The Old Elmira Road Complete street project looks to reclaim the portion of Old Elmira Road (from the traffic circle to Route 13) from the auto-oriented development that the Southwest area is mostly comprised of. Portions of the street will be better integrated into the adjoining neighborhood. Sidewalks, two bicycle lanes, and improved landscape features are being constructed to encourage pedestrian and bike traffic along the thoroughfare.
The Old Elmira Road Complete Streets Project is being funded with a $680,000 grant from the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, approximately $300,000 from sidewalk assessments (paid by the property owners), and the remaining sum from the City of Ithaca, for a total of $1.3m.
This project caused significant consternation with business owners, upset at being assessed thousands of dollars for the construction of new sidewalks. It remains to be seen whether this instigates a larger discussion about how sidewalks are paid for, with some calling for parking benefit districts to be employed (parking revenue would be kept in the area collecting the parking revenue and used for civic improvements, rather than going to a general fund).
Vitale Contractors has been working away on the Old Elmira Complete Streets project, excavating old stormwater drains, and installing new piping and precast concrete vaults, and backfilling with new stone. The new stormwater infrastructure has made it past the halfway point, and once complete, we should expect to see sidewalk and curbing forms lining the north side of the street.
The $1.3m Old Elmira Road Complete Streets Project is being funded with a $680,000 grant from the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, sidewalk assessments as determined by the new Sidewalk Policy (paid by the property owners), and the remaining sum from the City of Ithaca.
The Old Elmira Road Complete Streets project has Vitale Contractors mobilized along the north side to excavate the side of the road and install new sewer, precast concrete manhole vaults, backfill with stone, and install curbing and new concrete sidewalks. Trees have been cleared along the shopping plaza east entrance and excavation has begun at the southwest end, and will continue northeast until the traffic circle.
Vitale Contractors start work on the Old Elmira Road Complete Streets Project next week, as plans were finalized and bid out earlier this year in June. The City of Ithaca received a grant of $680,000 from the Southern Tier Economic Development Council (our EDC regional council) to complete the work. Previous City policy holds that adjacent property owners are assessed for 50% of the cost of installation of curbing, and 100% of the cost for sidewalks, but according to the new sidewalk policy, the creation of a work credit would lessen the assessed burden.
The plans were completed by the City of Ithaca Department of Public Works, and include bike lanes, new sidewalks, and curbing from Route 13 to the roundabout with Spencer Road. Complete Streets is a planning concept and transportation policy that aims to safely include all transportation users (pedestrians, motor vehicles, cyclists, people of all ages), rather than focusing solely on motor vehicles.
The City of Ithaca has announced a $1.464 million capital project to replace the deck and refurbish the structure of the Lake Street Bridge (the first bridge after Ithaca Falls, behind the high school) with an 80% reimbursement from the Federal Highway Administration, and a 15% reimbursement from the NYS Department of Transportation.
In other civic news, the primary work for the Old Elmira Road complete street project has been delayed until next year.