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August 10, 2021 - 4:42pm

TAP grant could lead to correction of crosswalk situation on Bank Street near Office for the Aging building

As expected, the Batavia City Council on Monday night voted to pursue a 2021 Transportation Alternative Program grant that, if awarded, could spur city maintenance crews to address the inadequate crosswalk setup from the Genesee County Office of the Aging to the parking lot on the west side of Bank Street.

“It’s really not a highway project … (but) is focused on non-vehicle enhancements, which would be traffic calming and more pedestrian elements,” said City Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt during the board’s Conference Meeting. “And we would finally go ahead and try to configure a crosswalk out there.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. jumped at the chance to comment further on the crosswalk situation.

(See below -- Previously: Video: Crosswalk awareness event on Bank Street)

“Is that going to solve the problem that we’ve had where people are in the crosswalk and cars are whizzing by not noticing them?” he asked. “It’s kind of a situation that has been like that for a long time.”

Tourt said a goal is to narrow that corridor “which tends to slow vehicles down.”

“So, with the use of bump-outs and vertical elements in the way of replacing trees … and actually formalizing a crosswalk where it could make sense,” he said. “There’s a chance that there could be a change to the driveway access points to a couple of the properties and try to get those in line and then include a crosswalk at the intersection of Alva Place.”

City Manager Rachael Tabelski reported that these federal TAP grants administered by the Genesee Transportation Council and New York State Department of Transportation range from $500,000 to $5 million, depending upon the project’s price tag.

Tourt said an estimate provided by LaBella Associates of Rochester about 18 months ago pegged the Bank Street project at $1.5 million, but that price could go up by 20 or 30 percent due to rising material costs. The city would be asking for the amount of the project and would be on the hook for 20 percent of the final cost.

The proposal includes adding streetscape elements, pavement markings, signs, accessible ramps, more crosswalks, pedestrian corner “bump-outs” and/or center median refuge.

“And there certainly could be more road improvements that could go on there,” Tabelski said. “If we do receive a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission as well, this would play nicely to do the waterline (on Bank Street) and the road at the same time.

Following the meeting, Tabelski answered additional questions about the section of Bank Street between Main Street and Washington Avenue.

  • On the chances of getting the grant:

We always like to try our best to pursue grant opportunities, and we have LaBella Associates (of Rochester) helping us write the grant. We’ve gotten this grant before and we’ve been successful with it.

“There’s definitely a lot of positive attributes to the project – not only the pedestrian safety and the streetscape, but also the studies we’ve done previously where it was identified as a need in the community. The DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) had a Bank Street project component and so did the Mall Feasibility Study. So, it has been identified multiple times as an area to be enhanced with streetscape and pedestrian safety.

  • On attracting a developer to put up a mixed-use building:

“Any enhancements we make in infrastructure can be an incentive for developers to look at an area. A proposal to have apartments and possibly commercial at Bank and Alva Place is one of the long-term concepts in the BOA (Brownfield Opportunity Area) plan. So, it would be directly across from the police station. It has always been envisioned to have more downtown living near the mall campus.

  • On slowing down traffic with a new police station on the block:

“I don’t know the traffic flow patterns of where they (patrol cars) will go; it will probably be call dependent on how they will leave the station. Even now, they have to get out of the parking lot that they’re in (behind the old City Hall, next to Austin Park).

“But, typically, they don’t leave the station to go out on a call because they’re already out in the community when calls come out.  A lot of times they’re already on a call when another call comes in.”

  • On the status of the new police station on the Alva Place parking lot?

Right now, we’re drawing up the documents to put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a design and engineering firm that we hope to release at the beginning of September.

“The stages of the project start with the RFP for design and engineering, score and rank those firms internally and then bring that proposal to Council at the same you bring all of the funding information to them so they can decide to move forward.”

In other action last night, Council:

  • Approved a resolution authorizing the city to act as lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review for the renovation of Jackson Square, the concert area located between Jackson and Center Streets, next to Center Street Smoke House.\
  • Moved resolutions to the Sept. 13 Business Meeting pertaining to the rezoning of two parcels on East Main Street to C-3 (Commercial) and to conduct a SEQR for the Healthy Living Campus project of United Memorial Medical Center and the Genesee Family Area YMCA.
  • Approved a resolution for the receipt of a Police Traffic Services grant for $12,936 for details dedicated to increasing seat belt usage and reduce dangerous driving behaviors, and another to reflect the receipt of $3,000 for the fire department to continue its child safety seat program through the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
  • Agreed to not lock the Little League and Minor League fields on State Street and Denio Street, respectively, despite communication from youth baseball officials who expressed concerns about dogs leaving a mess on the diamonds.

Jankowski urged residents to respect the fields and clean up after their pets, but stated that it would be best to keep the parks accessible for all to use.

“We don’t want (people) climbing the fence to use a city park,” he said.

Previously: Video: Crosswalk awareness event on Bank Street.

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