Gloversville gets $660K for pedestrian safety

GLOVERSVILLE–The city has received a $660,000 state grant to improve pedestrian safety downtown on Main Street.

The award is part of a $62 million investment utilizing engineering, education and enforcement campaigns to enhance pedestrian safety across upstate New York and Long Island under the multi-agency Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.

“Pedestrian safety impacts residents of all ages and in all communities, and it is critical that we make our roads safer for everyone,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an award announcement Monday. “By making significant investments in our roads, educating the public and cracking down on lawbreakers, New York is supporting eco-friendly transportation in our downtowns while enhancing pedestrian safety in all corners of the state.”

The city was one of two in the Mohawk Valley to receive grant funding for multiple pedestrian facility upgrades or improvements, with the other being Utica which received $570,000.

Department of Public Works Director Dale Trumbull announced the city’s receipt of the $660,000 state award to the Common Council during Tuesday’s meeting.

The city contracted Greenman-Pederson Inc. to design and develop a program for pedestrian safety improvements to apply for the grant funding in February at a total cost of $5,000.

Trumbull said the city worked with GPI to develop the plans and point out specific improvements the city was seeking to make.

Improved pedestrian safety and walkability have been sighted as key needs in the city during conversations regarding downtown revitalization initiatives.

During the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s business tour for elected officials in May, Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings led the group downtown to highlight ongoing revitalization efforts and discuss future possibilities for the city.

While crossing North Main Street in front of the Glove Performing Arts Center, Jennings spoke of the need to make the city more pedestrian friendly through traffic calming measures to make downtown safer and more inviting to take full advantage the downtown area’s walkable layout.

Trumbull said Tuesday the fully funded pedestrian safety improvements will be implemented on Main Street from the Four Corners to Prospect Avenue.

Pedestrian safety improvements will include high visibility crosswalks, reflective signs, enhanced treatments to include street pedestrian crossings, High-Intensity Activated crosswalk beacons, a raised pedestrian median refuge, curb extensions, retiming the traffic signals, providing pedestrian clearance times and upgrading the traffic signal system to include new pedestrian signal and compound indicators.

Following the meeting, 4th Ward Councilman Steven Smith spoke positively about the coming pedestrian safety measures that he said will address some of the biggest concerns he has heard during his term on the council.

“It addresses the whole problem of high speed traffic on Main Street and pedestrian safety. It’s a big deal really,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of the things that I’ve heard for the last two years since I’ve been on the council.”

Smith pointed to the HAWK beacons and curb extensions as two improvements that will help pedestrians safely cross the street.

He described the HAWK beacons as traffic lights for crosswalks that stop vehicles when pedestrians are crossing the street. The curb extensions will extend the sidewalk out into the street along intersections to reduce the distance needed to cross the street while improving sight distances for both pedestrians and drivers.

Smith said the curb extensions will reach out to the same distance as parked cars along the street without any reductions in the current number of parking spaces.

Trumbull did not have a time estimate for when the pedestrian safety improvements downtown will be made, but said much of the work involves upgrading old traffic signals that the DPW should be able to do quickly.