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Public to get first look at proposed train station designs on October 17

At least two conceptual ideas for the construction of a multi-modal transportation hub in the city’s downtown area will be presented at a public meeting on October 17, 7pm at the Amsterdam Housing Authority on Division Street. The new hub would take the place of the current Amtrak station on West Main Street. According to Mayor Michael Villa, experts from the Mott MacDonald engineering firm will provide architectural drawings and explain the details of their proposals.

“It should be very informative. It should be enlightening. I think a lot of people see the possibilities of what we can do down there,” said Villa.

Villa added that he was “extremely impressed” with the work that Mott MacDonald has done so far and that the project could be “transformational” for the city.

The city received a $115,000 grant from New York State in December 2015 to help fund an initial study of the relocation idea. Mott MacDonald was awarded a $207,790 contract by the city in April 2017 to complete the study.

According to Amtrak’s statistics, 11,155 people either boarded or departed at the city’s station in 2015. The station is currently located approximately 2 miles northwest of the city’s downtown area.


About Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of LLC which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.

6 Responses to Public to get first look at proposed train station designs on October 17

  1. AvatarRobert N. Going says:

    According to these figures, the taxpayers just spent $18.63 for each rider for a whole year just to study the issue. Please let me know when this begins to make any sense.

    Fewer than 31 people a day get on or get off in Amsterdam. Why do we need this again?

    • AvatarTim Becker says:

      We should ask some of the downtown merchants what effect an average of 31 more people a day – every single day of the year – a constant stream of foot traffic – might have on their business. (Obviously the numbers vary by day, but we are using averages for the sake of conversation).

      • AvatarRobert N. Going says:

        By this reasoning the commerce in the west end must have boomed after the train station opened there forty years ago. In fact what commercial prperty there was down there has long since vanished. I’m on the road right now so don’t have the time to do the calculations, but several years ago when there were actually more people using the station I calculated the tax benefits that could result, assuming that each and every rider in both directions spent eight dollars a day over and above what they are now spending daily in Montgomery County, and assuming that the cost of the station would be roughly the same as the MVGO, at the low end of 16 million dollars, the new station would eventually pay for itself.

        In one thousand years.

        Move a decimal point over and it would only take a hundred years. With nothing spent on maintenance or interest or anything else.

        Now try it with the riders hopping in their cars and going home.

        And don’t forget the $18 per ride we already spent for some I assume lovely drawings of what might be. (Will it even be economical to re-route the arterial to make downtown accessible to the new train station AND MVGO?

        And how much does the bus stop two blocks away contribute to the downtown economy?

      • AvatarTim Becker says:

        The West End station is isolated, and from what I can tell, always has been. And there’s no developable land around it. It does not surprise me that it did nothing for the neighborhood’s economy because it’s not connected to it. People coming from or going to the station drive east or west on Route 5 and never have to go past any of the businesses on West Main. Any developable land on Route 5/West Main St is prone to flooding. Anybody catching a connecting train is kinda stuck there. There’s no sidewalks to walk anywhere.

        I think you said yourself a few years back, the reason Main Street is struggling is because the traffic patterns changed. I think that’s true. The new station would change patterns to bring 11,000 more people to Main Street each year, simple as that. People will be able to easily walk to the shops and restaurants on either Main Street or Bridge St, both of which have plenty of space for developers to use. That’s the difference.

        To estimate $8 or even $80 per person as the only influx of revenue to the city is too simplistic. It seems to me there is a chicken/egg type of relationship between traffic and retail. Retail developers look for high-traffic areas to make money. More retail attracts more traffic. The MVGO is beginning to have an economic impact not only in the form of increased visitors to south side businesses, but with the Chalmers development, and a new construction of a small restaurant facility already in progress nearby. These developments will add to the traffic already being generated by the MVGO and Riverlink Park. I would expect the station to do the same.

        However, I think we should expect the city to make an economic case for the station at some point, not just an engineering one. Not sure if we will get both at the meeting.

  2. AvatarMichael Donnan says:

    You might also see more people taking the train once it’s a convenient link with the bus stop downtown.

  3. Avatardiane hatzenbuhler says:

    Then for the next two years, may I suggest that the bus shelter be moved to the train station and the numbers counted. Then you will get a good idea if it will increase. How many buses a day come thru the city…….maybe 4-6? Just a suggestion if this is to be the norm. The expense should be well worth it!!