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Higgins announces nearly $3 million in federal funding for projects in Williamsville, Amherst

by jmaloni

Submitted

Tue, Jan 21st 2014 04:05 pm

Funds will support infrastructure improvements along Main Street, Klein, Paradise, Covent Garden, Essjay, Northledge, Smallwood and Sargent

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, Village of Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa and additional local leaders announced more than $2.9 million in Federal Highway Administration funding for projects in the Amherst/Williamsville area.

"Main Street in Williamsville embodies a unique sense of character and serves as the centerpiece connecting neighborhoods, businesses and visitors," Higgins said. "This funding provides a real and substantial lift to Picture Main Street, a homegrown effort to enhance the Main Street experience."

Williamsville's Picture Main Street initiative will receive $2.5 million in federal highway funding along with a $1,172,000 match from the Village of Williamsville. Higgins reached out to the New York State Department of Transportation - responsible for the distribution of these funds - to advocate for the Main Street project to be included in the state's transportation enhancement project list.

The federal funding will allow for several improvements aimed at the goal of achieving a pedestrian centric community. These include:

•Sidewalk bulb-outs to reduce the crossing distance and allow for more landscaping at the intersections of Main Street at Union, South Long, Reist, California, Los Robles, Rock, Cayuga, as well as mid-block at Spring, Mill, Oak Grove, South Ellicott, Garrison/Evans and Hirschfield.

•Enhanced crosswalks at Main and Union, Main and Reist, Los Robles/Grove, Cayuga, Spring, Mill, South Ellicott, Main and Evans/Garrison, and Main and Hirschfield.

•Raised medians at the corner of Main Street and Evans, as well as near the library on Main Street to create a pedestrian-friendly crossing experience

•The HAWK signal (high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon) in front of the library, and new pocket park will fuse the north side of Main Street and Spring Street with the municipal complex, parking and Island Park, providing mid-block access with pedestrian refuge. This technology is widely used throughout the country.

•Storm water management featuring rain gardens or permeable pavement to reduce pollution and improve standing water situations.

Picture Main Street is an initiative put forth by the Village of Williamsville under the leadership of Mayor Kulpa. The plan features landscape and streetscape improvements, as well as traffic calming infrastructure efforts to make Main Street more pedestrian-friendly.

"We are humbled by all of the federal-level support we have received for this project," Kulpa said. "Picture Main Street is a movement, it started off as a plan, it grew into a campaign for a better way to live, now we'll see the village evolve into a pedestrian-centric community with a world-class Main Street."

This announcement brings a total of $3.3 million in federal funding for Picture Main Street, which includes nearly $800,000 previously awarded through the Green Innovation Grant Program, a component of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program funded through federal grants. Funding, which will be used to install bioretention, rain gardens and a green wall as part of the reconstruction of Spring Street, will assist with reducing existing erosion and sedimentation in nearby Glen Park.

Amherst will also receive $406,400 for sidewalk enhancements. Work will include: 1,414 lineal feet of sidewalk on the east side of Paradise Road and a portion Covent Garden; 3,470 lineal feet of sidewalk along the south side of Klein Road; 330 lineal feet of sidewalk on the east side of Essjay Road near the U.S. post office; and 1,975 lineal feet of sidewalk along the north side of Northledge Drive and portions of Smallwood and Sargent drives. The sidewalk enhancements will include ADA-accessible ramps, crosswalks and pedestrian-crossing buttons. Construction is scheduled to begin in September. The project includes a $101,600 local match.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, "Under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo, we continue to invest in projects that promote transportation alternatives and local and regional economic development. Today's announcement demonstrates the state's sustained commitment to investing in bicycle and pedestrian safety efforts to improve the livability of the communities of Williamsville and Amherst."

Last year, the Town of Amherst received $642,000 and the Village of Williamsville received $463,000 in federal highway funding for sidewalk improvements through the Safe Routes to School Program. Combined, more than $4.81 million in federal funding over the past two years is supporting infrastructure work in Amherst and Williamsville.

Higgins added, "The infrastructure improvements across Amherst provide valuable community improvements while supporting quality jobs during the construction phase."

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