City plan suggests 'Bike Friendly' improvements

·4 min read

Jun. 23—PLATTSBURGH — The city announced "Bike Friendly Plattsburgh," a plan designed to pedal the Lake City towards a more bikeable community.

Just under 50 pages in total, the report was penned using local, state and regional data, as well as input from about 400 residents collected via a virtual survey in May.

The three-phase plan, recently presented to the Plattsburgh City Common Council by Community Development Office staff, highlights 31 sections of city thoroughfares in need of some bike-friendly attention and pitches solutions to get them there.

"The city's goal is to develop 'bike friendly' streets to provide safe and equitable movement of people of all abilities via a network of sharrows, bike lanes, bike boulevards, multi-use paths all connected to move people where they need to go within a reasonable distance," the Community Development Office told the Press-Republican.

"At only five square miles, a well-designed bike network will connect every corner of the city within a accessible ride."

BIKE BENEFITS

In presenting the plan to councilors, Malana Tamer, the city's former planner who stepped down from her post shortly thereafter, discussed the benefits of cycling, like fostering vibrant neighborhoods, supporting green initiatives and keeping individual's healthy.

She also noted its benefits as a more affordable and accessible transportation option, saying, through her research, she discovered the average American spent about $10,000 per car annually.

"The average annual income in the City of Plattsburgh is 20% lower than the state average," she said. "So, I think it is super important for the city to address equity in the city and prioritize a multi-modal transportation system to get people going where they need to go."

PHASE I

Bike Friendly Plattsburgh's initial phase focuses on retrofitting existing infrastructure and adding bike lanes and sharrows, or a shared-use lane with automobiles, where needed.

Sharrows were in this phase suggested for sections of Court, Dock, Draper, Elizabeth, Green, LeBlanc, North Catherine and Oak streets, as well as George Angell Drive. Five-foot-wide bike lanes were recommended for sections of Margaret Street, Prospect Avenue and Park Avenue West.

The latter was identified as a potential bicycle boulevard, which, according to the report, would use signs, pavement markings and speed and/or volume management measures to promote low motorized traffic volumes and speeds, giving cyclists a safer, more convenient option to busy streets.

"Obviously people want to ride Cornelia Street because of its direct connections to the Commercial District, but it's not safe." Tamer said. "The average traffic volume is 12,700 cars a day, so the bike boulevard will redirect that traffic. . . to still get people to where they want to go."

Phase I's striping, labor and signage is estimated at $40,000, plus ongoing maintenance costs.

PHASE II

Roads "key to connectivity," but, for the most part, without existing bike infrastructure were identified in Phase II.

On the list were sections of New York Road, Peru Street, Rugar Street, South Catherine Street and South Peru Street.

For various reasons, the roadways require reconstruction, signage and/or other safety improvements to add dedicated bike lanes or sharrows.

South Catherine Street is highlighted as a priority for this phase. It's referred to as an important connector between the south Plattsburgh neighborhoods and the rest of the city, and reportedly has the highest number of bicycle accidents in the City of Plattsburgh.

PHASE III

The final phase identifies streets in need of major reconstruction or other safety and/or pedestrian accommodations to make way for bike-friendly improvements.

Several sections of Boynton Avenue, Broad and Cornelia streets are all without existing bike infrastructure and highlighted for major improvements in this phase.

Among the recommendations is a cycle track, or a bike lane with a physical barrier to protect bikers.

TIMELINE

According to the report, Phase I would be best constructed within the next one to two years to provide north/south and east/west connectivity to traffic generator destinations, mainly schools and recreational spots within the city. While Phases II and III are recommended during capital improvement planning and grant cycle review to be completed within the next five to 10 years.

Additional public feedback and possible funding opportunities, like local, state, or regional grants, were expected to further refine the plan and guide that implementation timeline.

If the council decides to move forward with the plan, the Community Development Office said there were several avenues for grant opportunities and hoped Bike Friendly Plattsburgh would be incorporated into future road infrastructure projects.

Email McKenzie Delisle:

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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