Updated: 01/15/2014 6:08 AM
Created: 01/15/2014 3:42 AM WHEC.com
By: Melody Burri, Messenger Post
A grant application submitted in 2012 may pay off in 2014 for some students of Victor Central School and their families.
Victor Parks and Recreation Director Brian Emelson presented preliminary plans for the Victor Safe Routes to School project to members of the Town Board at a workshop on Jan. 13.
The project is designed to create 6,000 linear feet of safe pedestrian and bicycling linkages from the neighborhoods surrounding the Victor Central School (VCS) campus to the facilities that serve students in kindergarten to eighth grade and their families.
According to Emelson, sidewalk segments on Lane Road and at various locations on the VCS campus would “improve pedestrian and bicycle safety; reduce vehicle traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution; promote healthier lifestyles; and improve access for students of all abilities.”
Funding for the project, initiated in 2012 by town engineering firm Labella Associates and then-Highway Superintendent Troy Paige, will come from a $389,000 pass-through grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that is funneled locally through the New York State Department of Transportation. Although the federal government will ultimately pick up the tab, the town will make periodic payments to the DOT, for which it will be reimbursed.
When the $389,000 project was originally approved, work was to be supplemented by town Highway Department equipment and labor, Emelson said. With High Street upgrades in the works during the same time span, the installation of the Safe Routes to School sidewalks will likely be contracted out later this summer, he said.
Sidewalks will be constructed along Lane Road, from High Street to Sagamore Way, said co-presenter Chris Smith, vice president of Rochester-based engineering firm Fisher Associates.
A connecting sidewalk from Lane Road to the school is also planned, Smith said, along with another sidewalk between Latchmere Drive and the school campus. The school will maintain sidewalks inside the campus, and maintenance of those outside the campus still needs to be discussed.
The project does not address safety concerns raised by residents in the Lane Road neighborhoods to the east, who said blind curves, high traffic speeds and lack of walkways were dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.
An advisory team for the project includes Emelson, Supervisor Jack Marren, Financial Director Gloria Dutton, Highway Superintendent Mark Years, and Victor Central Schools Director of Building and Grounds Chris Marshall.
Among the questions still to be answered are whether the sidewalks will be made of concrete or asphalt, what the exact location of the sidewalks will be, who will maintain them, whether the town will assist with any of the labor, and how the project will coordinate with High Street upgrades.
The next step is for Smith to go back to school district Superintendent Dawn Santiago-Marullo and Director of Building and Grounds Chris Marshall to work out details. Ultimately, design approval will also be needed from the DOT and FHWA.
“If we had consensus from all the parties involved, I could call it in tomorrow,” said Smith. “These are supposed to be straightforward and move fairly quickly, with no environmental issues and no right of way needed.”
Public input will be sought through the design process during the first quarter of the year, Emelson said. Notices will go out to residents and school staff, and notes will go home with students. An open house will be held where people can learn more.
Emelson said he and Smith will likely meet one-on-one with Latchmere residents who would be most affected if a driveway is crossed, screening is needed, or their property is adjacent to a new walkway.
“We’d like to have this project in and done in one year,” said Emelson.