BATAVIA – Over the objections of downtown business owner Gene Olmstead, Batavia aldermen decided Tuesday to keep bump-outs in the upcoming Wilson Street streetscape project.
Wilson Street is the next road in downtown Batavia to receive streetscape improvements. The project will be done in conjunction with the Wilson Street traffic signal improvements, which have begun.
Olmstead, owner of Olmstead’s TV and Appliances on Wilson Street, voiced concerns about the bump-outs – a curb extension that would reduce the width of roadway that pedestrians have to cross at – including that they would cause a conflict with delivery trucks using the alley near his store.
“Unless there is a genuine safety purpose, I see no purpose for them,” he told aldermen at Tuesday’s Community Development Committee meeting.
The project, which will stretch from Island Avenue to Batavia Avenue (Route 31) along Wilson Street, also will include wider sidewalks and brick paver crosswalks at major intersections.
City officials said the bump-outs would allow the city to put more trees on the north side of Wilson Street.
“The bump-outs also serve as pedestrian refuges, where pedestrians can feel safe,” 7th Ward Alderman Dawn Tenuta said.
First Ward Alderman Michael O’Brien said the bump-outs will slow down traffic.
“Vehicles will slow down when the road narrows,” he said.
Fifth Ward Alderman Eldon Frydendall also voiced concerns about the bump-outs.
“These semis, when they come out of the alley, will take the tree right down,” he said. “For them to get in and out of the alley will be impossible with the bump-outs.”
Fourth Ward Alderman James Volk said the city should try the bump-outs and see if they work.
“If we think nothing will change, then why are we doing the streetscape project?” Volk asked. “Unless we do the experiment, then we will never know.”
A public open house on the Wilson Street streetscape plans will be at 7 p.m. April 30 in the City Council chambers at the Batavia Government Center, 100 N. Batavia Ave.
The project is estimated to cost $3.5 million, with $1.5 million coming from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, a federally funded grant program that promotes alternative transportation, bike and pedestrian travel and streetscape beautification.
The city also received $656,000 in state funds for traffic signals.