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Bethlehem names new planning director

Delaware Avenue enhancements top the list of priorities for Rob Leslie

— The intersection of Delaware and Kenwood has already seen improvements in recent years. Leslie, who also works as the town’s liaison for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, said the hope is to extend the same features down to Elsmere Avenue.

“Right now when you go out there, facilities for pedestrians are poor and not continuous,” he said. “If you look at the area in front of Main Square or St. Thomas, it’s all asphalt. So you have this sea of asphalt where pedestrians want to travel, but at the same time you have cars parked because there’s no distinction.”

The new planning director said the town would be looking to better define those areas. Leslie said the town meets three of the criteria to receive the DOT Transportation Enhancement Program grant. The project is aimed at improving pedestrian and bicycle safety, improving streetscaping and landscaping and adding access points to the Albany County Rail Trail. The town also meets the qualifications for the NYSERDA grant because it focuses on projects that reduce greenhouse gases and encourages alternative traveling methods.

The entire project is estimated to cost $3.1 million. Leslie said the TEP grant is for $1.2 million, while the NYSERDA grant is for $1.2 million. If the town happens to win both, the project would cost the taxpayers $700,000.

“Hopefully we’ll be successful, we think we have competitive applications,” he said.

Award announcements won’t be made until December.

Leslie said the project is important to him because of his work on the BPC and his initial work on the Delaware Avenue Hamlet Enhancement Study.

“This project is clearly accomplishing the study recommendations, and that’s always nice when you can take the study, and work with it and implement the recommendations,” he said.

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