Dominick Calsolaro

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Regarding the proposed plan by Colonie Center to shrink the size of parking spaces and add more spaces

Mr. Joe LaCivita, Supervisor
Town of Colonie PEDD

Dear Mr. LaCivita:

Regarding the proposed plan by Colonie Center to shrink the size of parking spaces and add more spaces, I would like the Colonie Town Planning Board to consider the following before making a decision:

First and foremost - Colonie Center management MUST allow CDTA bus access inside the complex for drop-off and pick-up. It has been many years since this public transportation amenity was allowed by Colonie Center, and it is about time that CDTA is allowed internal access to Colonie Center. I live in Albany and I know many people who do not drive and depend on public transportation to get them to shopping destinations. Some of these people are senior citizens, youth and persons with disabilities (visually-impaired, walking disabled, etc.). It is extremely difficult for these public transportation-dependent shoppers to go to Colonie Center because CDTA buses are not allowed into the Center's property. Many of the people I know no longer shop at Colonie Center because CDTA must drop them off either on Central Avenue or Wolf Road, and then they have to walk across large parking lots in order to enter the Center. These people go to Crossgates or Stuyvesant or out to the strip malls in Glenmont (Rt 9W) where CDTA buses are allowed direct access to the shopping area.

Mall spokesperson, Susan Spaccarelli is quoted in the Times Union: "We're exploring all our options to provide for better customer accessibility,". So, what better way is there for "customer accessibility" than for allowing CDTA direct access to Colonie Center!!!

So, I am requesting that the Colonie Town Planning Board make CDTA access to the Center a condition of its approval for a waiver for allowing the narrower parking spaces and the additional parking spaces.

Second: I, personally, don't want to see narrower parking spaces. My car is already full of dents from car doors hitting the car now with the "wider" spaces that are in use. Narrower spaces will only exacerbate this problem, and may lead to some people NOT shopping at Colonie Center for fear their cars will be damaged due to the narrower parking spaces.

Third: Recent trends show younger people are NOT driving as much as us old folks, and are delaying getting their driver's license. Recent trends are also showing that more people are using public transportation than driving personal automobiles for a variety of reasons: a renewed interest in the damage we are doing to our environment; the cost of gas, insurance and operating a vehicle; the improvements made to make public transportation to make it more customer friendly; etc. So, Colonie Center and the Town of Colonie can use this opportunity to place itself in the forefront of the sustainability and climate control movement by promoting the use of public transportation to shop and, thus, spend money at Colonie Center.

I am also attaching a letter I wrote, as a then Common Council Member in Albany, to Kenneth B. Mehlman, Member and Head of Global Public Affairs, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in April, 2013, when KKR & Co. acquired Colonie Center, regarding the re-establishment of CDTA bus access into the mall.

Please let me know when this proposal will be before the Planning Board. The Times Union article mentions July 15, but it read like the door may be open for a different date.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Dominick Calsolaro
35 Clare Avenue
Albany, New York 12202
(518) 859-5219