May 30, 2019 —
In recent years, Corning, NY, has taken pains to become more pedestrian-friendly. The small city has invested more than $1 million in safety upgrades to two areas with bustling pedestrian traffic.
In one low-cost improvement, Corning made the mid-block crosswalks in its downtown safer by removing parking spots near the pedestrian paths. Before, parked cars often blocked motorists’ views of pedestrians. The city re-striped to prohibit cars from parking within 20 feet of the mid-block crosswalks.
“The 20-foot distance really opens up the view,” says City Manager Mark Ryckman. “You can clearly see if someone is entering the crosswalk.” That project’s financial cost of about $14,000 was relatively low, but it did require the downtown district to sacrifice parking spaces.
“We probably lost a dozen parking spots,” Ryckman says. “There were a lot of merchants who were very upset. It is a tradeoff.”
On the more costly side were improvements to a pedestrian bridge across the Chemung River. The bridge is now a pleasant open space and attraction in its own right. It boasts benches, plantings and a mini-maze. Ryckman says he often sees people eating lunch or just hanging out on the bridge.
More on Corning’s efforts to become more pedestrian friendly appear in the June issue of Downtown Idea Exchange. Click below to learn more about Downtown Idea Exchange and other resources for revitalizing downtowns and commercial corridors.