By JIMMY LAWTON
OGDENSBURG – All new public and private construction projects along city streets will need to include considerations of ways to improve pedestrian and bicycle access under a new policy adopted by the city council Thursday.
Following a brief public hearing, the council unanimously approved a “Complete Streets” development initiative.
The policy is intended to improve health by planning and designing roadways that provide more safety to non-motorized travelers.
It was adopted after the city received a $7,500 grant award from the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative for a Complete Street program.
According to the resolution, the city will approach every transportation improvement and project phase as an opportunity to create safer, more accessible streets for all users.
This includes review of planning, programming, design, right-of-way acquisition, construction, construction engineering, reconstruction, operation and maintenance projects.
According to the resolution all city-owned transportation facilities in the public right-of-way including, streets, bridges and all other connecting pathways will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so that people of all ages and abilities can travel safely along them.
The initiative also requires privately constructed streets and parking lots shall adhere to the same standard.
Councilor Dan Skamperle questioned whether the policy would require the city to implement the measures even if they were cost prohibitive. He also raised concerns that the policy might impede private development.
“If it’s too costly can we make the decision not to do it?” Skamperle asked.
City Manager John Pinkerton said the program requires a review of any applicable projects to consider the feasibility of the “Complete Street” policies, but noted that the exemptions to implementing them included costs.
“We have to review it, but we don’t have to do it,” Mayor William Nelson said.
A seven-member task force appointed Mayor Nelson will oversee the “Complete Streets” program.