JAMESTOWN – Jamestown’s director of Public Works says he’s aware of recent concerns from community members regarding construction work at various street corners throughout the city to make them more pedestrian friendly and handicapped compliant.
DPW director Jeff Lehman tells WRFA that crews have been working on more than 400 street corners in recent weeks to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This involves tearing up the areas where the sidewalks lead into city streets so that the appropriate ramps can be installed.
However, many parents are asking why the work was scheduled to take place at the start of the school year, when many children use sidewalks to get to and from school, rather than the summer time when far fewer children use the sidewalks. With the construction underway at the various street corners, the children are required to walk around the projects, often times into the nearby streets.
Lehman said that he’s aware of the concerns regarding safety, but said that there were a couple of reasons why the projects were scheduled to take place now, rather than during the summer when school was out.
“We broke the project out into two phases,” Lehman said. “The first phase was done first thing right out of the gate, but the second phase was paid for by a different funding source that came out later. Between different contractor schedules, our schedules, and multiple things that need to be done including concrete cutting to save money so we didn’t have to replace all the curbing, some of it unfortunately did get pushed out past the start of the school year – Camp St., Buffalo St., and a couple of the other streets that are around schools.”
Lehman added that he has requested that crews focus first on the streets corners that are near the various public schools in the area, adding that the work should be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks.
“The process isn’t a very long process, so we just ask that the public be careful, work around us, and we’ll try to get them done as soon as we can,” Lehman said.
Funding for the ADA projects is provided in part by federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and from the state’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), both of which only recently released funding to Jamestown and municipalities.