Weekly Feature

2018-10-10 / Local News

Kenmore and county seek public input on Elmwood streetscape project

by ALAN RIZZO Editor

With phase one of the Elmwood Avenue Streetscape Project complete, the Village of Kenmore and Erie County are looking for input on phase two, which will improve the west side of the busy thoroughfare between Kenmore and Shepard avenues.

During an informational meeting last week, Brian Rose, an engineer with the county’s Public Works Department, said the main goals of the project are to bring curb ramps into compliance with recent changes to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, expand sidewalks to six feet, add sections of greenspace with grass and deciduous trees, and redefine the right-of-way in a pedestrian friendly way.

“Right now there’s a tremendous amount of hardscape in that corridor, which is not particularly attractive, or really functional,” he said. “The goal is to soften that corridor to the extent that’s practical, and still accommodate all the businesses.”

Rose said phase two is in part an attempt to encourage use by walkers and bikers versus drivers, noting that some sections have become more like parking lots and driveways than sidewalks.

“Large areas, through time, have just become paved over, and people have been using them in ways that they really shouldn’t be,” he said. “You don’t want to have a free-for-all with traffic; you don’t want people pulling in any which way. You need a controlled flow of traffic just for safety, so some of the bigger areas that people have been using we’re shrinking down a bit.”

Village Mayor Patrick Mang expected the project would reclaim an “asphalt jungle” of sidewalks on the western side of Elmwood that are, at present, unsafe for walkers and bikers.

“People drive across them and park on them, and it creates an unsafe condition for pedestrians as well as bicyclists,” he said. “By eliminating some of the approachways, we’re actually creating a safer environment for them.”

According to Village Clerk/Treasurer Kathleen Johnson, phase two will make use of $1.34 million in grant funding secured through the state’s Transportation Alternatives Program.

Rose said once all comments from residents and business owners have been collected, the village and county will review concerns and decide how to move forward.

Those who were not able to attend last week’s informational meeting at the Municipal Building in Kenmore can still provide input on phase two, either by contacting Rose by email at Brian.Rose@erie.gov, or by emailing Johnson at kjohnson@vi.kenmore.ny.us.

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