Gateways to our communities should make a statement that the traveler has arrived, further, that this place is special and unique.
Most of us enter our area once or twice a day using a I-87 Northway exit 7, 8, 8A or 9. Look around these locations that we take for granted the next time you arrive. They are really no different or unique than any other gateway to any other commercial center in North America.
Then enter our community on the Byway. We experience something like entering the door to our home that the family uses. It is much more intimate and unique. A good example of this is the entrance to the city of Schenectady on Aqueduct Road. You have passed through the more rural areas of Niskayuna and enter the well kept urban neighborhood of northern Schenectady. You have arrived.
The Byway’s newest gateway is Erie Boulevard as travelers enter downtown Schenectady from I-890. This newly reconstructed entrance to the downtown area has a calming effect on the traveler and exudes the sense and atmosphere that you have arrived at a special place: The City of Innovation and the Mohawk Towpath Byway.
Driving into Niskayuna from Saratoga County. What do you see? First of all you may be waiting in a traffic on the bridge with water on either side. Most likely there is something going on in the Mohawk River that you don’t see at other gateways. As the light changes you might notice one of the historic stone arches where the historic traveller might have passed either over or through. Going the other way on Route 146 you are entering a community that has changed only a little in the last hundred years. Granted you no longer navigate around the McClane Hotel, but the the historic community of Rexford on your left and the old canal store, now the Schenectady Yacht Club, on the right is very much like it was a century and a half ago.
When Rexford’s Stewart’s Shop was constructed a decade ago someone had a bright idea to include a gateway sign the same as all the other gateways to Town that read, “Welcome to Clifton Park, a nice place to live work and play.” Fortunately, that sign didn’t last to long. The community wanted something unique leading to the tactful sign that’s there today. There may be a new store there but the character of the gateway is maintained.
As reconstruction of the Rexford Bridge progresses this spring watch how this gateway evolves.
[Also see the blog entry Gateway Signs posted sometime after the Scenic Conservation Action Plan was adopted.]