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Legislature Affirms Pine Tree Road Paths Project

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Legislature Affirms Pine Tree Road Paths Project

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Legislature took action needed to preserve the Pine Tree Road Bike and Pedestrian Paths Project in the Town of Ithaca.  By a vote of 11-2, Legislators voted to amend the Capital Program to increase the project cost to $1,865,000 and appropriate more than $196,000 from the Highway Fund Balance to support the project  (Legislators Peter Stein and Dooley Kiefer voted no; Legislator Nate Shinagawa was excused).

The project is jointly funded by Tompkins County, Cornell University, and the Town of Ithaca, with the support of nearly $1.2 million in State and Federal funding, and has been part of the County’s Capital Program since 2009.  It will build a 10-foot-wide, paved ADA-compliant path connecting existing sidewalks at Maple Avenue and East Hill Plaza to paths on Cornell’s campus at the Pine Tree Road/NYS Route 366 int6ersection, and to the East Hill Recreation Way, to be carried over Pine Tree Road on a new pedestrian bridge to replace the existing railroad overpass.  By creating separate pedestrian and bicycle facilities and widening of road shoulders at the old railroad overpass, the project is intended to provide safe and accessible accommodations for pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles.

The project was initially authorized at just over $1.4 million;  however, during the course of design, and in consultation with the Legislature, Cornell University and the Town of Ithaca, additional elements beyond the original plan—such as those to facilitate trail use by pedestrians and bicyclists, including individuals with disabilities—increased the cost by approximately $400,000 over budget.  To fill that gap and enable the project to go forward, Cornell has increased its project contribution by $200,000, to $400,000, and the Town of Ithaca has increased its contribution by $35,000, to $70,000.  The County’s contribution will increase from $35,000 to just over $196,000.