JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission met Thursday morning for its monthly meeting and got an update on the city’s effort to address anticipated traffic congestion in the wake of the opening of the National Comedy Center this summer.
City Development Director Vince DeJoy explained to commission members that the city is working with Bergmann Associates of Rochester to develop a way-finding program for both motorists and pedestrians as they navigate through downtown Jamestown.
DeJoy said the funding for the project is provided by a $400,000 state grant and a $100,000 match from the local Gebbie Foundation.
DeJoy said the primary focus of the plan is to use signage in strategic locations to lead visitors toward downtown public parking and various attractions – including the NCC, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, the Robert H. Jackson Center and more.
“The basis for this grant is congestion mitigation. So what DOT is looking for is a plan that – when people are coming to Jamestown, visitors are coming or even people who live here – how do we get them from not continuously driving around and looking for parking spaces,” DeJoy said. “There’s two strategies that we are going to be utilizing that we hope will help direct visitors and locals to the parking and to the attractions.”
DeJoy said officials were hoping to have the plan completed and implemented before the Aug. 1 opening of the NCC, but officials with the comedy center have recently requested changes in downtown traffic patterns – including making W. Second Street between Washington and Lafayette Streets Two-Way, as well as allowing for left hand turns onto Second and Third Street from the northbound lane of Washington Street.
DeJoy said the state Department of Transportation would have to review and sign-off on any such changes because Washington Street is considered part of Route 60 – a state designated highway.
“The city doesn’t have the authority to do that. It’s coming off a state highway – Washington Street – and there are some challenges that need to be overcome,” DeJoy said.
He said a meeting with state DOT officials is in the works and they hope to address the issue soon.