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Work to improve Elmwood Ave. streetscape in Kenmore to begin in spring

Work to improve the Elmwood Avenue streetscape in the Village of Kenmore is expected to begin in late spring and continue through the summer, officials said Tuesday.

Bids from contractors are due by March 2 for the work, which includes new 6-foot sidewalks, new driveway aprons and ADA-compliant curb ramps along the entire east side of Elmwood in the village, from Kenmore Avenue to North End Avenue.

The project also calls for reclaiming portions of the right-of-way between the street and sidewalk that were paved over and returning them to greenspace.

The plan – “Elmwood Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements” – will not only improve the street's appearance, but also provide safer access for pedestrians traveling to a community facility on Elmwood such as Mang Park, said Village Clerk-Treasurer Kathleen P. Johnson.

"It'd be great to have a safer walkway for them, and a handicapped accessible route as well," she said.

The plan initially called for expanding sidewalks from 5 feet to 10-foot-wide pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. That idea was rejected and bicycle traffic was returned to the roadway.

"The DOT, who is coordinating the project, thought the bike lane was best suited in the actual paved area in the street," Johnson said.

Erie County maintains Elmwood and if it is re-striped, bike lanes could be added then, she said.

The village and Erie County in 2014 received a $700,000 award under the federal Transportation Alternative Program to beautify the major commercial and residential corridor, which lacks greenery and landscaping.

The village is contributing 20 percent of the project cost.

"We're very anxious to see the improvements go forward," Johnson said.

The village late last year submitted an application for another federal Transportation Alternative Program grant, which would be used to improve the west side of Elmwood.

"We're waiting to hear if we were fortunate enough to get awarded for the west side," Johnson said. "That would complete the project. That's the hope."

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