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Churchill: Bad roads lead to bad drivers

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Three years ago this month, Brittany Knight was struck and killed as she tried to cross the highway that divides downtown Cohoes from Van Schaick Island, where she lived.

Knight crossed Route 787 against the light, a police investigation later found, and so the driver who hit the 16-year-old was not charged with anything more than speeding. Still, officials in Cohoes — including, to his credit, Mayor Shawn Morse — realized the road was badly designed and demanded a fix.

"Running a highway through the middle of your city is dangerous," Morse said then. "787 is a problem and it's got to be addressed. We're not going to take any more excuses."

The state listened. The road, an extension of Interstate 787, is being remade into a boulevard with raised intersections and red-brick crosswalks, a narrowed roadway, a median planted with trees, and a path alongside the road for walking and biking. The overriding goal: Slowing down traffic.

This is progress clearly, and I'll suggest that the powers-that-be keep on going southward with the remake — down through Watervliet, Menands and Albany, three places divided from their waterfronts by a highway that's one of the biggest mistakes this region has known.

But that's a column for........

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