VESTAL (WBNG) — Stretches of the Vestal Parkway are currently forcing pedestrians to walk right beside cars, but that’s set to change, thanks to a project announced by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Eight locations will have sidewalks and sidewalk-connections built, all in hopes to help accommodate foot traffic along the busy road.
One of the locations where a sidewalk will be installed is near the African Road intersection. That’s where Kim Zurla owns a dog-boarding business.
“A lot of people wait at that light right there and there’s no sidewalks on that side so they’re all walking down where the cars are flying down the corner trying to make the right on red,” said Zurla.
Zurla and other business owners say they think sidewalks will make the already busy street safer for walkers.
“It’s hectic, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff happen. I mean I definitely, for me walking around, always felt a little bit unsafe being toward the curb than having an actual place to walk,” said Vapor King manager, Jake Severson.
But the traffic on the Vestal Parkway is the same reason why some people think it’s a bad idea.
“434 is used very heavily and I think people are not as observant as they should be and you know, having to slow down… I could see it as potentially causing more accidents,” said Rose DiRenzo of the Town of Binghamton. “Especially in the winter time I can’t imagine anybody wanting to walk there, just because it’s often very hazardous and people are not as careful as they should be.”
DiRenzo says she knows the area well, and says the $1.1 million project may not be all that worth it.
“I’m not sure it would be a good place to put a great deal of money in for people to walk,” said DiRenzo.
The NYSDOT website says the money is coming from state and federal funding, and that the project is currently under construction. It’s set to be complete by late December of this year.
Sidewalks and sidewalk-connections will be built along the Vestal Parkway at the following locations:
- At Main Street near Memorial Park
- At Airborne Avenue
- At African Road
- At Sycamore Street/Rano Boulevard
- In front of the Town Square Mall
- Between Jensen Road and the Target entrance
- Between Martha Road and Bunn Hill Road
- At Glenn G. Bartle Drive (Binghamton University Entrance)