– October 27, 2014 – By Maury Thompson

GLENS FALLS — Glens Falls will receive a $480,000 federal Department of Transportation grant, distributed through the state, for a project that includes an off-road pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfare between Kensington Road Elementary School and Glens Falls Family YMCA, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

Design work will be done next year to plan for construction in 2016, said Edward Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County. “Improvements have been long sought after through the years, but with little success (previously),” Bartholomew said.

The goal of the project is to make it safer for children walking to and from school, and for children and adults who walk and ride bikes to recreational activities at the YMCA and Crandall Park.

The speed limit along Fire Road is 25 mph, but motorists frequently drive 35 miles per hour or faster, Alana Moran, an engineer with Creighton Manning, said in a September 2013 presentation to the city Common Council.

Creighton Manning proposed a combination of 5-foot-wide sidewalks and 8-foot-wide mixed-use paths. The paths would be paved with either asphalt or some type of alternative porous pavement material. A sidewalk would extend along Jerome Avenue, and then switch to a path along Fire Road, around the edge of Crandall Park. The plan also calls for an enhanced crosswalk across Fire Road, with a brick-like surface to make it more visible to motorists and installation of a push button pedestrian crossing signal. The project was one of the recommendations in the city’s downtown vision and development strategy in 2012, Bartholomew said.

The project is estimated to cost around $575,000 to $600,000, with the federal government paying 80 percent of the cost. The local share will be a combination of city and other local funds, budgeted over a three-year period. Glens Falls is among 68 municipalities receiving grants from the state program, which distributes funding the Federal Highway Administration provides the state. Elsewhere in the region, Saratoga Springs will receive $1.6 million to develop a bicycle and pedestrian trail between Geyser Road and Saratoga Springs State Park.

The state received 135 applications for grants, according to a press release. Bartholomew said state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, and Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, supported the city’s application.