Dewitt Residents can Have Their Say on Pedestrian, Bike, Recreation Trail Improvements
Dewitt residents have a chance to have a say in how the town improves pedestrian safety. A new initiative hopes to make it easier to get around by foot, by bike, stroller or whatever.
Meghan Scott has lived in Dewitt for years on one of many residential streets without a sidewalk or much shoulder. She’s noticed an increase in traffic volume and speed -- not great for her young family that likes to get outside.
“Play in the yard, stroll and bike and walk. I’d like to be able to just step outside my door and walk down the road safely with my family, and teach my kids how to ride their bikes and have them to be able to ride to friends. I’d like to be able to Trick-o-Treat in our neighborhood and meet with other families. It’s not exactly easy to do right now.”
Scott agreed to join a committee to work on an initiative called Moving Dewitt to identify improvements for pedestrian travel.
When the Town of Dewitt was developed and expanded, some neighborhoods were built with nice sidewalks…while others kept a more rural feel…and others catered to people who primarily got around by car. So pedestrian safety and ease of movement was not always in the forefront. Now officials, such as Planning Director Sam Gordon want to hear how people think it could be better.
“On this street I’d like to see a sidewalk, or on this street we should have a bike lane, or this intersection is really difficult to cross. So that we start to build a picture of what the town can do better. At the same time we’re starting to look at other communities so that we make sure we’re grounding whatever we propose on what’s worked elsewhere.”
The town came up with an initiative called Moving Dewitt where they’re soliciting public feedback at forums…by social media using the hashtag #Moving Dewitt… or whatever means. Town Board Member Kerin Rigney wants to consider all the different needs and desires of people looking for safer ways to get around.
“We need to find out from the residents what their pedestrian needs are. Do they do it for recreation? Do they do it because they prefer to get the exercise? Do they do it to save gas? And we need to hear form people who are for it and are really hesitant to have this happen.”
Rigney recalls hearing from some who might not want their taxes used for sidewalks or bike paths. Others she says, just aren’t used to having people they don’t know walk or bike past their homes.
MOVING DEWITT PUBLIC FORUM SCHEDULE:
Feb 25, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Moses DeWitt Elementary Cafeteria 201Jamesville Road DeWitt Mar 11, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Park Hill School Room 105 303 Roby Ave East Syracuse Mar 18, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Jewish Community Center Auditorium 5655 Thompson Road DeWitt
Their process will start with soliciting ideas and thoughts…then coming up with some proposals – and getting more public feedback. Finally they’ll have a plan of action with specific projects. Officials say the town has terrific neighborhoods…but it’s not always easy to get from on to another, or to access recreation such as the Erie Canal trails, other parks and local businesses. They hope “Moving Dewitt” can help.