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This idea sounds vaguely familiar The funding for a planning and feasibility study moves it closer to actually happening. Capitalize Albany Corporation will conduct planning and feasibility studies that will ultimately result in conversion of the northbound exit ramp from I from Quay Street to Clinton Avenue to the region's first and only highline park.

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There's not a solid projection of the cost of converting the ramp to a park yet -- that will be one of the goals of the feasibility study. A rendering of the proposed park. So then the question became: We have to admit, at the time, it sounded like a long shot.

It could be completed in phases if the full funding isn't available at the beginning.

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There's a larger version of this diagram above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up. The ramp is also located at the northern end of downtown, so it can provide a riverfront connection not only for downtown, but also Arbor Hill and the developing Warehouse District just to the north.

The ramp is owned by the state, and Reginelli said they're looking forward to working with the state Department of Transportation on every step.

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And that idea happened to line up with a lot of other goals the city and Capitalize Albany have been pursuing, including taking back parts of and building better connections across the highway to the riverfront; increasing pedestrian and bike amenities; and helping to reduce storm water runoff.

Reginelli said the success of similar projects in other cities -- most notably the High Line in Manhattan -- got planners thinking about a park. There's still a way to exit via Quay Street.

DOT supports this concept, which would provide a new, vital link between downtown Albany and surrounding neighborhoods with the Hudson River and its cultural and natural resources.

How much is this going to cost? There's also the issue of working with the New York State.

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But Reginelli said the project doesn't necessarily have to be done all at one time. Sarah Reginelli -- the president of Capitalize Albanythe economic development arm of the city of Albany -- said Friday the idea grew out of the realization that the traffic numbers for this off ramp are very low -- so much so that ramp is essentially redundant.

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The results of that will guide the next steps. Reginelli said Capitalize Albany will be issuing a request for proposals for the planning and feasibility study. Upon conversion, the former ramp will serve as a promenade, bike route, and linear park making valuable connections, dramatically increasing accessibility to both downtown and waterfront.

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