Team to tackle Bethlehem corridor

A section of Delaware Avenue from the Four Corners to Elsmere Avenue will be under review according to a Memorandum of Understanding between the town and the Capital District Transportation Committee.

The Delaware Avenue Hamlet Study is to encourage compact mixed-use commercial and residential development and redevelopment, said Mike Morelli, assistant economic development director.

Morelli said making Delaware Avenue more pedestrian friendly through a main street approach is one of the goals.

The cost of the study is $75,000, with the town chipping in $30,000 and the Capital District Transportation Committee underwriting the rest.

The actual study area begins at the Kenwood Avenue Four Corners and proceeds to Elsmere Avenue. It will also include Hudson Avenue to the north and Herber Avenue to the south. A committee will be appointed by the town in the next month to be a part of the study team.

The idea here is to work with residents and businesses to establish a vision for that piece of corridor, said David Jukins, of CDTC.

Jukins said the study would develop a land-use vision that will have better pedestrian connections and minimal impact.

"The idea is a visionary exercise -- what do we want this part of the community to look like?" said Jukins.

Marty DeLaney, president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce views the study as an enhancement of the work by many groups including the town, NYSDOT, and the chamber business community to make the Four Corners more attractive.

"It's another good addition to making our business community attractive and pedestrian friendly," DeLaney said.

Town planning board chair Parker Mathusa believes the study is important for future development.

"This is an entrance into the community and will become more important as the town develops," said Mathusa.

Town board member Sam Messina said the Delaware Avenue study is now the third being undertaken by the town, including the Route 9W corridor study and the local waterfront study.

"Delaware Avenue is an entry way to Bethlehem that needs to be put in the right tone," said Messina.""

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