The Ithaca Town Board voted Jan. 13 to accept a grant of $76,000 from the New York State Department of Transportation to conduct a Pedestrian Corridor Study on Danby Road.
In recent years, several pedestrians along Danby Road have sustained injuries, prompting concern among the public and the authorities, and providing reason for the study.
Susan Ritter, director of planning for the Town of Ithaca, said the study will be conducted along 8,600 feet of Danby Road in front of Ithaca College, from the boundary line for the Town of Ithaca by Rogan’s Corner to the intersection with King Road by the Country Inn & Suites. According to the project proposal submitted in February 2013, the objective of the study is to gather facts to determine the best way to safely accommodate pedestrians walking on Route 96B. This project is the first step in the process, which includes preparing for planning the design, funding and construction in the future.
The project has been incorporated into the Transportation Improvement Program for 2014–18, Ritter said. TIP is run by the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, an organization that works with transportation planning throughout Tompkins County.
Ritter said adding pedestrian improvements to Danby Road became a problem worth looking into in 2012, when students at Ithaca College, like Charlotte Roberts ’13, were speaking out in favor of implementing more safety precautions on Danby Road. Furthermore, other concerns of pedestrian safety occurred around the county at the same time, making pedestrians more of a priority. The culmination of both these concerns led to Ritter applying Danby Road for the Transportation Improvement Program with the Initial Project Proposal.
Since 2010, the college has been involved in conversations with the town, the city, the county and business owners about increased safety on Danby Road, Anthony Hopson, assistant vice president of community and government relations and civic engagement, said.
“This new grant that the town has been awarded is, we think, a wonderful evolution out of those conversations,” Hopson said. “We think that it is an opportunity for the issue to move forward, and I’m sure that the town and the college will have some conversations around this issue and steady moving forward, and we welcome that.”