start time for the event to 4 p.m. next year instead of 5 p.m.

• Mayor Argyle announced that her village and the Village of Kinderhook were awarded the joint Community Planning matching grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway. According to a press release about the grant, “the two municipalities applied cooperatively for a grant to complete a Recreational Resource Inventory for the Kinderhook Creek. The award of $10,000 represents a 50/50 match on the project’s total cost of $20,000.” The village board appointed a committee of four residents to work on the inventory

• The mayor also announced the village and the Town of Kinderhook have worked together to put in an ice skating rink at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building playground for the public to use. There is a sign posting the hours when it can be used during the daytime. The town Department of Public Works built the rink, according to the mayor.

The next village board meeting will be Tuesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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