Chief: Sidewalk construction poses risks for walkers

Amherst police chief Joseph Kucirek

Amherst police chief Joseph Kucirek

Amherst police chief Joseph Kucirek has written this update about the Safe Routes to School sidewalk project on South Lake Street:

“As you are aware, a sidewalk is being installed on South Lake Street over the ravine for the safety of pedestrian and bicycle traffic in that area.

“Currently, a 42-inch concrete barrier wall is scheduled to be installed on the right curb of the northbound lane, which will separate the roadway from the new sidewalk. Once that is complete, the temporary construction wall will be removed around Aug. 17, which is two days before school starts, and both lanes of travel will be open. However, the sidewalk construction of this project will continue from Aug. 17 through about Oct. 15. Between those dates, the sidewalk will be closed to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

“It is important for those in the community who travel that route, and in particular residents who live south of the construction area who would have their children walk or ride their bikes northbound to one of the schools, to know that pedestrian and bike space on the paved roadway will be limited, nonexistent, or dangerous during this time.

“As required by law, bicycle traffic is required to ride with traffic. However, during the sidewalk construction phase, the northbound lane of South Lake Street will be slightly narrower between the current double center line and the new 42-inch concrete barrier. Just prior to the project being complete, new pavement lines will be re-measured and repainted.

“Also as required by law, pedestrian traffic is required to walk against traffic. However, there is little if any room available on the berm to walk against the southbound traffic in that particular area.

“Therefore, we are asking that residents and parents of children not use that section of South Lake Street for pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Aug. 17 and Oct. 15.

“Parents, please plan on another method to get your children north of that area until the new sidewalk is open and safe.”

Amherst police chief Joseph Kucirek police chief Joseph Kucirek