City planning committee meets, covers many issues

·3 min read

Dec. 3—The Oneonta Common Council's Planning Committee met Monday, Nov. 29, and discussed electrifying its vehicle fleet, winter decorations and some improvements to crosswalks on West Street.

City Administrator Greg Mattice said Oneonta "will be participating in a Fleet Electrification Management program offered by NYSEG. There is no cost to the city to participate in the program."

NYSEG's consultant, CLEAResult, will lead the program, and will complete a fleet electrification preparation study at no cost to the city, Mattice said. The study will identify what fleet vehicles can be switched to electric models, what the cost would be, engineering support to scope out an EV charging project and how to maximize the use of grant and incentive funds.

"As a result of our participation in this program, the city will consider fleet electrification as it relates to our unique fleet, which could include any of our vehicles," Mattice said. "I expect that we will use what we learn as we plan for future vehicle replacements."

During the meeting, Council Member Mark Drnek, D-Eighth Ward, asked if the new transit hub would have EV charging stations. Mattice said the city buses would be charged at the bus depot on Silas Lane. Drnek, who was elected mayor in November and will begin his term in the new year, also asked if renovations to the parking garage included EV charging stations and asked if the Dietz Street parking lot would get some EV charging stations. Mattice said city officials and consultants from Delaware Engineering were looking at the plans.

During a recent Common Council meeting, Council Member Scott Harrington, R-Sixth Ward, asked if a lighted holiday banner could be placed across River Street like it had been in the past. Other council members suggested putting banners up across other entry roadways into the city, including Chestnut Street and Main Street by Neahwa Park and East End.

Also during the Planning Committee meeting, Public Works Director Chris Yacobucci updated the board on the holiday lights. He said placing the four banners around the city would cost the city about $50,000. Each decoration costs $4,000, a second pole would have to be installed across the street from a current pole at a cost of $4,000 and it would cost $4,000 to hook up the electric connection and run the power to the decoration, he said.

Council members balked at the cost and asked about buying snowflakes to put on the poles to match the ones that are installed along downtown Main Street. The snowflakes cost about $400 each, Community Development Director Judy Pangman said.

Yacobucci said the decorations wouldn't be available for this year's holiday season as there is a three to six month wait on the decorations.

The committee also discussed pedestrian safety on West Street near the entrance to Hartwick College. The city will repaint the crosswalks at West Street at Clinton Street and at Hartwick Drive, Mattice said.

"We are also considering the purchase and installation of rectangular rapid-flashing beacons at these crosswalks to enhance visibility and improve motorists yielding to pedestrians," Mattice said. These are similar to the ones on the SUNY Oneonta campus, he said. The cost of the signs is about $2,000 each, Yacobucci said.

The intersection of Potter Avenue and Maple Street was also discussed. Residents of Potter Avenue voiced their concerns about the intersection, Yacobucci said. The city had put a "no thru traffic" sign at the end of Potter Avenue that has decreased the amount of traffic on the street, he said. He looked at the parking spaces on Maple near Potter Avenue and decided to move the "no parking from here to corner" sign farther away from the intersection. He also said he would contact a homeowner whose bushes were too tall to have them trimmed to the city code height of 30 inches.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.

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