DUNKIRK – Community members and local officials attending the Revitalize Dunkirk meeting Thursday at the SUNY Fredonia State Incubator were asked to sign letters to the City Council and mayor in support of a bicycle lane on Central Avenue and a Complete Streets Ordinance.
Steve Neratko, director of the city’s Planning and Development Office, said that Chautauqua County highway crews may be able to put new lines in place for a bicycle lane on part of Central Avenue as early as the spring.
He said the county is required to make changes since Central Avenue is designated as a county roadway.
The first phase would be from Howard Street toward the Village of Fredonia. Neratko said Fredonia officials would also need to agree with the bike lane concept.
Several residents wanted the bike lane to be extended from Howard to Lake Shore Drive. Neratko said this could be a future consideration, but narrower roadways and metered parking on this northern section of Central Avenue would make the repainting and designation more difficult.
The city has been investing in a bicycle path that is nearly complete in the Point Gratiot area near the historic lighthouse and Wright Park. Neratko said this will connect to Route 5, which already has state designation as a bicycle-friendly roadway.
Some residents also asked that the city police department become involved to promote safe bicycling and discourage children from riding out into traffic.
Andrew Dickson, from the Chautauqua County Health Network, spoke on the “Complete Streets” concept. He said pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists are all taken into consideration under such a policy.
He said his group will be working on artists’ renderings of what areas in the city could look like with better crosswalks, curbing and sidewalks that will connect businesses.
He said two areas will be targeted – Lake Shore Drive from Central Avenue toward Main Street and Central Avenue, north from Lake Shore Drive toward Fourth or Fifth Street.
Dickson said Dunkirk already has some areas where pedestrians can easily navigate the streets and that encouraging more foot traffic could be beneficial for downtown businesses.
City Councilwoman-at-large Stephanie Kiyak said she wanted to encourage residents to stay involved with the projects identified by the Revitalize Dunkirk Committee.