OSWEGO, NY – City, county officials and several others got the first look Monday night at Oswego’s main street’s tentative revival plans.
Kimberly Baptiste, AICP project manager, for Bergmann Associates, the project consultant, presented the firm’s overview of the potential revitalization of the Port City’s main street.
“Beautifying our main corridor is a top priority of my administration,” Mayor William Barlow Jr. said.
He called the plan an “exciting first step of initiating the long overdue process of beautifying the Route 104 corridor.”
Planning and Zoning Director Amy Birdsall thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo (Cleaner, Greener Communities Initiative) for awarding Oswego a $225,000 grant through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to prepare the revitalization plan.
“We’re committed to implementing the plan of the community to increase the quality of life in Oswego,” she said. “The 104 streetscape revitalization project is important because 104 is our main street. And, it’s our first impression. We need a main street that is friendly.”
The multi-year project will encourage private investment in homes and businesses; it’ll increase property values and it will increase business, she added.
Birdsall will be leading the project and working with Bergmann, community residents, business owners and elected officials to develop a plan that will catalyze the revitalization of Oswego’s thoroughfare.
They will bring a myriad experts into play along with the local stakeholders to devise the best possible plan for Oswego, Baptiste said.
A “Complete Streets” project is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of all roadway users of all ages and abilities, she explained.
That includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders and motorists; including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Some of the things they will consider going forward with the plan are sidewalks, bike lanes, paved shoulders, bus lanes, pedestrian amenities, traffic calming areas and more.
“A complete street is safe, accessible, and comfortable,” she said. “They help resolve transportation conflicts, contribute to a vibrant economy, improve safety, encourage healthy lifestyles and contribute to an improved environment.”
Increased property values would also result from the project, Baptiste said.
Nationally, the average increase in home value is 11 percent, she said.
“In Oswego, this would equate to $9,000,” she added.
Several other places are doing Complete Streets projects. In New York State, 84 communities have adopted resolutions or policies for Complete Street projects as well as nine counties.
According to Baptiste, the project approach will be:
– Innovative community engagement strategy
– Position the city for funding – implementation oriented
– Achieve stormwater management goals and objectives
– Direct land use policy and site design guidelines
– Help to tell Oswego’s unique story
– Recognition that the corridor must serve a diversity of users – modal shifts, traffic calming
Throughout 2016, plans will be developed to re-imagine the streetscape.
The existing conditions report will be conducted this spring followed by a design alternatives report in late summer.
A preferred concept report will be made during the winter and the Complete Street plan could be started around March 2017.
The final plan would likely include the redesign of sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, light posts, materials, trees, landscaping, and benches, along the entire 3.5-mile stretch of Route 104 through the city, according to Baptiste.
There are a lot of transitions along Route 104, she noted. It includes the college area, downtown, some residential and (big box type) businesses.
Some concerns raised by residents Monday night included were questions regarding snow removal and possible inclusion of rest areas for tractor-trailer drivers.
There are various opportunities and issues that will continue to be addressed as the project unfolds, Baptiste said.
Among the stakeholders offering input are the city and county, SUNY Oswego, Operation Oswego County, the chamber, Oswego Health and NYS DOT as well as others.
There will be several opportunities for community engagement in the design process during the coming months.
The city will contract out for the construction work for what will likely be a multi-million venture.
State and federal grants will be sought to help defray the cost.
The public can follow the progress of the plan on-line (on the city’s website, as the project begins) as well as at future meetings with Bergmann Associates.
For more information, call Birdsall at 342-8154.