By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Councilman Mike Madigan said this week he anticipates a public meeting will be held soon regarding what is called option 4 of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's West River Connector Trail project.
At the Sept. 6 Town Board meeting, Madigan made a motion, then rescinded, to hold a public meeting with the state on the proposal. He proposed the option shortly after the state presented three options at a public meeting July 20 in the Grand Viking Theater of Grand Island High School. The state's preferred alternative called for closing the West River Parkway to vehicles in order to establish a multi-modal connector trail.
The state has delayed scheduling a meeting as it considers the option, Madigan said.
"The Town of Grand Island's preferred multi-use path option is Option 4," Madigan said, referring to the board's subsequent vote to approve his option, which leaves the parkway open to vehicle traffic, by a 3-2 vote.
"This option places the path on New York state property in close proximity to the service road (likely approximately 10 feet from the edge of the slow speed service road)," he said.
Madigan said that, based on review of New York State Department of Transportation standards, "it is highly unlikely that any guide-rails will be required based on proposed path placement" for Option 4.
He said, "Option 4 does not concentrate/consolidate all traffic on one road increasing risk of accidents, option 4 is in close proximity to residents' greatly increasing likelihood of use by them, and option 4 provides continued equivalent access to the river that currently exists for the elderly and disabled. Option 3 does the opposite in all three cases.
"Improved safety, improved or equivalent access to the disabled to the river and its views and maximum use by bikers, pedestrians and area residents are the stated primary objectives of this project. Option 4 is the only option that meets these objectives."
The Grand Island Town Board vote was communicated to the state on Aug. 18.
"We have been requesting a meeting with state representatives to discuss the project with them since Aug. 5," Madigan said.
With the introduction of the preferred GI plan, the state determined to delay scheduling a meeting "so they could work-up and fully review Option 4. The state has communicated they are putting considerable time and effort into assessing the feasibility of this option - a good sign," he said.
Angela Berti of the State Parks office "has committed to scheduling a meeting once this assessment is complete (soon), and once scheduled a notification will be communicated to the public regarding this meeting," Madigan said.
According to Madigan, State Parks has stated a time line for the project:
•The plan will be finalized at the end of fall.
•Design and engineering will be completed in the spring of 2017.
•Bids issued summer of 2017.
•Construction starts fall of 2017 with completion in 2018.