ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – One of the busiest stretches of road in downtown Elmira is getting a major makeover. More than 3 million dollars will be spent to revitalize East Water Street from Clemens Center Parkway to Madison Avenue.
At a packed public meeting at Steele Memorial Library on Tuesday, residents got their first look at three draft proposals. Officials say they want to continue a theme of improvements already done on West Water Street. The proposals include the possibility of a new median, dedicated bike lanes, new sidewalks, curb ramps for accessibility, as well as new trees, benches, and bike racks. Officials are asking for community input before approving a final design in November.
“I think what we’re getting is good, constructive feedback, some positive and some negative” said Chemung County Public Works Commissioner Andy Avery. “Some people have mentioned they don’t like the islands on West Water Street, and we get that. They’ve also mentioned that they do slow traffic down and they like that, but there’s negativity about some of the other aspects. These are things that we will take into consideration moving forward, to ensure that we have a project that really is what our community is about.”
“I like the proposals” said 2nd District Councilman Corey Cooke. “I have a few concerns about accessibility, mobility, and also what are we doing with our trucks that frequent that area? So, you know, even though we’re concentrating on the impact that it’s going to have on the direct community around it, there’s also the concerns of logistics as far as our trucks that also empower the city that we actually live in. So, we want to make sure that we’re accommodating them as well as accommodating the people that live in that area.”
“I think they have some good ideas” said Tara Escudero, a volunteer at Elmira Community Cycle. “Some suggestions I made where they have bike lanes for proposals, which we’re always, yes, we want more bike infrastructure, as a cyclist, a strip of paint doesn’t protect me and painting the road green doesn’t protect me. It makes it more visible but it’s changing the infrastructure which then changes the culture a lot of times. So having a driving lane, a parking lane and then a bike lane, which is done in many other places, those parked cars would actually protect me.”
The nearly 3.1 million dollar project will be mostly paid for with a mix of federal and state funds. The city of Elmira will pay only 5% of the total cost.
“We have 80% federal funding from the Federal Highway Agency and then we have 15% of the funding comes from New York State Department of Transportation. So again, 95% it’s just a great way for us to make the best use of available tax dollars” said Chemung County Public Works Commissioner Andy Avery.
After a final design is approved in November, the city hopes to start construction in the Spring of 2024 and complete the project just months later in the Fall of 2024.
You can watch Tuesday’s full public meeting below:
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