CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – A deadline is approaching Friday for public input on a new bicycle-friendly corridor that will link Elmira with the Village of Horseheads. The current version of the six mile path would take bicyclists from West Water Street and Davis Street, which is about three blocks from the heart of downtown Elmira, to Grand Central Avenue and West Broad Street, about a block away from Hanover Square in Horseheads.
The nearly $700,000 project would include several safety measures to protect both bicyclists and vehicles.
“Currently there are both sharrows, where it’s a shared lane with vehicles and cyclists,” said Joshua Kohut, Senior Engineering Technician for Chemung County Dept. of Public Works. “There will also be dedicated bike lanes. As of now, it’s looking like some buffer zones and possibly more depending on the input and the way the design goes.”
Not everyone agrees the current design is the best path forward.
“I think it’s great that they’re paying attention to cyclists and trying to help us out and make safe routes,” said Paul Kingsbury, Owner of Kingsbury’s Cyclery in downtown Elmira. “I kind of think the route really should go from Lake Street, up through the heights to Horseheads and just stay on Lake Street because it would start that way at the new pedestrian bridge, the Lake Street Bridge. So, it makes a constant corridor right north and south. You don’t make any turns. It’s already a super popular route.”
“Davis street, down between Church and Water, it’s one way so you can’t hop on it from Water Street. When you go up past the old Booth School and Elmira college, it’s a little tight with parked cars. It’s a little hillier. It’s not much of a hill, but it’s hilly, whereas Lake Street is flat. Then you get up into the heights, you have to take a right on 13th street and go under the underpass which is a little scary. I think they’re going to address that, but then you make a left turn on 13th and Grand Central which, again, a left turn is super dangerous no matter how much infrastructure you have” said Kingbsury.
“I think the scenic route with Davis and everything might be more fun,” said bicyclist Avery Ashley. “It might give us more opportunity to venture to different areas as opposed to just a straight shot, which most of us probably do anyway. So, something different like that will definitely be more enjoyable. I think anything that gives us an opportunity to ride to get from one area to another without the problems of traffic or any type of you know, accidental anything, just to be able to ride and get there and back and have our own little route will be absolutely great,” said Ashley.
Construction is expected to start in May of 2024 and be completed by September. If you would like to submit your thoughts on the design, you can email Joshua Kohut at firstname.lastname@example.org