Transportation project promotes pedestrian and bicycle traffic

The Livingston County Planning Department held its final public review of the Transportation Connectivity Plan that involves multi-modal transportation across the county, using Geneseo as a pilot project. The plan, which the Village of Geneseo will review next, could ultimately apply to neighboring towns.

Stuart I. Brown Associates, Inc., C&S Engineers, Inc. and Martin Alexiou Bryson prepared the plan for the Livingston County Planning Department. Knowing that Geneseo is dense with students, the planners of the pilot project focused on enhancing public transportation ridership and improving efficiency while encouraging the use of bicycles, public transit and trails.

The pilot project in Geneseo will focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety, according to Edward Flynn, a senior planner at Stuart I. Brown. Flynn noted that the intersection at Main, North and Court Streets is an area that can be made more “pedestrian-friendly,” ensuring ease for vehicles as well.

Additionally, the plan calls for more lighting on Court Street, more enhanced crosswalks and a bus shelter at the corner of Center and Main Streets where “right now there’s a lot of parking for vehicles but not a lot for bicycles.”

According to Angela Ellis, the Livingston County planning director, students are some of the biggest users of Livingston Area Transportation Services and Geneseo is a “major destination for the county” with health services, shopping centers and tourist attractions including the Livingston County Historical Museum.

Many people come to Geneseo from elsewhere, “so how do we facilitate that movement knowing that economic development and sustaining businesses is also very important,” she said.

Other Livingston County towns, Flynn said, are similar to Geneseo, and similar problems arise: “A lot of these areas have downtowns … and a lot of them have issues with making sure that their downtowns are more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly,” he said.

Ellis said that a countywide public transportation service centered in Geneseo is also in the works; the challenge, however, is funding and demand. The further a town is from Rochester, she noted, the more rural and less populated they get, and “financially it doesn’t make sense.” One of the plan’s goals is to emphasize that “public transportation is not always about a bus,” she said, which can be both inefficient and costly.

“It’s all going to be about the bottom line, which is being able to afford it,” she said. “What we want to do, because resources are so limited, is to take a look at everything we have currently, see how it can be tweaked first before we build anything because we want to make sure that we are maximizing our resources wisely.”

In the plan’s implementation, Flynn said that the choice is “up to the village.” “But what this does is align them with funding opportunities,” he said. “Folks that have plans have a much better chance of getting that funding.”