Walkable Olean Replies

MC & BS from Olean, AK from Allegany
< prev  |  next >

MC from Olean wrote:


Olean has been the envy of many cities due to the wide main thoroughfare. It is also great for pushing snow out of the way. It is beautiful the way it is. Why spend tax dollars on such a project?


Dear MC,


You may now be aware that the City needs to reduce runoff into the sewer system and the river. This will necessitate spending on North Union Street regardless of the streetscape project.


But, if we add landscaping and permeable surfaces, we can better solve the runoff problem. By combining the projects we can actually economize on construction costs.


You are correct that the street is convenient for pushing and piling snow but recent evidence proves that village and city downtowns need to be walkable and green in order to support thriving retail establishments. And, villages and cities without thriving retail end up pushing incredible property tax burdens onto their homeowners which initiates a vicious cycle of population decline, rising taxes for those who remain behind and fiscal crisis for municipal managers. Olean is approaching a tipping point. We think we’d better hurry up and reinvigorate the downtown retail sector now.


Respectfully yours,






BS from Olean wrote:


I cannot see putting a bicycle lane next to parked cars as it would be an accident waiting to happen. My other concern is that all of the possible plans do not allow for easy access by a fire truck.


Dear BS,


The bike lane issue is certainly one that will require careful thought.


As for emergency vehicles, you are correct in expressing a concern. North Union Street is the most important emergency corridor in Olean.


By establishing four design options, all of which have at least 18-feet of driveable pavement, the plans have already recognized the need for space to pull-over to make-way for emergency vehicles.


You might also take heart in knowing that the Hamburg Village Fire Department likes their roundabouts. They are actually easier to navigate with an emergency vehicle because they do not have crossing traffic. Additionally, the Hamburg Police Department reported a 60% reduction in traffic accidents after the implementation of roundabouts and traffic calming. This is typical and expected. All four designs will be more safe and at least equivalently accessible for emergency vehicles.


Respectfully yours,





AK from Allegany wrote:


As a bicyclist, diagonal parking that crosses the bike lane is a non-starter. Of your plans, option 3 appears best, provided the bike lane actually is maintained and kept clean of debris and snow to be bike-able, and you have some plan to avoid cyclists being "right hooked" at the intersections. You do not show any of that, so I fall back on option 1 as the best choice.


Dear AK,


Experience in other places suggests that the safest bike-parking arrangement is the reverse angle format. Car doors do not open into the bike lane and drivers can clearly see cyclists before pulling out of their space.

The “cycle track” – Option #3, is popular… in theory. We have written before that other cities that adopted cycle tracks in pedestrian-heavy areas are now taking them out. They create a “bike expressway” in an area where the goal is calm, slow, steady flow for all users.


Your point about cycle track maintenance is also on-target. Cycle tracks have a problematic maintenance track record in all but the most bike-friendly cities.


Thank you for your thoughts,




Project Status
Walkable Olean Replies
Home  |  Vision  |  News  |  Events  |  Our Project  |  Shops On Union  | 
Copyright © Walkable Olean. All rights reserved.