JAMESTOWN – A study will soon be underway to determine what improvements can be made to one of the busiest corridors leading into downtown Jamestown.
On Thursday the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation held a press conference at the Clark Patterson Lee planning and architecture firm on N. Main St. to announce the agency has been selected to lead the ‘Unite North Main‘ project – a study on what can be done to improve the North Main Street corridor from the city line to Sixth St. in downtown Jamestown.
JRC deputy director Peter Lombardi said that North Main Street sees thousands of vehicles on a daily basis – many of which include visitors to the city.
“The [Jamestown] Urban Design Plan and the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan both identify the need to focus on gateway improvements,” Lombardi said. “I would say that one of the strengths that JRC can bring to the table in terms of focusing on this particular gateway is that with our downtown work and our neighborhood work, we’ve been able to show that it’s not the million dollar project that makes confidence happen and can turn things around. This will involve far-ranging funding partners eventually, including possibly the state or federal governments.”
Lombardi added that the corridor study will not only identify big ticket projects, but also smaller efforts that when combined, can go a long way to improving the appearance of the corridor.
“What we’ll be able to identify through this planning process is not just potentially million dollar projects over the next several years, but also $500 projects – a small landscaping project or some small signage projects, fixing up a porch that is projecting the wrong message to those who travel along North Main Street.”
Clark Patterson Lee associate Joe Rollman said that while the study process hasn’t yet gotten underway, his agency is already aware of the unique challenges found along the stretch of roadway.
“There’s a number of very awkward intersections, which would be an extremely expensive item to redesign or rework,” Rollman said, adding, “That’s not to say that we won’t look at it, but some of these things like the awkward intersection is going to be a challenge to work with. The presence of substantial overhead utility lines is something that we’re going to have to look at and, more than likely, work with.”
Rollman said that part of the study will involve community input, which will allow not only city leaders, but also residents who live in the nearby neighborhoods, an opportunity to offer their thoughts on how the corridor can be improved.
Jamestown City Council woman Marie Carrubba, who is the chair of the city’s housing committee and who also works on North Main Street, said she’s excited to see the project moving forward.
I’m really looking forward to it. [North Main Street] has been a challenge. I’ve worked with people in the senior housing across the street and it’s a challenge for them to try and get to the Rite Aid store. I value the input of how we can get people safely back and forth. As people are aging it’s going to be more of an issue as more people are using mobility devices,” Carrubba said, adding that safety for students is also an issue. “I watch students cross everyday, unsafely in some places, so anything we can do to make it safer for everyone, and improve the looks of it, I’m really excited about it.”
It will take several months for data to be collected for the study before it can be finalized.
Funding for the study, which won’t exceed $45,000, is provided by the Chautauqua County Housing Trust, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northwest Savings Bank and Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation.