Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weasels of the Week: NY State Dept. of Transportation

It's a little late, but the sitch is going to be with us for a while here in my home area, so a state agency will get bombarded with Weasel ears this week.

Here's the deal. There is a bridge that links together my home city of Troy with neighboring Watervliet, formerly known as West Troy before it adopted its own identity years ago. Earlier this year, the DOT began the process of renovating that Congress Street-Watervliet bridge on the Watervliet side, closing off a pedestrian walkway on that side headed back into Troy. Given that most construction projects in this region take forever and a week for whatever reason, it stood to assume that the DOT wouldn't start working on the opposite side of the bridge until they finished on the south side.

Oh, what fools we mortals be!

On Wednesday, August 29, the Capital District Transportation Authority was notified that certain of their buses which use the bridge had to be rerouted. Passengers boarding at Congress & 3rd Streets, expecting to head over the bridge as normal, instead found the buses continuing south until turning left at Ferry Street, then another left on 4th, before reaching the Green Island Bridge, after which the buses would return to their normal routes. Four days later, CDTA issued fliers redirecting commuters to the bus shelter at Fulton & 3rd (or River & Front, take your pick) to use those same buses. I think the CDTA realized that they were losing time on some runs because of the sudden changes.

While the DOT gained some press for doing similar work on the Twin Bridges and the Dunn Memorial bridge, nothing that I could ascertain appeared in the hometown paper about the Congress St.-Watervliet bridge. Lord only knows when this project will finally end, perhaps, and we're crossing fingers here, if they're lucky, they'll be done by Christmas, but I wouldn't put any money on it.

Where I have a problem is the poor timing of this decision by DOT. If their crews had worked non-stop, even through rain and intense heat (with proper hydration for the latter circumstance), then maybe they'd have already been halfway home, but no. Now, you have a major hassle that will linger on and on until, well, I don't know, maybe after Election Day? Poor planning nets the Department of Transportation the Weasel ears this week. Maybe now they'll get the message, but I doubt it. In New York, the simplest things get lost in translation.

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