Effective this fall, there have been several new developments in the City of Troy that affect RPI students, from new dining options to parking meters.
The new parking meters that now adorn Sage and 15th Street will be ticking during normal business hours on weekdays (from 8 am until 5 pm). The meters were originally set for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but were recently changed by Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian after an outcry from students about the new policies. The meters were also only programmed to accept up to two hours’ worth of time, which wouldn’t be enough for students to attend a class. The system was re-programmed, after many concerns were raised, to allow for four hours at a time instead.
A new addition to students’ meal offerings was introduced this year in conjunction with the opening of the new residence hall on Sixth Avenue. This expanded plan will allow students to take part in Troy dining—with their Rensselaer Advantage Dollars, students can eat at nine different Troy restaurants, bringing students into historic downtown.
The participating businesses are Bacchus Wood Fired Pizza on Second Street; Big Apple Pizza on College Avenue; Flavour Café and Lounge on Fourth Street; Holmes & Watson on Broadway; Illium Café on Broadway; Manory’s Restaurant on Congress Street; Minissale’s Wine Cellar Café on 14th Street; Notty Pine Tavern on 15th Street; and Tosca Grille on Broadway.
The program is part of the continued effort at “communiversity,” connecting the school and the city, though not all the participating establishments are located downtown. The program follows the recent opening of a new student residential building, the Blitman Commons, on Sixth Avenue.
“The opening of the [Blitman Commons] is more proof that the young adults attending RPI aren’t just students, but they are city residents and neighbors,” said Tutunjian. “Last Friday’s Troy Night Out demonstrated that having RPI’s students participate enhances downtown’s vitality. The Rensselaer Advantage Dollar program further strengthens the bond between the school and the city.”
President Shirley Ann Jackson said in an RPI press release that with the opening of the new residence hall, “We are increasing the mutually beneficial interaction between our students, faculty, and staff and the community that we call home.”
The pilot program for Troy merchants will include only purchases at restaurants or cafes and does not apply to purchases of alcohol or tobacco. The program could be extended in the future to include other types of businesses downtown. The idea was originally brought up within the Student Senate several years ago, and has been a rolling project since then—finally completed over the summer.