Downtown pedestrian project $280K over budget

Senior Traffic Engineer Michael Wieszchowski of Greenman-Pedersen Inc. speaks about a Pedestrian Safety Grant to the Gloversville Common Council Tuesday night at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

GLOVERSVILLE — Common Council members on Tuesday discussed how changes to design work proposed for a massive downtown Pedestrian Safety Grant project due to be done in summer 2020 must be made because it is $280,000 over budget.

Michael Wieszchowski, senior traffic engineer for Albany-based Greenman-Pedersen Inc., gave a presentation on the project to the council at City Hall.

“This is the $660,000 [federal] Pedestrian Safety Grant we received,” Mayor Vincent DeSantis said.

Wieszchowski went through various scenarios concerning intersections downtown and how they can be improved for public safety utilizing the grant money. Of the 100 percent federally-funded project, he said about $505,000 has been proposed for construction improvements that the city of Gloversville doesn’t have to contribute to.

But Wieszchowski also noted the grant has various requirements attached, including providing sidewalk areas.

He said the “ladder” paintings on streets installed as crosswalks this summer have been very effective. Other new traffic devices that will be part of next summer’s project will include rectangular rapid flash and beacon devices to allow pedestrians to traverse the downtown streets in a more effective and safer way.

The project will utilize curb extensions and solar panels, Wieszchowski said.

Overall, he said the project will involve eight sites – from Pine Street and South Main Street, moving north past the Glove Theatre up to Second Avenue and Grand Street. He said six traffic signals could be impacted. The Pine Street area, he said, will be a “simple one” with new Americans with Disabilities Act ramps installed at the intersection, as well as push button devices.

Wieszchowski said the project moves north to Cayadutta and Forest streets and then on to the Four Corners area of Main and Fulton streets.

“Right now, there’s turn lanes on Main going up,” the engineer noted. But he said the plan is to “reangle” the crosswalks at the Four Corners area to allow shorter distances for pedestrians. In front of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce building, he said the corner is proposed to be cut back.

“A truck will be able to make that turn a lot easier,” Wieszchowski said.

The design shows a raised intersection at Church Street near the Glove Theatre.

At Prospect and Spring streets, a wide intersection exists.

“We’re trying to straighten that out,” Wieszchowski said.

He also mentioned that the plan is to not do too much at the Second Avenue intersection because it would interfere with the existing funeral home’s parking lot.

Currently, Wieszchowski said all the improvements planned put the project $280,000 above the $505,000 budget, but the city can elect to reshape or eliminate certain components. If the Pine Street work is cut, it saves $70,000, he said. Without a signal replacement at Cayadutta Street, the city saves another $100,000 to $120,000.

Councilman-at-Large Steven Smith said the city asked GPI to “augment a few things” in coming up with its proposal. But he said city officials now need to define exactly what intersections are a priority.

DeSantis said the city “can’t really shorten” sidewalks at Second Avenue and Grand Street.

Sixth Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski said the council needs “paper” documentation of each element of the project to see what the city can afford.

“We’re here to get input from you,” Wieszchowski said.

He said GPI can’t submit a final design report until all the elements are nailed down. He also said the city can do bid alternatives to get as much done as it needs.

Wieszchowski said the timeframe is to get the design approved by the end of September, go through a roughly three-month planning process after that, and bid by February, “so this can actually be built next summer.”

By Josh Bovee

Leave a Reply