the multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic on Route 5 between
Colonie Center and Northway Mall can be daunting for even
the most able-bodied pedestrian. For people who, due to age
or disability, must use a bit more caution, that sidewalk-to-sidewalk
journey can be exceptionally dangerous. So, on Saturday (Nov.
8), about half-a-dozen grassroots public-transportation advocates
took up picket signs in the hopes of making the public aware
of the dangers faced by nondrivers wishing to patronize mall
In 1999, Capital District Transportation Authority bus routes
taking patrons into the Northway Mall parking lot were abruptly
canceled, due to a lack of interest in the then-suffering
commercial district. Since that time, the mall has experienced
a revitalization, with several well-known businesses setting
up shop in the area. However, even with this revitalization,
no plan to reconnect the mall directly to bus routes has emerged,
leaving many nondrivers in the region concerned.
People wishing to use public transportation for a trip to
Northway Mall currently have two options. Eastbound passengers
can disembark at a bus stop on the same side of Route 5 as
Northway Mall, but in order to reach the mall from this bus
stop, customers must navigate without a sidewalk over a landscaped
embankment and then cross a wide, bustling parking lot.
For westbound passengers, the difficulties in patronizing
Northway Mall are significantly greater, since they have to
cross the highway. Traffic on Route 5 is frequently congested,
and, according to 66-year-old Lucille Brewer, chairwoman of
Citizens for Transportation, often unforgiving toward people
whose pace is too slow for the brief crossing time alloted
by the walk signals.
Several years of discussion between representatives of Northway
Mall, CDTA and groups like Citizens for Transportation have
yielded several potential solutions, but nothing has come
to fruition so far. One idea involved shuttle service between
Colonie Center, Northway Mall and their respective bus stops.
According to Margo Janack, manager of corporate communications
for CDTA, these concerns have not fallen on deaf ears. “We
haven’t defined the scope of or the method [of a solution]
just yet,” explained Janack. “We’re looking closely at the
use of a shuttle-fly, because we do want to provide for the
people who use our service.”
However, Northway Mall management has been resistant to many
of the proposed solutions, according to Brewer. Even after
compiling extensive petitions, the most recent signed by 383
Route 5 bus patrons, and garnering the support of CDTA, Citizens
for Transportation has received little in the way of response
from Northway’s New York City–based management company, Mall
Properties Inc. This lack of communication prompted Saturday’s
demonstration, where protestors traced the long route from
bus stop to mall.
was willing to send the shuttle buses into the mall,” said
Brewer, “but they [Northway Mall] acted as if they didn’t
want the buses in there.”
Numerous calls to Mall Properties were not returned.
New York City management is basicly ignoring everyone,” Brewer