North Union Street Public Meeting Scheduled|
The City of Olean has announced a public meeting regarding the North Union Street Transformation Project on Tuesday, March 18th from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Olean Municipal Building. All are invited to attend for a status update on the project and to offer feedback on street elements that are currently under consideration.
The purpose of the North Union Street Transformation Project is to address the failing roadway and utility infrastructure and to improve safety along North Union Street between Main Street and State Street. The concept for the project was developed last year and used to obtain a $6.5 million federal grant in September 2013. The project will change the street configuration to improve safety and facilitate improved transportation for all users, and to reduce the amount of stormwater from the roadway. The street transformation will provide one travel lane and a bike lane in each direction separated by a landscaped median, with diagonal front-in parking on both sides of the street.
The public engagement process for the North Union Street design project began in November 2012 and attracted hundreds of interested citizens. Since the fall, the City of Olean has been working with the North Union Street Restoration Committee and North Union Street merchants to develop and refine the design for the project and provide feedback on streetscape elements. Since December 2013, both the merchants and the North Union Street Restoration Committee have met twice and during those meetings, participants have been updated on the overall project plan and asked to offer feedback on streetscape elements, traffic control, landscaping and more. Merchant attendees have included Martin Maynard (Ask Design Jewelers), Jody Spears (Community Bank), Deb VanScoter (The Paper Factory), Mark Sabella (NeighborWorks Home Resources), Laurie McCarthy (McCarthy’s Emporium), Peter Sunderland (Five Star Bank) and others.
The Restoration Committee membership includes Mayor Aiello (City of Olean), Karen Fohl (Olean General Hospital), Jeff Belt (SolEpoxy), Sondra Fox (Fox Financial), Nate Godell (Family Partners Group), Vic Vena (Vic Vena Pharmacy), Larry Sorokes (Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce), Vicki Blessing (Park Centre Development), Georgian Fortunato (Zamias Services), local government leadership and other representatives from local businesses.
Significant progress was achieved within the past two months. Approximately 40% of the total project design is complete. Work continues and future updates will be presented to both the merchants and the North Union Street Restoration Committee in order to provide feedback and guidance throughout the design stages.
Work continues between the merchants and the students of St. Bonaventure University to develop an integrated marketing communications plan that encompasses public relations, advertising and outreach opportunities during the construction of North Union Street. The students are also developing plans for after construction in order to promote the North Union Street area as a preferred destination for shopping and dining.
For the March 18th meeting, the North Union Street design team will provide an update on the project progress and include visual materials and samples for the public to view and comment upon. Streetscape elements to include benches, lights, trash receptacles, bike racks and tree grates will be on display either in drawings or actual sample items. Additionally, illustrations of planting materials for the landscaping concepts and rain garden ideas will be provided. A work zone traffic control plan will be presented along with property specific issues that have been identified to date.
The public is encouraged to regularly check the Walkable Olean website (www.walkableolean.com) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/WalkableOlean) for status updates and future notification of meetings. Additional information regarding the March 18, 2014 public meeting has been posted to these sites.