OLEAN — Crossing improvements around the city — three years in the making — will move forward this summer.
Mayor Bill Aiello announced Thursday that the work for $223,000 will begin in June at four sites in the city.
On Tuesday, the Common Council unanimously awarded the contract for construction to Lakeshore Paving Inc. Aiello reported that work is expected to begin in June.
The projects include:
- A rectangular rapid flashing beacon at the crossing of Main Street at Center Street.
- A flashing beacon at the Allegheny River Valley Trail crossing on Constitution Avenue.
- An enhanced crossing with new curb ramps, curbing, crosswalk, and crossing signs adjacent to Boardman Park.
- An enhanced crossing in front of Washington West Elementary School with new curb ramps, crosswalk and school crossing signs on Washington Street.
The beacons — the same as in use at several crossings in the North Union Street business district — aim to warn drivers of pedestrians, especially in low-light situations or poor weather. Improved crossings aim to allow safer crossings, particularly for children, the elderly and the disabled.
The projects are funded by a 2018 state Department of Transportation grant. No local share is required under the grant, meaning the projects will be fully funded by the state aid.
Several projects have already been undertaken with the city’s share. The first such project was to install “bump-out” curb extensions on King Street north of Seneca Avenue to calm traffic near King Street Park in 2018. Sidewalk and ramp upgrades were also made to the trail crossing on Constitution Avenue in late 2018, awaiting for a large bidded project to install an RFB crossing system.
Common Council President John Crawford, D-Ward 5, told the Times Herald that the crossing at Constitution Avenue on the trail system has been a concern for users for years, noting many requests to improve the crossing.
Pedestrian safety received a focus in January 2019 after two women were hurt attempting to cross Main Street at Center Street. Along with the injuries, residents report many close calls at the busy intersection near the Olean General Hospital campus and other health offices.