Press-Republican

January 8, 2013

Sidewalks to be safer for kids

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — Elementary students who walk to school in Saranac Lake and Malone will have better sidewalks to use in 2014.

Jamie Konkoski, project manager for the North Country Healthy Heart Network, secured more than $505,000 in three applications to the Safe Routes to School program through the State Department of Transportation.

The first grant, for $309,439, will build new sidewalks in Malone on both sides of the street from St. Joseph’s Elementary School on Elm Street to the intersection with Raymond Street, in conjunction with the Malone Complete Streets Partnership.

The second, for $133,900, will rebuild sidewalks in Saranac Lake at Petrova Elementary and Middle School, connecting with Algonquin Apartments along Olive Street, Broadway, William Street and Lake Street from Mulflur Road to Route 3.

“There is a short segment of sidewalk there, but it leaves kids out in the open,” Konkoski said.

EDUCATION COMPONENT

The work folds into the Saranac Lake Master Plan and keeps with its goals for better pedestrian and sidewalk access through the village.

Construction on these projects will probably not begin until the spring of 2014 since it is federal funding administered by the state and passed down through the Franklin County Highway Department, Konkoski said.

The third grant, for $61,750, will be for educational and encouragement projects the schools will conduct to teach children sidewalk and road safety.

That can include the proper way to cross the street and at crosswalks and ways to stay safe, whether they’re walking to school or riding a bicycle.

Kronkoski said the schools will hold bike rodeos and give away free bike helmets in conjunction with the County Traffic Safety Board.

And they will work closely with the County Public Health Office and the Petrova Parents Club on child-safety measures.

PARTNERSHIP

The program funding does not require a local match, so neither the schools nor the communities will be chipping in any money toward it.

Konkoski said she was able to make her applications stronger by melding the safety needs with existing master plans and community-project designs already started.

“These funds were not from a random application. This was a result of a group of partners building bike and pedestrian projects over time.

“They have worked on plans for years, knowing there was going to be federal money made available,” she said.

Email Denise A. Raymo: draymo@pressrepublican.com