Fredonia Complete Streets draws criticism at Board meeting
Fredonia’s Complete Streets proposals were blasted by Sam Drayo at the July 11 Board of Trustees meeting.
“Now we’re proposing to make street changes to Main Street and Water Street and to my knowledge, I haven’t seen any information on the details…or even an opportunity to be heard,” he said.
Drayo stated that project backer Susan Parker asked village officials such as Police Chief David Price to draft a letter to the state Department of Transportation, seeking a traffic study in support of the project. Parker is a Chautauqua County Legislator who represents Fredonia.
“The question that needs to be answered is, what is the project?” he said. He added that any letter drafted by a Fredonia official ought to be approved by the Board of Trustees.
Drayo, Fredonia’s former village attorney who often comments at trustee meetings, then blasted the concept of Complete Streets.
“The Complete Streets concept wants government to do everything to accommodate vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles, all at a considerable government expense,” he said. “When many purposes and uses are attempted to be incorporated in one location, something usually suffers and ultimately there’s unintended consequences.”
The advocates of Complete Streets “should remember there is also a personal responsibility for walkers as well as bikers to be safe.” He suggested the village look at laws requiring walkers to use reflective equipment at night.
“The Complete Streets folks, well intentioned people… should look to themselves to do some of the safety precautions,” Drayo continued.
He then addressed the proposal from a panel, composed of Parker and others, to reconstruct Main Street with so-called “refuges” in the middle for pedestrians.
Drayo called it a “permanent and unnecessary obstruction… Emergency vehicles, such as police or fire, may very well be blocked or stopped in the roadway and prevented from using the middle lane because of the permanent fixtures in the middle of the roadway.”
Drayo added that reducing the width of lanes will further back up traffic and contribute to accidents. He encouraged trustees to make up their own minds on the issue and not rely on others to think, or make decisions, for them.
“The so called experts who promote Complete Streets concepts as the ideal to follow may be wrong in their recommendations. They are subject to error just like everybody else is in making wrong conclusions, even though they claim to be experts,” he said.
He urged Mayor Douglas Essek and trustees to write their own letter to DOT — seeking no obstructions in the middle of the roadway.
Trustees noted that no plans have been approved yet. “Nothing is set in stone,” Trustee Nicole Siracuse said. Siracuse is one of the people on Parker’s panel.
“We don’t know what the project is yet because they were looking to the public to say, ‘What would you like? What would you not like’?” she said.
Scott Mackay, who heads Fredonia’s Planning Board, noted DOT will have the final say on any Route 20 changes. He said village officials at all levels ought to come together in suggesting a plan.
“Right now it’s just a collaboration of ideas that will be presented to the board,” Price said. He said no one would write any letters until the Parker panel, which he is also on, can consult with the Planning Board.
Holding up a sheet showing some of the panel’s proposals, Siracuse said, “This makes it seem miles simpler and miles further ahead than what we are.”