I received the following from a group that has recently formed in response to a proposal being developed by the Mayor’s office for, according to the city’s website, a”streetscape improvement project to enhance Saratoga Springs’ signature street-Union Avenue between East Avenue and Circular Street.” There will be a public hearing and a presentation on this proposal at the Tuesday, January 17, City Council meeting.
The Historic Union Avenue Neighborhood Association (HUANA) is a large group of concerned citizens who live on or near Union Avenue. It was specifically formed so that property owners, residents, and businesses could have a voice in any proposed changes to Union Avenue ( the beloved street we call home ).
The Saratoga Springs City Council is preparing to vote on a concept that has broad implications for Union Avenue and one that could set an unwanted precedent for other areas of the City.
The “Enhancing Union Avenue” plan was revealed to the public by the city’s Complete Streets Advisory Board at a meeting held at Empire State College last October. It became quickly apparent that the sole focus of the plan was the addition of bike lanes along Union Avenue.
We, the members of the Historic Union Avenue Neighborhood Association, are a group of concerned citizens who live on or near Union Avenue. We assert that no changes to Union Avenue should take place without a comprehensive plan that simultaneously addresses the safety and the historic integrity of this grand boulevard. We further believe that the plan should be developed within a process that allows for detailed discussion with ALL stakeholders, including the New York Racing Association, the National Museum of Racing, the Saratoga Historic Preservation Foundation, Empire State College, the business community, and area residents.
Union Avenue, on the National Register of Historic Places, is a vital gateway to our city and the first impression many have of our beloved town. As noted sportswriter Red Smith once famously said, “From New York City, you drive north for about 175 miles, turn left on Union Avenue, and go back 100 years”. We cannot afford to play high-stakes poker with one of our community’s greatest assets. We respectfully request Mayor Kim and the members of the City Council suspend this project until a comprehensive plan that addresses all concerns and answers all questions is in place.