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Dunkirk panel discusses more bicyclist services

DUNKIRK –The Committee to Revitalize Dunkirk is looking into providing more services to bicyclists and conducting regular bicycle tour rides in the area.

At the regular meeting Thursday in the Fredonia State College Incubator Building on Central Avenue, committee members heard from Richard Goodman, founder of Spoke Folk, a nonprofit bicycle repair and education group.

Goodman said volunteers will staff a small building near the harbor where bicyclists can come for minor repairs or safety checks on their bikes. He said there will be no charge for the services.

The building was funded by the Chautauqua County Health Network and approved by the Dunkirk City Council. Goodman said staffing and hours will be determined shortly.

An avid bicyclist, Goodman said that about one-quarter of adults in the city do not drive and that many are bike riders. He also said the city would benefit from being located on Route 5, which is part of the Adventure Cyclist National Trail and regularly used by cyclists.

The bicycling plans were enhanced by the announcement that 30 bike racks will be located throughout the city. Goodman said many businesses have agreed to have the racks installed near their doors for safe, temporary storage of bicycles. The racks also are funded by the health network.

Members of the Revitalize Dunkirk Committee asked for community support at the May 6 meeting of the Dunkirk Common Council, where city leaders will consider passing a Complete Streets Policy. Andy Dickson said the concept of Complete Streets is to promote safety for motorists, pedestrians and bike riders in city neighborhoods.

Councilman Andy Gonzales said he anticipates that there will be enough support from the City Council for it to approve the policy.

Nicole Waite, of the Dunkirk Planning Office, reported that the state Department of Transportation will be repaving and restriping Routes 5 and 60 in the city. She said new crosswalks will be installed at Washington Street and Route 5, and Swan Street and Route 5. The newly painted lines will indicate shared traffic lanes for bicycle and motorist traffic.

Shelly Wells, of the Creating Healthy Places program, said eight raised garden beds are being provided for the city to have community gardens. The beds can be rented to grow vegetables for $10 for the season. Waite said the Planning Office is currently reviewing neighborhood sites for the beds.

Funding for the beds and soil will be provided through a grant program and administered by the Dunkirk Local Development Corp.