Construction on new sidewalk along Feura Bush Road in Glenmont is set to begin this month after the Bethlehem Town Board opted to bond for a portion of the project’s costs.
Installation of more sidewalks in Glenmont was a major component of Supervisor John Clarkson’s past two State of the Town addresses. Last year, the supervisor said he wanted to place a greater emphasis on completing the goals of the town’s Comprehensive Plan and to enhance pedestrian safety.
The bonds, which are not to exceed $350,000, but expected to be less, were approved by the Town Board on Wednesday, July 9. The entire project will cost $450,000, with $100,000 coming from a state grant.
Last summer, the town received grant money through the state’s Local Government Performance and Efficiency Program. The town was given $776,107 for “departmental restructuring of the town’s payment system and maintenance staff.” The grant is paid out over three years, with some of the money set aside by the town to pay for capital projects and some used for temporary tax relief of the town’s EMS services.
The cost of the project does not include the amount for labor, since most of the work will be done in-house.
Town Engineer Paul Penman said construction is set to begin at the end of this month as long as the appropriate permits can be obtained by the state Department of Transportation. The first portion of the project, from Wemple Road to Glenmont Plaza, should be completed this summer.
“The only thing holding us up is there is one easement we haven’t obtained yet, and we’ve talked to the owners, and they’re pretty much in agreement,” said Penman. “There might be one block that if we have an issue with, it might hold us up.”
Councilwoman Joann Dawson joked that pedestrians may have to walk through a portion of the homeowner’s yard if the easement agreement is not worked out before installation begins. Clarkson said pedestrians are likely already doing so.
“It’s certainly a lot safer that way,” said the supervisor.
Penman said the sidewalk will be on both sides of Feura Bush. It will run along the North side of Feura Bush starting at Wemple Road, and then will cross over at Sudbury Road to connect with a sidewalk already established by Glenmont Plaza. New crosswalks will be installed to help guide pedestrians.
The town is also looking to install a water line before installation begins, so the new sidewalk will not have to be disturbed in the near future.
The second portion of the project is expected to be completed next year. Additional sidewalks will be installed along Feura Bush Road, from Elsmere Avenue to Elm Avenue.
Dawson asked if the appropriate signage would be added so drivers can get used to the change and will know they have to stop. Penman said yes, and that it would be needed since the crosswalk would be placed at an intersection, but not one with a stoplight.
“It’s a real treat,” said Dawson, who has been advocating for the sidewalk for several years. “I’m going to lose a toe yet. … I’m glad we’ll have signs that say, ‘Don’t mow people down in the crosswalk,’ but apparently some drivers still don’t think they have to stop.”
Clarkson said town officials will be talking with state DOT representative in the near future about the posted speed of Feura Bush and other traffic issues.
“It’s 40 mph now, but it’s windy and getting more populated,” said Clarkson. “So that’s something we’d like to look at.”