Route 5 Corridor Land Use and Transportation Study (NY5)

Albany and Schenectady Counties, New York

Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC)

Lead Consultant

1998 - 2001

Community Design + Architecture led a multi-disciplinary team in studying the potential for intensifying land use along a 16.5 mile arterial corridor between Albany and Schenectady, New York. The Study started with an assessment of land use and transportation conditions and the growth potential given the Corridor's market and policy context in the region and the five communities it passes through. Urban typologies were identified and representative sites were used to explore a variety of urban design approaches for intensifying development, ranging from renewal of inner-city neighborhoods to infill of surface parking lots to reuse of older suburban malls. Light Rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternatives were evaluated for flexibility, cost, anticipated ridership, and fit within the land use and urban design context of the street. Street designs were developed to illustrate options for improving transit, pedestrian, and bicycle access along and across the street. The alternative scenarios, which varied by the extent of land use and transportation change, were evaluated with extensive public-involvement, including stakeholder workshops; public open houses; newsletters and a survey distributed to over 14,000 stakeholders; a dedicated website (; neighborhood-specific posters, and a PowerPoint Presentation used by community groups and Corridor jurisdictions. The communities elected to move forward with more intensive land use and transportation improvements. CD+A developed strategies to guide public investment in the Corridor and encourage private investment to revitalize the commercial districts and residential neighborhoods.

In October 2001, the region's MPO adopted the plan, guaranteeing an initial $40 million for construction of streetscape and other corridor improvements. CDTC and CDTA began a study in late 2003 to undertake further definition of a BRT system in the Corridor. In April 2010, construction began to install BRT stations and shelters, underground conduit to support technology, and new and improved curbs and sidewalks to provide accessibility to all. The new 'BusPlus' BRT service launched in 2011 and has resulted in a 20% increase in ridership. Land use changes along the corridor include construction of new facilities for Schenectady County Community College on former parking lots.