Potsdam's Complete Streets group takes look at infrastructure
The Village of Potsdam’s Complete Streets working group gathered with representatives from Clarkson University in May for a walking audit of the village’s streetscapes. From left, William Olsen, Rebecca Weld, Ben Goodrich, David Bradford, Erik Backus (with Emily Backus), Linda Reece, Abby Lee, Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, Karen Bage and Coral Pondysh. Photo submitted by Alexandra Jacobs Wilke.
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
The group, with the help of civil engineering professors from Clarkson University, used a smartphone application to track sidewalks in need of repair, missing curb cuts and other features.
“These features are then uploaded to an interactive GIS map that the village can use to plan future projects to make our streets more accessible to all. The group also discussed challenges and opportunities on our walk down Main Street,” said village board member and Complete Streets organizer Alexandra Jacobs Wilke.
“We plan additional walking and inclusivity audits, and invite anyone interested to reach out for more information,” Wilke told North Country This Week.
The working group has been meeting regularly to look for ways to enhance and catalog the village’s street infrastructure along the state’s “Complete Streets” guidelines.
In addition to the audits planned by the working group, Wilke said Ben Goodrich is completing an internship for both Clarkson and the village this summer to map Complete Streets and biking infrastructure.
The Complete Streets Act was signed into law on August 15, 2011, requiring state, county and local agencies to consider the convenience and mobility of all users when developing transportation projects that receive state and federal funding, according to the state Complete Streets website (https://www.dot.ny.gov/programs/completestreets). The initiative presents an opportunity to expand upon existing programs and collaborate with bicyclists, pedestrians, people with disabilities and others to identify best practices and designs for transportation facilities, the state said.
Several North Country communities besides the village have Complete Streets task forces or working groups to better implement the state’s standards. According to the state, a Complete Street is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of all roadway users of all ages and abilities. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and motorists; it includes children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Implementation of these standards can make grant funding available for infrastructure improvements to the village and other communities who are adopting Complete Streets practices and planning.