By Rich Place
Community members, including the Springville Village Board, on Monday heard a presentation on the $434,000 Springville Bike-Walk Enhancement Project designed to improve several sidewalks and bicycle routes throughout the village.
The project is highlighted by an estimated $363,000 in improvements to Maple Avenue, most notably adding a sidewalk and upgrading the culvert at Spring Brook between Colonial Drive and Spring Street. Parts of the street, a popular route for students, would also see new sidewalks and crosswalks.
Also included in preliminary plans are bicycle enhancements that would place six wooden bollards in Shuttleworth Park and 10 bicycle racks throughout the village.
A handful of other bid alternates — should funding remain after the Maple Avenue improvements and bicycle enhancements — include upgrades on Newman Street, adding space between the sidewalk and South Buffalo Street near Springville Youth Inc. and planting trees.
The public is invited to provide comment on the preliminary plans — which were presented Monday and are now available at the village offices — through April 17 before a final design is submitted to the state.
“Nothing has been finalized and this is the opportunity for us to take your comments into consideration before construction plans are finalized,” said Phil Galbo, chief operations officer for Watts Architecture and Engineering, which hosted the presentation.
Mayor Bill Krebs said Watts Architecture and Engineering beat three other state Department of Transportation-approved engineering firms for the project. The grant is funded 80 percent by federal money through the state DOT as part of the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Galbo said.
He credited village administrator Liz Melock and Department of Public Works superintendent Ken Kostowniak for helping the village obtain the funding for the improvements.
“They competed against communities all across New York state, so it’s quite an achievement for them to have been awarded this funding,” Galbo said. “It’s a highly competitive process, so well done to them.”
Maple Avenue Improvements
The majority of the presentation Monday concerned improvements on Maple Avenue, which will utilize the bulk of the funding.
The project is highlighted by extending the existing culvert that carries Spring Brook under Maple Avenue — located between Colonial Drive and Spring Street — to allow for a new sidewalk on the south side of the street.
There is currently no sidewalk on either side of the street at the culvert since the north sidewalk was abandoned and is now closed.
“That leaves an unsafe condition for pedestrians that want to walk down the street, especially all the students who walk from the elementary school,” explained Alexis Sigeti of Watts Architecture and Engineering. “I know a lot of them use Maple Avenue to get home, and they are forced to walk in the street in this location.”
The anticipated construction would take about a month to build a headwall at the south ends of the existing culvert pipes and backfilling behind the headwall, Sigeti said. A detour would be posted.
Chris Cerrone, a nearby resident and member of the Springville-Griffith Institute School Board, noted it would be best to have the construction carried out when school is not in session to avoid students and buses having to use the detour.
Other work on Maple Avenue would construct roughly 1,260 feet of new sidewalk on the north side of the street from Spring Street to Elm Street and from Hilltop Drive to Newman Street. A section from Elm Street to Hilltop Drive would remain without sidewalk due to a large bank and mature trees in that section, Sigeti said.
Instead, crosswalks would be added to encourage students to cross the street at specific locations. About 320 feet of new sidewalk would also be added from the existing sidewalk near the Boys and Girls Club to Spring Street, including over the reconstructed culvert.
Kostowniak noted application for a separate grant to remedy the abandoned and closed sidewalk on the north side of the Maple Avenue culvert is also in the works and ensured, “it’s not ignored, it’s still in progress.”
Other Project Alternatives
Galbo noted, according to estimates, about $52,000 would be left after the improvements to Maple Avenue plus miscellaneous bicycle enhancements. Should bids come back favorable, that figure could be even higher.
Galbo and Sigeti outlined four bid alternates that could be added to the overall project: improvements to Newman Street, Franklin Street, tree plantings and improvements to North and South Buffalo streets.
Improvements on Newman Street could include 645 feet of new sidewalk on part of its east side and correct a drainage issue at Newman and Elm streets by raising 60 feet of sidewalk and installing French drains at the location.
On Franklin Street, work could include curb ramps and crosswalks at Central Avenue. Another bid alternate estimates the planting of about 30 trees throughout the village, with locations to be determined after discussion with homeowners, Kostowniak said.
Much discussion was also held with community residents, including a nearby property owner, about potential work on South Buffalo Street that would move the sidewalk about five feet away from the roadway from Springville Youth Inc. to Woodward Avenue.
“I think one of the reasons that was identified by the village for improvement was because the sidewalk is right on the edge of (the street) and there is no curb there, no barrier,” said Galbo. Such an improvement is part of the fourth bid alternate, which Galbo said was listed by priority.
All areas expected to see work — including Maple Avenue and spanning to the bid alternates — would also see bike share-the-road signs and sharrows, which are bike symbols with two wide arrows painted on the road to enforce the share-the-road mentality with drivers.
Members of the public interested in expressing comments about the proposed project can submit comments through the village office through April 17. A more detailed plan, as well as drawings of projected work, are available at the village office at the corner of North Buffalo and Main streets.
Melock, the village administrator, said comments can be handwritten and dropped off at her office or in the payment box outside the municipal building at the corner of North Buffalo and Main streets. They can also be mailed to her attention at PO Box 17, 5 W. Main St., Springville NY 14141 or emailed to email@example.com.
“After this two-week comment period, we’ll take all the comments, review them, incorporate them into the preliminary design to the extent we can” and eventually submit for approval to the state DOT, Galbo said.
After subsequent village approval, bids would be accepted and the project could move forward. The current timeline has construction taking place beginning in July.
“We’re excited to be a part of this project,” Galbo said. “We have been part of projects like this in the past for other municipalities, and we know from experience that they can make a big impact on a community.”