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New State St bridge area proposal

From Cynthia Brock, First Ward Alderperson:
At this Wednesday’s (July 24, 2013) City Administration meeting, there will be a presentation describing possible pedestrian and bicycle enhancements to W. State Street, in the area between Hector/Floral and Taughannock Blvd.  This is the area on the bridge, just adjacent to the ongoing intersection reconstruction and extending to the barge canal, and is intended to address many of the issues and concerns which were outside the scope of the Floral/Hector/Elm redesign.  Please note that the map attached is not a final drawing, but an initial rendering which allows us to initially describe a possible budget.

If the grant application is approved by Council, I will be writing a letter of support to NY State for the application.  I welcome your thoughts and impressions on this project.  Please feel free to email me at this address, or my city address at cbrock@cityofithaca.org, and I will share the information I receive with staff so that we can best work to address your concerns by revising, modifying or possibly expanding the application.  Please note that improvements not funded by the State will have to come from the City budget, and will be considered accordingly (meaning: Council will need to determine if they can/want to borrow money to fund it).

Please see the memo, below, for more information, or the entire agenda.

  • To: City Administration Committee
  • From: Tim Logue, City Transportation Engineer
  • Date: July 11, 2013
  • Re: Transportation Enhancement Program application

StateStBridge1200Please find attached a proposed resolution for Common Council authorizing an application for the Transportation Enhancement Program  (TEP), and contingent upon award, the establishment of a capital project and funding in the first instance for a project not to exceed $750,000. The final cost to the City would  be 20% of the total project cost, an amount  not to exceed $150,000.

On June 24, 2013, the Board of Public Works, after considering 4 or 5 projects, recommended that the City should  pursue a project to enhance pedestrian and bicycle conditions along West Martin Luther King Jr. Street (West State Street) between Floral Avenue and Taughannock Boulevard. The scope of work for the project focuses on three main components:

  1. A mid-block pedestrian crossing just east of the bridge over the Flood Control Channel. This could either be a pedestrian activated  signal or it could be an uncontrolled crossing with a pedestrian refuge island in the middle of the street.
  2. Reducing the number  of traffic lanes from four to three (nicknamed a “road  diet”). Reducing the number of lanes will not only provide  more space for walking and biking, but it also should  reduce the amount of lane changing and weaving that often leads to sideswipe crashes. There would either be room for a wider sidewalk  on the south side of the bridge or possibly room for bicycle lanes in each direction in the corridor.
  3. Realigning the intersections at West Seneca Street and Brindley Street. The project can look at how West Seneca Street intersects W MLK Jr. Street on both sides, perhaps realigning both and reducing the westbound approach to one lane. The Brindley Street intersection could also be realigned  to be more motorist and pedestrian friendly.

A drawing is enclosed to give you a sense of what the enhancements might include. For the purposes of the application, however, we do not need to make decisions about which components should  be included and which should  not or about any detailed  design issues. There will be plenty of time and public input in the design phase. What we want to do is to make sure the budget is large enough to both evaluate  the design alternatives and to cover the construction costs of whichever  design we ultimately  choose. To this end, we have budgeted for a mid-block signal, a widened sidewalk with a railing on the bridge, and realigning the intersections at West Seneca and Brindley Street.

Much of the rationale for this project has to do with recent public input for related projects in the area. For example, during the design of the intersection improvements at Floral, Elm, Hector and State Street, many people were interested in a signalized  pedestrian crossing to get across busy West State Street, but there was neither budget  nor the proper location for a signal in that project. Likewise, some people said that the intersection was not so important as the whole corridor going down  the street. Others complained that the real problems  were not at Floral Avenue, but rather at Brindley, State, Seneca & Pete’s driveway; they felt we were addressing the wrong location.

Also, with the Floral Avenue trail nearly completed  and the building momentum for the Cayuga Waterfront Trail and Black Diamond Trail, there is additional interest in walking and biking enhancements in this corridor. This is not to mention that there are already a fair number  of people who walk through this not-pedestrian friendly  corridor, whether as a matter of choice or due to a lack of other transportation alternatives.

1 comment to New State St bridge area proposal

  • Margot Brinn

    I very much support the proposal. We live on Hector Street, have several bikers in the family and we find that area dangerous. Thanks for your work on this.

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