DiDonato Associates was retained by the Erie County Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, to design the improvements to Elmwood Avenue in the Village of Kenmore to enhance access for pedestrians and bicyclists in the Village. The condition of the sidewalks were not consistent throughout the project area. The sidewalks were often narrow and in poor condition, with areas of heaving and cracked or broken concrete. The sidewalks and crosswalks did not conform to current ADA standards. Many of the businesses have parking areas and access drives that encroach into the right-of-way and pedestrian areas, creating safety hazards. Landscaping and green space was inconsistent. These conditions made walking unpleasant and unsafe, discouraging residents from walking to their destinations.
The corridor also contains a total of 14 transit stops (on both sides of the street), with eight on the east side of the street where the improvements are being made. Most of the bus stops consist simply of a sign, with no accommodations for bus travelers. At several of the bus stops, there was no paved landing area, and passengers must exit the bus onto mud or grass.
The improvements consist of a new 6’ sidewalk along the east side of the roadway, running from Kenmore Avenue on the south to North End Avenue on the north. Excess paving was removed between the proposed sidewalk and the curb and replaced with green space, approximately 17 feet in width. Additional landscaping and shade trees were planted in this
“tree lawn” area to define the pedestrian space and provide a better buffer between pedestrians and the roadway. All work took place within the public right-of-way. There is sufficient width within the right-of-way between the pathway and the private businesses to avoid conflicts with local businesses.
The project also includes improvements to crosswalks at all side streets along the east side of the street. A total of 17 intersections were improved. The curb ramps were rebuilt at the intersections to make them ADA compliant, with new curbs and detectable warning surfaces installed at the approach to the crosswalks. The crosswalks were marked with reflectorized pavement stripes so they are clearly visible. The crosswalk ramp located on the south side of the Lincoln Boulevard intersection was replaced in order to provide more convenient and safe access to Mang Park. This park includes ball diamonds, the municipal swimming pool and the Kenmore Community Center, and is a popular destination.
Work also will include improvements to eight bus stops on the east side of the street. Paving at the bus stops is inconsistent, and is typically either a mix of concrete and asphalt, mirroring conditions along the sidewalks, or missing entirely. A clear “landing pad” for the bus stop will be installed so bus stops are clearly defined. This pad also will make the bus stops more accessible for riders with disabilities. Green space and trees and benches will be installed at each of these bus stops to make waiting for the bus more comfortable and make the area more amenable for transit riders.