Area residents want more opportunities to walk and bike around the city.
Local cyclists, city officials and community members packed the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center on Monday evening to review and discuss a draft of the City of Jamestown Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan.
The focus of the plan is finding out how to safely and comfortably connect key destinations such as schools, shopping, services and parks with neighborhoods and downtown Jamestown.
Local cyclists, city officials and community members packed the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center Monday evening to review and discuss a draft of the City of Jamestown Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan.
P-J photo by Hilary Scott
John Buerkle, a consultant from Pashek Associates, who drafted the plan, said that the number of people that attended the public input meeting really shows how interested the community is in safer pedestrian and bicycle travel.
"Jamestown has a tremendous opportunity to not only make walking and bicycling safer and more accommodating, but to also really take and shift the mode of travel from the automobile phase to people being interested in active living and healthy lifestyles," he said.
The plan is being coordinated by the Chautauqua County Health Network's Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play project as part of its efforts to promote active transportation as a key component of healthy lifestyles. CHP is funded through the New York State Department of Health.
"We know that if the city is more walkable and bikeable that will encourage the community to go out and be more active and we are focused on the public health aspect of chronic disease prevention," said Janet Forbes, CHP project coordinator. "Having this plan in place is going to be helpful for substantiating the need for funding and what the next steps are."
Before the meeting, there was a walking and biking mini-expo, featuring booths from local organizations and businesses, including Hollyloft, Chautauqua Striders and Jamestown Cycle Shop. Team Hollyloft stopped on their weekly bicycle ride, lined their bikes up outside and came to the expo to show their support for a bicycle plan in the city.
"It's not about how many people are doing it, but about how many people would do it if they felt comfortable and safe doing it. Hopefully, the city starts to buy into the plan that we've created so that they can really grow the potential they have already," said Mike Kotyk, Pashek Associates consultant.
The consultants presented the draft, which was created after extensive field views were conducted throughout the city, the data was reviewed and focus group meetings and key person interviews were conducted.
The plan is made up of three smaller plans: an intersection enhancement plan, a bicycle network vision plan and a pedestrian network vision plan. The plan suggests 35 intersection improvements, 110 pedestrian improvements and more than 50 bicyclists improvements.
Bicycle plan improvements include adding bike lines, created buffered bike lanes, making a cycle track and adding markings on roadways where bikes and automobiles share the road. Some of the suggested pedestrian plan improvements are filling the gaps in areas without sidewalks, connecting the riverwalk with the Chadakoin River trail and implementing safe routes to school. Intersections plan improvements include increase markers and signage at crosswalks, more visible crosswalk painting, countdown timers and safer curb cuts.
The improvements range from low cost to high cost and vary on implementation time scale. To highlight some of the low-cost improvements, the consultants created a "quick success list," which included things like a walk and bike website, education outreach, maps, pamphlets, striping and markings and signage.
Pashek Associates created a detailed list of goals and action plans for obtaining those goals, as well as a timetable for achieving those goals.
After the presentation, attendees supplied feedback and suggestions, including addressing snow removal issues, adding benches, speed enforcement concerns and the need for education to create awareness. Overall, there was not any negative feedback and only a few suggestions.
The consultants will take into account the public feedback from the input meeting, revise the draft and it will eventually be posted on Chautauqua County Health Network website.