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Walnut Street reconstruction — further explained

By Philip Anselmo

Since more than a few folks have taken interest in the proposed roundabout for Walnut Street, we have put together some more information passed on by City Council President Charlie Mallow.

From a press release issued by the city:

The Walnut Street Project will involve the complete removal and reconstruction of the roadway, starting at the south City line and extending north to the Oak Street intersection. A modern roundabout will be installed at the Pearl/Franklin/South Main intersection. Additional infrastructure upgrades will include the replacement of curbing, the City of Batavia’s water main, sidewalks, driveway aprons, drainage structures, and street lighting. In addition, stabilization of the Tonawanda Creek stream bank, as well as a variety of landscaping improvements will be included in the project’s scope.

In preparing their construction schedule, CATCO has chosen to compress the roundabout and major street reconstruction work into the 2009 season.

Work that will be performed this year will include: utility relocation, drainage improvements, water main replacement, stream bank stabilization, railroad crossing replacement, building demolition.

City Manager Jason Molino says in the release that CATCO has split up the work over the two seasons to "minimize disruptions to the normal traffic flow ... and most importantly, lessen the project's impact on local residents."

The Batavian left a message for Molino to find out how postponing the major work until next year will "minimize disruptions" — wouldn't two years of work be more disruptive than finishing the project in a single season, for instance. We also plan to ask Molino how the project originated and was approved by City Council as there seems to have been some opposition to the roundabout, as noted in a survey conducted by the Batavia Area Jaycees in 2007. What was most shocking about the results of the survey was that many people did not even seem to know about the project.

The City plans to hold a public information meeting in February 2009 to review the construction schedule, work phasing, and proposed detours with local residents. The exact time and location of this meeting will be provided at a later date.  The City will also distribute project informational flyers to local residents on a quarterly basis.

If you have questions about the project, there are a few people you can contact:

  • Sally Kuzon, assistant city manager: (585) 345-6325
  • Larry Klotzbach, project engineer: (585) 259-0506
  • Dave Curtis, project superintendent: (716) 481-0571

UPDATE: City Council President Charlie Mallow notified The Batavian that, in fact, several public meetings were held about the construction of the roundabout, several stories about it appeard in the Daily News, and nobody contacted him or the council to voice their opposition to the project.

I have never received a negative phone call or any interaction that I can conclude as being negative towards going forward with a roundabout. In fact, its the opposite, people on Walnut want to know when they are getting their promised repairs. There was no opposition that I am aware of at all. People in the area are rightly concerned about timetables and how they are going to live and run their businesses in a construction site. All of that is being worked out and will be worked out before the work has started.

I must admit that I was a little surprised to hear that people disliked the idea of a roundabout. I am not a native of Batavia, and the first few times I drove down Oak Street to get through to Pearl Street, I was quite confused on how to maneuver the street connections there. What about you? Will you be glad to see a roundabout?

Russ Stresing

I've had the experience of making the left turn onto 98 past the bridge while keeping an eye peeled for traffic coming around the curve on 33. Same with trying to cross from 98 South onto South Main Street. That's a heart-pounder during rush hour, getting across all four lanes with a nearly blind curve on one side and an obstructed view on the other. The change is needed and looks like a reasonable design.

Jul 23, 2008, 5:09pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

Charlie,I emailed you and said i was not for the round about..thats alot of taxes dollars for something that has worked all these you have any police reports of accidents thru the years,why now is this needed. ..doesn't matter if the money is mostly coming form the state. Still our tax dollars are being spent on something that is working.The city still has to spend money on it..I was just reading were the city population is down to 15,200 from 15,955 in 2002..what does this tell you..the tax base is shrinking...who will pay for all these items...There is no more money to spend....if its that big of a deal put up a stop light...or so that to easy...

Jul 23, 2008, 6:33pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

I do remember your email about the cost. My stand is the same as before, it's a state road. The state says it's time to fix it and their picking up the tab. I'm not going to stand in their way and make our residents suffer because I want to make a point about state spending. I work for this city only.

Turning down that money doesn't save it, the state just spends it somewhere else.

Jul 23, 2008, 7:27pm Permalink
John Roach

I see the Roundabout as part of rebuilding Rt 98, south. The street is shot and needs to be rebuilt. We have been paying high gas taxes and car registration fees with the State saying the money would be used just for this type of project.

Jul 23, 2008, 7:27pm Permalink

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