Recent traffic accidents and injuries have made pedestrian street safety a key concern in Fredonia. Tues-day, officials embarked on a series of action steps by first partnering with a streets planner and the community.
Not long ago, Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe met with Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller, Built Environment Consultant for the Chautau-qua County Health Network, and Fredonia Police Chief Bradley Meyers. Keefe characterized Schmidtfrerick-Miller as "somewhat of an expert" on street safety design and planning.
Keefe opened Tuesday's meeting in the Village Hall with the public in which Schmidtfrerick-Miller presented information on "Complete Streets," a street safety planning initiative.
Later, she directed the residents and officials into small groups to go out into the village streets to point out and discuss hazards and areas of least concern as part of the initial stage of identifying areas for correction.
Tuesday's community engagement step is the first of what Keefe called a three-pronged approach. The next step will be public education, and finally, the physical ad-aptation of crosswalks, intersections and other pertinent safety needs as the third step.
When asked about costs to implement any plans, Schmidtfrerick-Miller said the investment could be minimal, particularly for smaller communities.
"You could go whole hog with it. You could do a community plan on your own with the resources you have in your community. That would probably be fairly adequate for any potential grant opportunities," she said.
More comprehensive plans would cost more, Schmidtfrerick-Miller said, but noted it wasn't necessary.
"You could start to pay money with something more developed, with more mapping, with specific recommendations. The City of Jamestown's plan is costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000. I don't know that for communities our size, you need to spend that much. I think a community like ours could do a lot with the resources it has," she said.
Schmidtfrerick-Miller said it's important for communities to have forward-looking plans, even if funding isn't currently on the books.
"You never know when these opportunities are going to present themselves. Two or three years ago, when the economy was in the tank, the federal government came out with what they called TIGER grants, and they were just huge amounts of money that communities got. Auburn, New York, got a huge grant to do a wide, paved trail near their lake, connecting a couple of parks," she said.
"You have to have these ideas ready, you've got to know what you want. You've got to have some ideas, so that when those opportunities present themselves, you're ready to go with them," Schmidtfrerick-Miller said.