Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Trouble With Colonie Center

Citizens for Public Transportation is unhappy with the renovations at Colonie Center Mall. They have moved the bus stop shelter away from the building up to Wolf Road. This creates an undue hardship for riders with disabilities and means that people taking the people will have to wait in the cold to catch a ride.

You may say, 'There are some parking spaces out that far, why should bus riders get special treatment?' Well, if you walk out to your car, dragging your shopping bags, do you have to stand around for another 15 minutes in the cold before you can get into a vehicle? If you have a disability and are lucky enough to still be able to drive, you get to park in the close in handicapped accessible parking. The Mall will tell you that the Star Bus for people with disabilities will still come up to the front entrance (but only the front entrance). The Star Bus is MUCH more expensive both for CDTA to operate, and for passengers to ride than the main line buses. How often have you been glad someone in your family could pull the car up to the curb so you didn't have to carry your shopping bags all the way through the parking lot?

Do you want to have to stand along Wolf Road late at night waiting for a bus?

And all for what? Well, Colonie Center won't say for sure. Sometimes they say it's to reduce congestion around the mall parking lots. Of course, that argument doesn't hold up. Buses reduce congestion. Every time your behind them remember that all the people on the bus are trying to get somewhere, and if they weren't on a bus they'd probably be driving one person to a car in front of you. They've said buses are an eyesore, that they smell. Well, so do giant sprawling parking lots, and the new cleaner buses CDTA is introducing will make this even less of an issue in the future. They say that they are upscaling the mall, that they are trying to attract a wealthier clientèle. That's fine, but if they do it at the expense of the community, the Federal, State, County and Town communities that pay for the roads that people come to shop at their mall on, well shame on them.

If you want to help us in our fight, write Colonie Center and let them know what they are doing is wrong. Write your local, state and national representatives. Write your local papers. They have already said they will not do the right thing because it is right. That leaves us with making them do the right thing by keeping the pressure on them, organizing protests, organizing boycotts and letting them, and the politicians know we are watching.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

How to Contact Colonie Center

There are lots of ways to contact Colonie Center. Use as many as you would like, but don't forget Joe Millet is the point man on the project right now. Larry Feldman is his boss.

Joe Millet
Colonie Center Mall Office
1417 Central Ave Albany 12205
(518) 459-9090

Chairman & Chief Executive Director
Larry Feldman
Feldman Mall Properties
1010 Northern Blvd.
Suite 314
Great Neck, NY, 11021

(516) 684-1239
Fax: (516) 684-1239

The best way to contact Colonie Center Management by Email is
Feldman Mall Properties, Inc.'s Email is

You could also probbably annoy James Meyer, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management, at Heitman Properties, Feldman's buisiness partners at,

Tips for Letter Writing

When you're ready to write a letter or email go over our talking points. Below is a sample letter. Use it to get ideas, but personalize your own letter to help us get our point across.

To the Colonie Center Mall Management:

I'd like to talk to you for a moment about public transportation. Sometimes buses get a bad reputation. There is a perception that rich people use cars, and poor people ride buses It's funny how that belief changes from city to city. The Capital Region for a long time has been a suburb community with good parking and cheap gas. It's lead us to do less to promote our public transportation system than cities like London and New York, but gas prices are rising and more and more people are riding the buses Of course, there is also the perception that poor people are less desirable customers at malls. This just isn't true. Even if they aren't wearing Armani, people who ride the bus are hard workers who want to go to malls to catch movies, eat at food courts and shop for clothes and goods. They are also the people who work at your mall.

It may seem like it's no big deal to move the bus stops out to the perimeter of the parking lots, but for people riding the bus it is a very big deal. In the winter not being able to wait for buses inside the mall will mean extra time out in the cold, risking their health and frostbite. In the evenings it will mean risking standing alone at a deserted bus stop where they risk harassment and mugging. Even during the summer, during the day, it means a long walk across a busy parking lot. Even if you provide safer corridors for them to walk in, the fact of the matter is that people, when they have to do same thing over and over tend to choose the path of least resistance. Unless the path is a nearly straight line to the mall they will wander off to a straighter line. It's got to do with selective reinforcement. They don't get hit by a car; they save time; they continue to do it. Of course, when they do get hit by a car, it's to late to fix the problem.

A simple safe solution to this problems is to let the main line buses come into to mall and to move the bus stop for the local shuttles up to the mall. This means a shorter, safer, more comfortable walk for people with shopping bags and schedules to keep.

I'd also, as a final note, like to add this. I do a lot of volunteer work with a local organization that works with people with disabilities. People with disabilities come in a wide range. Some are eligible to ride the Star Bus, others, who would certainly be eligible for Handicap stickers for cars, including the elderly who may just find it hard to walk as far as they used to, are not eligible to ride Star. Star is also a limited service that costs more to ride than the regular buses, requires up to two weeks advance notice to schedule and a preset pickup time.

Please help the Capital Region become as bus accessible as possible.

Thank You,

Nathan Smith