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City progressing summer sidewalk projects

By Howard B. Owens


Sidewalk and street replacement work on Columbia Avenue is near completion with Seneca Avenue (bottom photo) not far behind.

Five streets in Batavia were scheduled this summer for a  “Complete Streets” approach to upgrading both the roadway in the walkway.

Other streets part of the project this summer are Miller Avenue, Chase Park, and Fisher Park.  The  $320,000 cost is funded by the state's Consolidated Highway Improvement Program.

This year the scope of work includes the replacement of approximately 6,400 linear feet of sidewalks and handicap-accessible ramps on portions of Chase Park, Fisher Park, and Seneca, Miller, and Columbia avenues.

“Whenever we are able to repave or resurface a roadway, we also look at the sidewalks to make sure they are now ADA compliant. They have appropriate widths for wheelchairs and passing lanes,” Tabelski said during the May meeting.

Previously: City sidewalks, outdated lights in line for gradual replacement


City set to replace sidewalks along five streets in August

By Press Release

Press release:

To the Residents and Property Owners of the following streets:

  • Seneca Avenue (Both sides of the street).
  • Miller Avenue (Both sides of the street).
  • Columbia Avenue (Both sides of the street).
  • Chase Park (Portion of South side of the street).
  • Fisher Park (Both sides of the street).

The properties in the above-listed areas will experience a sidewalk replacement project in the month of August. The work will involve sidewalk replacements as needed, curb ramp installation, and sidewalk passing zones (where there are four-foot walks). If the sidewalk replacements go through a driveway, the contractor (Master’s Edge) will provide the residents notice that they will not have driveway access for up to a week. This is so the sidewalks can set and cure to provide strength for vehicular traffic. During that time period, if you have lost driveway access, those residents are asked to park legally on the street. We have requested the Police Department to suspend the overnight parking ban for the impacted properties while this work is ongoing.

Work is scheduled to begin on August 1, 2022, on Columbia Avenue. Work will then move to the remaining streets involved in the project.

This is weather-dependent work, so some delays can be expected, but it is intended to be completed with this project by late September.

Contact the Department of Public Works and ask to speak to the Director at 585-345-6345 if you have any questions.

Thank you for your cooperation in advance. 

City of Batavia a step closer to new sidewalks, updated water meters

By Joanne Beck


City Council took a final step this week toward getting some new sidewalks on five city streets.

During its business meeting, the group approved a contract with Master’s Edge, Inc. to replace approximately 6,400 linear feet of sidewalks and handicap accessible ramps on portions of Chase and Fisher parks and Seneca, Miller and Columbia avenues.

Work has already begun to repair sections of those streets, and the sidewalks are part of a “complete streets” program to pair adjacent walkway replacement with milling and paving of streets.

The contract is with Master’s Edge, Inc. of Cheektowaga as the lowest responsible bidder of $493,500 for the project. As part of the vote, Council also agreed to budget increases of $94,500 to each the revenue and expense accounts. State-funded Consolidated Highway Improvement Program money is to help with the remaining expense.

Meanwhile, over on Richmond Avenue, between Oak and State streets, motorists can expect delays as street resurfacing is to begin July 6.

From concrete to fluid ...
Another city initiative is to update water meters. Forget going door-to-door for readings, Water and Wastewater Superintendent Michael Ficarella says, installing radio heads will allow the readings to be done remotely and more efficiently from outside the home.

Some one-third of city meters have already been changed out for the higher-tech radio heads, and the remaining meters need to be done eventually, Ficarella said during the meeting.

He estimated that it would take up to six months for completion, as appointments will have to be made with homeowners to get inside access to their water meters. Council President Eugene Jankowski suggested that evening appointments be considered as an option to make it more convenient for those that work during the day.

Having such technology will mean “real-time” readings, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said. Jankowski added that it should also help alleviate undetected and ongoing water leaks. A message could be sent to the homeowner “ a lot quicker and sooner,” he said, improving the whole process.

Think that little drip, drip, drip won't cost much extra? A 1/32 inch drip adds up to 18,500 gallons per quarter, the city's website states. For more information about water leaks, how to prevent them and how much they can increase your total bill, go to the city's Water Leak page.

City Council voted to submit a consolidated funding application for the Green Innovation Grant Program for water meter upgrades.

The total cost is expected to be $1.97 million, and the city needs to commit a 25 percent local match as part of the grant application. That local match of $492,100 would be paid with Water Fund reserves, Tabelski said.

In other action, Council approved the appointments of Nicholas Harris, Marc Staley, and Paul Battaglia as citizen members, and Bob Bialkowski and Tammy Schmidt as council representatives of the city’s Audit Advisory Board.

File photo of a city street being paved. Photo by Howard Owens.

City sidewalks, outdated lights in line for gradual replacement

By Joanne Beck


The Batavian has been checking in with City Manager Rachael Tabelski quite a lot lately, not only to obtain updates about current and future projects but to inform Batavia’s residents about things that matter to them.

What always seems to be at the top of that list? Sidewalks. While there are brand new smooth and even walks on many streets, there are others that are more disheveled: upheaved at the corners, have cracks and other inconsistencies that can catch pedestrians by surprise at any moment. And if one section of the city is being repaired, folks wonder why their neighborhoods are being left out.

Councilwomen Kathy Briggs and Tammy Schmidt wondered the same thing during the council’s May meeting. They have been receiving complaints about sidewalks from their ward residents, said Briggs and Schmidt for the Fifth and Sixth wards, respectively.

Costly walkways ...
Those seemingly simple, square-shaped blocks of concrete — through online comments and at meetings — seem to cause much grief and anger. Yet, sidewalks are not simple. Nor cheap, Tabelski says.

“The cost of replacing a sidewalk and making it ADA compliant is twice as much as it is for the same length of the street, where we mill the street and fill it,” she said. So, for example, this year, we're going to be working on Columbia, Miller, and Seneca, right. And those streets will cost us roughly $80,000. To do the micro-surfacing on the street, and the sidewalks on those streets will cost us $300,000. So putting into comparison, the ability to pave streets, I think our DPW folks do a great job, trying to plan and continue to move street and sidewalk projects forward as fast as we possibly can with the resources we have.”

Making a sidewalk ADA —Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant takes a little extra work, with wider walkways for wheelchair access, rounded curbs and the studded metal plates that cap off each sidewalk going to a street.

“Yes, that’s one of the bigger parts of the cost; the ADA compliance,” she said. “And the concrete product that's used also is expensive as well. We do have professional staff members and engineers that work through capital plans and they are out monitoring the streets and sidewalks and they work through those plans and do the best they can with the budget they have to continue to move projects forward.”

A current pavement improvement project is at Miller, Columbia, and Seneca avenues. Part of this program includes pairing sidewalks with their adjacent streets so that an entire section is repaired at the same time, she said. It’s called the “Complete Streets” approach. The work will be funded with $320,000 from the state's Consolidated Highway Improvement Program.

“So whenever we are able to repave or resurface a roadway, we also look at the sidewalks to make sure they are now ADA compliant. They have appropriate widths for wheelchairs and passing lanes,” Tabelski said during the May meeting.

There is a capital street plan developed by city officials as they try to identify the streets that need immediate repair, and pairing sidewalks with them for work, she said.

This year the scope of work includes the replacement of approximately 6,400 linear feet of sidewalks and handicap-accessible ramps on portions of Chase Park, Fisher Park, and Seneca, Miller, and Columbia avenues.

Much of the city’s work is done behind the scenes, she said, away from the public eye and not always so obvious that anything is happening. But projects are “definitely something we spend a lot of time on in the city.” For a complete picture of work that has been, is in progress with being or yet to be done, refer to the city sidewalk map below.

A bright idea ...
Aside from huge capital projects and street/sidewalk improvements is a better light show, Tabelski said.

One by one, the city has a plan to replace the city’s traditional lightbulbs with brighter, more economical LED versions, she said during City Council’s recent meeting.

She presented a New York Power Authority LED Street Light Conversion Program. The nearly $1.7 million plan (Phase I) has an estimated savings of more than $161,000 annually.

City projects take time, planning, money, and labor, and — albeit piecemeal — they are coming to fruition, she said.

“We’re actually seeing the strategies that were put in place years and years ago, and people stuck to them and implemented them. Now it is coming to the execution stage with actual buildings going up. So I think that's kind of a neat thing to think about, for me, I was back at the IDA when these strategies were taking place. And I've been able to understand and believe in the strategy and be here to help move it forward,” she said. “So I think that's what I hope residents understand, that we really do have long-term plans to continue to bring offerings and growth into our city and make sure we keep up on our infrastructure. … and that the city's resilient for many years to come.”

Photo: File photo from 2020 by Howard Owens.


To view a higher resolution, PDF version of this illustration, click here.

Photo: Construction begins on 'Pedestrian Way' project in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


Construction has begun on a nearly $1.2 million Pedestrian Way project that will result in some wider walkways for walkers on State Street and an improved pedestrian crossing at State and Richmond Avenue.

The project includes new sidewalks on Washington Avenue and Bank Street.

Along State Street (photo), the new wider sidewalk will connect Washington Avenue with Batavia High School.

The new crossing system at State and Richmond will include audible signals for the visually impaired.

The gravel path along Richmond Avenue in Centennial Park will also be rehabilitated.

The original project budget was $1.25 million, with a Federal grant covering 75 percent of the cost but bids came in $217,000 over budget. The city will dip in further to its sidewalk reserve fund and available state aid to make the local share 35 percent instead of 25 percent.

Public Works Director Matt Worth previously advised the City Council to accept the higher bid rather than rebid the project because this summer construction costs for such projects have been increasing so a new round of bidding would have likely resulted in even higher costs.

Walking in a winter wonderland...

By Arlana Pathammavong

I have found in the past few weeks during our snowfall chaos, many things frustrating.  During our snowstorm we had not too long ago, we cannot really deny that the plows at that time did the best that they could do, and they did just that.  And at a time like that you might not expect that our sidewalks in the city get taken care of the day of the storm, or even the day after, as there was just too much snow to handle all at one time.  But just last night (New Year's Eve) I was out at 11:00 PM and there were people walking down Oak Street and Mix Place and Main Street in sections, because the sidewalks were not cleared.  There wasn't even anything close to as much snow as we had 2 weeks back.  I understand that sometimes those little Kubota type tractors aren't able to get out there right away, but you'd think by midnight they'd have sidewalks cleared.  Yes, the priorities to clear are the streets, but it is also not safe for people to be walking in the roads especially when the streets are slippery and icy.  Imagine if a car were switching lanes and lost control.  I myself spun my tires a few times and swerved to the side while trying to get through a green light.  I just think that for the pedestrians who travel throughout the city, they should be able to walk down the sidewalks where they are safer.  Simple.

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