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).
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