Date: January 30, 2017
Time: 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Speaker: Jennifer Speenburgh, safety educator
Location: Saratoga Hospital, First Floor Classroom, 211 Church Street
Fee: $30 per person for class and materials
Do you know how to help keep your infant safe in an emergency?
Parents and caregivers are invited to join us for instructional infant CPR, basic First Aid, as well as car seat safety for infants and small children. Please note that this class is NOT a CPR certification course, but an awareness training to teach the skills necessary to aid an infant or child in an emergency. You will learn how to perform CPR and administer first aid until help arrives. Car seat safety will be taught by a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor.
Registration note: Please register each adult that plans to attend, fee is per person.
Please note, we offer 15% off childbirth education packages when you register for 3 or more classes. Please register for all classes on the same day, so you receive one invoice.
Military personnel, hospital employees, and Medicaid insured patients are eligible for a small discount on this class. Contact CommunityEd@saratogacare.org with any questions about class packages or fees.
MALTA- The bid to construct two new traffic circles on Round Lake Road in Malta was awarded to Rifenburg Construction Monday morning, the Albany Times-Union reported.
BALLSTON SPA – There’s no question America’s number one sports obsession is football. From youth leagues to the NFL, almost everyone either watches games or knows somebody who plays.
The First Baptist Church will hold a New York State approved defensive driving class on Jan. 4. Save 10 percent on your base auto insurance for the next three years [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA – The Village of Ballston Spa is alerting residents of a new traffic pattern at two different intersections on Malta Avenue. [Read more…]
BY GREG HITCHCOCK
Two years before the 225th anniversary of the founding of Ballston, the town has lost a piece of their history to the bulldozer – the Hubbell House.
The late-Federal style Hubbell House at 6 Brookline Road, was erected in 1831 near the Mourning Kill Creek, and was once the home of Edmond and Mary Hubbell, early Ballston woolen cloth manufacturers.
Once sitting on the corner of Brookline Road and Route 67, the Hubbell House is now just a pile of rubble waiting to be cleared away for a series of apartment buildings and is just another example of many historic sites in the nation that became a victim to growth and modern-day development residents said.
“It is not about what is coming, but what has been lost,” Ballston resident Patricia Cramer said.
What is coming is an apartment development containing seven apartment buildings with 56 apartments overall, eight units per building. To some residents, what is also coming is more people with more cars and more traffic on a heavily used roadway.
According to the Route 67 Corridor Study prepared in January 2006 for the Capital District Transportation Committee by Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart, Inc., a professional New York City-based planning and consulting firm, as the towns of Ballston and Malta continue to develop, an increase in the amount of traffic on Route 67 will also continue to be felt; congestion is becoming an issue with the potential of leading to more accidents and more injuries, the report stated.
New York State Department of Transportation accident data shows from 1999 to 2001, there were 184 accidents on the Route 67 corridor between the Northway I-87 and the intersection of Rt. 50 including one fatality. Within the same time period, there were four total accidents on the intersection of Brookline Road and Route 67, one involving a pedestrian and another involving a cyclist.
According to the 2006 corridor study, the accident rate on Route 67 is extremely high, 156 percent higher than the state average for urban, undivided two-lane state highways.
Fred Iannon is a resident of Rolling Brook, a residential development adjacent to the proposed apartment complex. He said he is concerned about the traffic already existing on Brookline Road. Adding more traffic to this corridor is like asking for trouble, Iannon said.
Pointing to a map, Iannon explained during rush hour, trucks and other vehicles, instead of going straight to the V-corners, where Routes 67 and 50 meet, then go north through the village of Ballston Spa before heading to Amsterdam and other points west, and vice versa, will instead cut through Brookline Road to Middle Line Road then head west on Route 67 to save time.
Brookline Road gets the brunt of this traffic, he said.
Rolling Brook contains 19 upscale houses lined around an enclosed circular street and the only entrance to and from their homes is at Brookline Road.
“Turning left is terrible,” Rolling Brook resident Robert DeSarbo said. “Many Rolling Brook residents will go the other direction rather than take that left.”
Another difficult left turn, according to the corridor study, is at the un-signalized Brookline Road and Route 67 intersection, making it ‘extremely difficult’ to make a left hand turn out of the side street during morning and evening peak hours.
DeSarbo emphasized there have been a few incidents of accidents at the intersection, one involving a tractor trailer.
To mitigate the effects of the flow of traffic, the corridor study suggested either building a roundabout at this intersection or installing traffic signals.
“Roundabouts only work if the flow of traffic is even in every direction,” Iannon said.
He said vehicles would find it nearly impossible to go east on Route 67 using a roundabout during the rush hour commute due to the oncoming traffic coming west, using Brookline Road as a shortcut.
The study indicated to install a traffic light would require a minimum of four lanes to store vehicles while waiting at the intersection.
Brookline Road is sandwiched in between the steeply banked Mourning Kill Creek on its left and residential homes, including the proposed apartment complex, on its right.
“There is no more room to widen the road,” Iannon said.
Residents of Rolling Brook also said they are worried about the value of their homes after the apartment complex buttressing their development is built.
“This was a quiet neighborhood, but now there will be three to four apartment buildings encroaching on our homes, houses people bought with good money,” DeSarbo said.
Previous attempts to develop the property included building a carwash on the condition that the developer would keep the building, Cramer said.
She said the developers would have agreed to rehabilitate the Hubbell House and use it as office space.
Ballston Historian Rick Reynolds said the Hubbell House was unique because it was one of the few remaining historic structures in town built entirely of stone.
“This is the kind of construction you don’t see any more. I hate to see it disappear,” Reynolds said. “We need to figure a way to maintain the past while living in the present.”
Reynolds said, historic homes such as the Hubbell House provide physical connections between the past and the present, and he said Ballston residents do not wish to lose that connection.
“We need to come up with a way to preserve our history,” he said. “But, we must be selective.”
He said as a historian, he would like to preserve all the town’s history, but as a practical historian living in the 21st century, he realizes it is not an easy thing to do. Reynolds said the Hubbell House had been left vacant for so long it would have been very difficult to save it.
Scott Lansing, an engineer for the apartment project, also said the original Hubbell House property was beyond saving, pointing out that the structure was unsafe; but there are several examples of endangered historic homes being saved if a community wishes to save it.
For example, one of the most endangered historic sites, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is the Coltrane House, a once vacant home in need of mold remediation, repair and conservation.
Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane lived in this modest 1952 ranch-style house in the Dix Hills section of Huntington, Suffolk County. In 2003, when the house was threatened with demolition and redevelopment, Dix Hills resident and jazz fan Steve Fulgoni rallied the community to save the Coltrane Home.
In December of 2005, after nearly two years of negotiation, the town purchased the property, establishing the land around the house as parkland. The house is now operated by the Friends of the John Coltrane Home, an organization formed by Steve Fulgoni and the Coltrane family.
Ballston Planning Board Chairman Richard Doyle said the planning board consulted with state historic agencies and with the town historian and found out that the Hubbell House was not of any significant historic value.
“It certainly was an old house,” Doyle admitted. “But there are many historic stone structures in the state.”
Doyle said the house looked fine from the outside, but the inside was not.
The property is zoned mixed use, meaning it could be used for both residential and commercial purposes, according to town code.
Doyle said the current plans for the property’s redevelopment was the better of the previous apartment proposals because it provided for less buildings and more open space.
Asked when the construction phase will begin, Doyle said the contractor sets the pace. Ultimately, the apartment conceptual plan will have to be reviewed by the planning board before a final approval for the concept is granted. Then the project goes for a site plan review and other criterion before construction can begin.
The apartment project’s engineers agreed to conduct another traffic study to find out the potential impacts it will have.
“An engineering firm can use this data in its development plans, determining what has changed between the last traffic study and now,” Doyle said.
“We are at the very beginning of the whole process,” he said.
By GREG HITCHCOCK
On Tuesday, the Ballston Town Council unanimously decided to make a private road into a public town road provided certain stipulations were carried out.
The current property owners of the private road, White Beach Road, will give title to the town to allow for maintenance; White Beach Road residents provide easements to all property owners east of the railroad tracks on Saunders Lane; funding is secured for flashers and grade crossings at railroad track; and approval is given by state, county and the town’s highway superintendent.
A New York State Department of Transportation administrative law judge, at the request of Canadian Pacific Railway, determined closing three railroad crossings for safety reasons – White Beach Road, Saunders Lane and Connolly Drive, would be prudent. The plan has gotten mixed reviews and the town, DOT and the railway are working to hammer out a solution.
The closures could have a detrimental effect on residents of these private roads who would not be able to use their homes as they are accustomed to, some have said.
Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth said she has been working with the railroad and residents since last year to clear the way for a compromise solution.
“To show we are committed, the town is ready to move forward,” she said.
Some fear that the move to declare a private road public property will set a precedent.
Town Attorney Murray Brower said, though, this will not be the case.
“This is a unique health and safety issue involving railway crossings and is site specific,” he said.
White Beach Road resident Herb Jackson said the roads have been a safety concern.
Involved with the town fire department, Jackson is familiar with safety. He said the town has been moving slowly for years to do anything about the impact of the railroad on residents and commuters, including the placing of crossing guards.
“The town must bring the road up to standards to get these crossing guards,” he said.
The state mandated closings particularly of Connolly Drive may prompt lawsuits from residents and Jackson said they can prove to be costly. He said the Ballston Town Board can make it easier on the parties involved by making the necessary adjustments to the roads.
In order to keep Connolly open, the town and the DOT suggested such remedies as posted speed reductions.
Ireland said the town has been focused on the easier road crossing – White Beach Road – rather than the harder to fix Connolly Drive.
“There are still many pieces of the puzzle that need to be discussed,” she said.
Ballston officials said they do not want to place any financial burden on town residents if they move to acquire the private roads. They are not planning on needing overtime expenses from the town’s highway department to maintain and upgrade White Beach Road.
“We do not want to place any unnecessary burdens on residents who do not own land along the roads,” Southworth said.
In the same vein, Canadian Pacific Railway has committed an amount up to $100,000 for the construction of a connector road to provide access to the White Beach Road crossing for the residents of Saunders Lane.