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Capital District Highway Weirdness

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Capital District Highway Weirdness

  1. 1. Capital District Highway Weirdness
  2. 2. Questions • Why does the Dunn Bridge end like that? • Why does Corporate Woods have its own exit? • Why doesn’t the Northway have an Exit 3? • Why is there a short bit of Freeway for US 9 in Loundonville/Arbor Hill? • Why is that weird U-Turn at the end of the access road for the Empire State Plaza?
  3. 3. The Dunn Bridge
  4. 4. The Dunn Bridge
  5. 5. The Corporate Woods Exit • Anyone heard of I 687? • Would have gone from I-90 to the Northway near the airport, through Colonie • Exit was built before the project was cancelled • Northway Exit 3 on the other end was never built • In the plan from late 1950s through early 1970s
  6. 6. I 687/NY 85 • Map is 1972 Plan • Cancelled largely due to opposition in Colonie
  7. 7. Grand Plans for the Core of Albany • Highway planners of the 1970s loved nothing more than tearing things down so they could build more highways • Much destruction was planned for Albany • I 787 actually happened • The short bit of US 9 freeway and the access road for the Empire State Plaza were all that was built for one of these schemes
  8. 8. The Mid-Crosstown Arterial • Would have connected Exit 23 to I 90 where US 9 crosses I 90 today • Lateral connector from Empire State Plaza to an interchange underneath (!?) Washington Park • Would have taken approximately 350 homes • Would have displaced approximately 750 families
  9. 9. The Arterial
  10. 10. The Arterial
  11. 11. The Arterial Lark-Dove Connector
  12. 12. Southern Albany Expressway I 87 From Exit 24 to 23, parallel to the Thruway appears in 1967 Urban planning document, but not in the 73-74 overview would have had an interchange with NY 85 (which the Thruway lacks)
  13. 13. End of Northway
  14. 14. Exit 23
  15. 15. The Arterial
  16. 16. I 88 Extension • I 88 was originally going to go to Exit 25, not to the current Exit 25 A • The I 88 extension would have continued across Schenectady County, crossing NY 7 and then turning to reach the end of “Alternate 7” (now just NY 7) • Alternate 7 would have been designated I 88 and I 88 would have ended at the eastern foot of the Collar City Bridge
  17. 17. I 88 Extension • There was more than one concept. One version would have gone all the way to Bennington • This would have met up with some version of the modern Bennington Bypass (VT 279) • The path would have been further northward, through southern Saratoga County
  18. 18. I 88 Extension • The plan to connect I 88 directly to Exit 25 was dropped for two reasons • Hilly/Mountainous terrain near Altamont • the area immediately south and west of Exit 25 was already fairly developed
  19. 19. map from overview from 1973 or 1974 topics: i 88 extension albany-schenectady expressway southern route
  20. 20. Another Question • If you go to the junction of Washington Avenue Extension and NY 155, the road continues on the other side of NY 155 • It’s named Madison Avenue Extension • Why? • Let’s look at the 1950 USGS Albany Quadrangle
  21. 21. Madison Avenue & Lydius Street Simeon De Witt's 1794 street grid plan Lydius Street from South Pearl to Eagle Street Wolf Street from Eagle Street west. When the two connected, Wolf was renamed Lydius Street note that the bird names were from the 1794 plan. there were mammal names such as Wolf street, but only Elk street survives, whereas many of the bird names survive Duck was renamed Robin, apparently Duck is a lower class bird with respect to Robin
  22. 22. Madison Avenue & Lydius Street
  23. 23. Madison Avenue & Lydius Street
  24. 24. One last question • Why is Maxon Road 1500 feet away from Maxon Road Extension?
  25. 25. Fun on Erie Boulevard 1949 USGS Quad
  26. 26. Fun on Erie Boulevard 1947 Urban Area Report Note reference to Thruway spur. Thruway not constructed through
  27. 27. Fun on Erie Boulevard
  28. 28. Exit 23
  29. 29. Touring Routes and Reference Routes • State Highways with numbers between 1 and 899 are Touring Routes • They have the traditional Black & White sign
  30. 30. Touring Routes and Reference Routes • State Highways with numbers in the 900 range are Reference Routes • The second digit is the NYS DOT Region number • The Capital District is in Region 1 • Their numbers are followed by a letter • They are not supposed to have signs (but 4 do)
  31. 31. Touring Routes and Reference Routes • Reference routes are used mostly for state maintained highways for which the DOT does not wish to post a sign • They may be former routings of touring routes • in Bethelhem, there are former routings of NY 32 which are now reference routes
  32. 32. Touring Routes and Reference Routes • Reference routes may also be • complex ramps and connecting roads • named highways (e.g., NY parkway system)
  33. 33. Touring Routes and Reference Routes • The connector between Exit 23 and Southern Blvd/McCarty Ave is reference route 912S • Lower Wolf Road (NY 5 to Albany-Shaker Road) is 910B • Washington Avenue Extension between Fuller Road and NY 155 is designated 910D • The section of the Northway from US 20 to the I 87/I 90 interchange is referred to as “Fuller Road Alternate” and is designated 910F • The Taconic Parkway is 987G • The NY section of the Bennington Bypass is 915G
  34. 34. Touring Routes and Reference Routes • The four Reference Routes with (accidental) signs • 961F - Burns/Arkport • 962J - Owego • 990L - Norwich • 990V - Gilboa
  35. 35. Reference Markers
  36. 36. Reference Markers • When designations change, reference markers are not necessarily changed • Reference Markers on the former NY 7 (now NY 2) still say “7” • Because there are 11 regions and only one digit for region id, Region 10 gets “0” and Region 11 gets “X”
  37. 37. Acknowledgments • Thanks to Aaron Xaevier of the Capital District Transportation Committee for his help in researching the subject
  38. 38. More Information • These slides are at • capital-district-highway-weirdness • Capital District Highway website at •