Walkable Olean Replies

SS from Olean, LR, and JM from Olean
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SS from Olean wrote:


solar street lamps. underground electric, water spigots (many) available to water planters. salt safe trees. unsure there can be medians the whole length, but I think some would break up the street and create green spaces. some provision for hanging Holiday lights across the street. Lots of seating. I like brick pavement.


Dear SS,


Wow! What a great vision!


Brick paving remains a bit controversial in the USA. Europeans love the stuff but they have fewer heavy trucks using city and village main streets. Our design team is taking a hard look at using pavers in the parking bays in order to add beauty, reduce runoff and accelerate natural snow melt and ice disappearance.


We’ve also seen some high-efficiency, even solar-powered lighting concepts.


The street profile is just the first step in design development. Keep coming back to this website and certainly try to participate in the design meetings.


Thank you for writing!





LR wrote:


First off, I like our wide street. I dislike roundabouts. Back in parking is bad in that you must stop all traffic to back in and seniors, the majority of people here, just won't do it. The banner pix shown as the headliner for the site, looks good. My opinion, there are very, very few bike riders downtown. Backing out isn't a problem now when bike riders are there. What about snow removal? Where do we pull over for ambulances, fire trucks, emergency vehicles? What happens when a semi is delivering product by stopping on the main street because there are no back door deliveries for them? If I had to choose one of the plans, because this is being jammed at us, I would pick #4. But I like the banner pix the best of any of the 4 presented. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my concerns, etc. I appreciate that very much.


Dear LR,


Others have expressed your concerns and preference so we won’t repeat earlier responses but permit me to take-up at least one of the very important points that you raised:


Angle parking: It has pros and cons. The most important “pro” is that it doubles on-street parking capacity compared to parallel parking. That’s a good thing. We want to maximize on-street parking both because it is the most-kind to Mother Nature (takes up half the land that off-street parking consumes) and it’s best for the retailers. It brings customers to their front door.


But angle parking doesn’t work well when flowing traffic is fast or distracted (by traffic lights up in the air, for instance). It works best when there is a buffer land placed between the parking and the driving lane.


All of these plans will yield slower, smoother, less-distracted driving. That’s because all the signals would be removed and replaced with passive control devices like roundabouts. (We hope that you will develop a taste for them. Most people do!)


Three of the concepts place a bike/safety lane between parking and travel lanes. When this is done, reverse angle parking is found to be the safest format.


Thank you for writing!






JM from Olean wrote:


While I appreciate the idea of making the City of Olean more presentable, I see trouble with the reconstruction of Union Street. 1) The No.3 idea is the only one that makes sense because a bike lane is going to cause problems for backing out of parking spaces. You have a hard enough time looking for vehicles, especially when the car you are parked next to is a van or truck which blocks your vision. 2) Any design with a median would cause numerous problems for semi/delivery trucks and emergency vehicles. If you are going to have a median, no semis or delivery trucks will need to find an alternative route around the city.


Dear JM,


The bike lane format has generated a lot of commentary; thank you for your input!


As written elsewhere, the reverse angle parking is actually the safest way to conjoin parking and bike lanes for precisely the reason you sited: you need to be able to see around the big vehicle next to you in order to exit your parking space safely. The reverse format maximizes driver visibility – particularly of cyclists.


All of the “median options” provide enough pavement width for vehicles – even semis which are 8-feet wide, to pull-over and permit a first responder to pass. The roundabouts will be designed with “truck aprons” to enable the trailer to ride up toward the middle of the intersection.


It’s interesting. Roundabouts can actually make it easier for trucks to make left turns because they don’t need to swing wide onto sidewalks or wait for cars in the left turn lane to back-up in order to clear the trailer.


Thanks for you input!





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