A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

And the point of this is what?

Written November 15th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Looking north on Broadalbin Street from he corner of Third Avenue on Monday, Nov. 13.

This is one element of Albany’s $8.4 million downtown streetscape project that may have people scratching their heads and wondering about the point.

It extends to Broadalbin Street between Second and Third the “promenade” concept first applied some years ago to the block of Broadalbin between First and Second. Parking on the east side of the street is gone, replaced by a wider sidewalk and landscaped holes to catch rainwater.

On the promenade block between First and Second there are retail storefronts, where pedestrians strolling along the widened sidewalk can presumably be fascinated by merchandise in the windows There also is a fine restaurant where diners can sit outside during the few times of the year when it’s not too cold, too hot or too wet.

What about this block being rebuilt now? There’s the vacant retail suite on the corner, then the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, then a couple of office-type businesses, and then the shuttered public restrooms of the old post office building that later served as city hall, and finally the west wall of the building itself. Not exactly a hot spot for casual strolling and seeing the downtown sights.

Things don’t have to stay the way they are, of course. Maybe the owner of the corner storefront will find merchants who make a go of it in that space. Maybe the demand for retail will explode to such an extent that DOGAMI and the other offices will be replaced by tenants that get lots of foot traffic. And maybe the local development company that owns the old city hall can figure out something to do with that old pile, something that customers will want to visit or see. Maybe.

If it happens, great. If not, all you have is a wider sidewalk on which nobody walks, and the loss of four parking spaces on the street. (hh)

The former city hall’s west side fronts on the Broadalbin Street beautification project.



23 responses to “And the point of this is what?”

  1. Penny McCarthy says:

    It looks to me like the old city hall would make a great parking structure which would take care of the Downtown parking issue. The city already owns it so why not just use that instead of purchasing other property

  2. John Hartman says:

    Mr. Hering’s edict that no one used this particular stretch of sidewalk due to the lack of foot-traffic generating businesses prior to the alleged improvements. Then, in the next paragraph or so, Mr. Hering complains that there is a net loss of 4-parking spaces due to the alleged improvements. But, if no one ever went that way before then what does the loss of 4 parking spots matter?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Ever heard of parking some place and then walking somewhere, like around the corner or across the street?

      • Shara Somser says:


      • John Hartman says:

        Eliminating motor vehicle parking spaces makes this new stretch of boulevard much more “bike friendly.” In the view of many in the elite class, bike friendly equates with all that is good.

        Downtown sidewalks chockablock with happy, strolling shoppers and streets hosting pedal-powered, active citizens is sorely needed in the urban center. One can imagine a time when motorized traffic is banned from the Albany Inner-Urban Core.

        • Louisa Shelby says:

          Most people who bike a lot aren’t elite…they are saving money and resources by biking or can’t afford cars.

  3. Manda says:

    I think the upgrades are GREAT and in the end when the Project is completed everyone will be able to see how nice the downtown area has become! Personally I can’t wait for all the construction to be done so I can see it and walk the street of downtown Albany!

  4. Greg Storms says:

    This whole downtown improvement project must really be hurting the businesses involved. Parking has always been somewhat of an issue, but with all the machinery, torn up sidewalks and streets with no parking while work is being done, the businesses must be seeing a large drop off in customers.

  5. Tony White says:

    …and maybe bats will fly out of my butt, Hasso.

  6. Mark Spence says:

    By your “reasoning,” we should eliminate all bike lanes. What’s the point? They take up parking spaces, force cities to pay loads of $ to make wider streets, hardly anyone uses them, and they are dangerous for unexpecting drivers and pedestrians. I don’t agree with the points I’m making here, just using an example you can identify with to point out the limits in your powers of reason.

  7. James Engel says:

    Our mayor is going to get her Broadalbin promenade by hook or crook or just plain construction snookery! She only has to get the block from Water to 1st Ave to complete her tri-fecta. And just like that more downtown parking is lost.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “Our mayor is going to get her Broadalbin promenade by hook or crook or just plain construction snookery! She only has to get the block from Water to 1st Ave to complete her tri-fecta.”

      Your disdain for anything positive downtown is quite palpable most of the time…

      The full-length “Promenade” was visioned many years ago. But due to serious lack of vision and political will a few years ago, it was stifled & shut down to the single “demonstration” block (on a 12-2 vote if I recall). That single block has become a wonderful respite for pedestrians and diners. This is simply an extension of the original vision. I will do everything I can to see that it will be finalized. That being, from the court house to the river… We’re getting there albeit at a glacial pace.

  8. Katherine says:

    It is privately owned. It has been for years and recently has a new owner. I’m sure they does not want to donate it for downtown parking. The back in parking at the post office and Carousel was very poor planning. I know of nowhere else in any city in Oregon that makes it’s citizens back into a parking place.
    Also new businesses and established ones are hurting from the drop in business due to tearing up the streets.

    • Pat Young says:

      Have you been to Sisters in the last couple years? Probably other municipalities as well.
      Back in parking is an acquired skill; just as parallel parking is. It’s really no biggie…and I drive a big ol’ pick-em-up.
      Get used to it. There’s more coming to a neighborhood near you.

  9. Bill Kapaun says:

    In order to make their “Promenade” look useful, they are installing more of it under a bus stop.

  10. Mary Brock says:

    I agree that Sharon Konopa and CARA will get their promenade by hook or crook. I agree with Hasso that the new promenade block seems wasteful. I don’t agree with comment from a reader that people can park elsewhere and walk to where they are headed. That reader needs to address that subject again when he or she is older and has various physical ailments. If we don’t need parking downtown and therefore can eliminate it at will with promenade blocks, it sounds like we are not going to have a boomtown downtown. I agree we are not going to see a metropolis develop and/or sites that everyone flocks to.

  11. Steve Reynolds says:

    Downtown looks nice, step back and look what’s been accomplished. Can’t wait to see what the Carousel looks like when it’s decorated for the holidays. Suggestion, I would like to see the tree moved down to the Monteith Park Area.

    Now come on you grumpies, you don’t want to be this person….

    “You’re a mean one, Mr. (and Mrs).Grinch
    You really are a heel
    You’re as cuddly as a cactus
    And as charming as an eel, Mr. Gri-inch…
    You’re a bad banana with a… greasy black peel!
    You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch
    Your heart’s an empty hole
    Your brain is full of spiders
    You’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Gri-inch…
    I wouldn’t touch you with a… 39½-foot pole!”

  12. Kim Martin Thanislaus says:

    I agree the parking IS an issue downtown. My most concern is for disabled people. I recently went through two knee replacements and I am not elderly. Three months ago I could hardly walk! There are many others with similar physical issues and it sounds like its going to be very hard or nearly impossible to get a parking space in the downtown area close enough to shop! Please somebody tell me WHY downtown needed such wide sidewalks again? Seems like a waste of tax dollars to me!

  13. Louisa Shelby says:

    I love that our downtown is becoming more beautiful. It is the only thing I like in Albany which is a very, drab industrial town. This improvement will attract more desirable businesses. Have you ever been to any other towns in our Country? It is extremely easy to find parking in Downtown Albany.

  14. Debbie Ferguson says:

    I know of a few shops/restaurants that have suffered over this mess. I don’t understand what the deal was about this beautification project. I know many people won’t come downtown because of the parking hassles. They even mentioned they “hate” downtown. So much for that.

  15. Shane says:

    Since it’s usually only the complainers that actually speak up, I will too.
    I think the streetscape project is something that needed to happen and I’m glad to see it being done. I personally don’t take advantage of it much, but I see the area in front of Vault 44 being put to good use all summer. Albany overall is a pretty ugly town, good to see part of it being dressed up.
    I used the back in parking the other day, no problem, easier than parallel parking.
    I never seem to have a problem finding parking downtown unless there is a large event going on, but that happens everywhere, if you think that’s going to be fixed please do hold your breath.

  16. Dave says:

    The streets are so chopped up the whole thing will have to be repaved. Was that figured in?


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