BATAVIA – For several months, Special Occasions sales associate Judy Yanatov has been watching as workers rip up Wilson Street and the sidewalks outside her store window as part of the $4.4 million Wilson Street streetscape project.
She is trying to look past the fact Wilson Street and other parts of the downtown remain torn up.
“It will look nice in the end,” said Yanatov, a Batavia resident. “I think they have done a nice job.”
Yanatov and others who travel through downtown Batavia will have to put up with a couple more months of construction. With the exception of landscaping that will be installed next spring, the majority of the project is expected to be done by mid-November, city engineer Noel Basquin said.
By the end of October, the resurfacing of Wilson Street should be finished, Basquin said, and new light poles also are set to be installed by the end of the month.
The project, which started in May, remains on schedule, he said.
Improvements include wider sidewalks and brick paver crosswalks at major intersections along Wilson Street between Island/Shumway Avenue and Route 31 (Batavia Avenue), Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps at sidewalk corners, pedestrian bump outs, the installation of pocket parks at intersections, traffic signal interconnection and modernization, water main replacement and sanitary sewer rehabilitation.
By early November, motorists should find it easier getting through downtown when the new traffic signals are activated. The lights will be timed to provide better traffic flow for the 20,000 cars that use Wilson Street every day.
“The computerized system will adjust itself as the day goes on,” Basquin said. “It won’t eliminate traffic congestion, but will help manage it.”
Access to Wilson Street businesses is being maintained during the project, and the city is working to minimize disruptions. For example, the majority of utility work is being done at night.
But Yanatov said the work probably cut into Special Occasions’ business during the summer because potential customers couldn’t find a place to park. The dress shop, on the corner of Wilson Street and Route 31, provides outfits for different occasions.
“It did deter people,” she said. “There were some lean days during the summer.”
However, Yanatov said the city has tried to help by providing customers with parking at the former Ethan Allen lot a few doors down from the store.
Atchara Khan, manager of Thai Village Restaurant, located next to Special Occasions, said her customers also have complained that they don’t know where to park because of the construction.
“I think it has cut into our business,” she said.
But she is hopeful the project will make the downtown look better. Khan said she likes how North River Street looks now after last year’s streetscape improvements.
“I know they’re trying to make the town look nicer,” Khan said.
Although the sidewalk along Wilson Street in front of the Batavia library remains torn up, Batavia Public Library Director George Scheetz said he hasn’t heard any complaints from patrons. The library’s front door is on the other side of the building, facing its parking lot.
“They can still get to our front door easy enough,” Scheetz said. “We are used as a destination.”
Scheetz said he is impressed with how the project is turning out, including the installation of red brick pavers along Wilson Street.
“I think it will really improve the look of the downtown,” he said. “I’m an advocate for what they are doing. It will make it easier for people to get around town.”
Want to know more about the Wilson Street streetscape project? Go to the next Coffee with the Contractor meeting at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 1 at Panera Bread at 154 W. Wilson St., Batavia, or call the city’s Streetscape Hotline number at 630-454-2777. Project updates also are available at www.cityofbatavia.net.