Sidewalks from SEFCU to the library

GUILDERLAND — The town has received a grant from the state’s Department of Transportation for $680,800 to build a new sidewalk on the south side of Western Avenue from the Regency Park Drive, where the SEFCU building is located, to Mercycare Lane, site of the Guilderland Public Library, St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center, and Our Lady of Mercy Life Center, town officials announced Wednesday.

The Guilderland YMCA is also located along the way, and Guilderland Elementary School is across Western Avenue from the Y.

“This is a very, very important linkage for this community,” said Donald Csaposs, the town’s grant writer. People often walk the route, which will be made much safer by the installation of sidewalks, he said.

The new sidewalk will be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, making it compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Guilderland Public Library Director Tim Wiles wrote, in a letter of support for the grant application, “There are many people who walk to our facility from the east, from among the half-dozen large apartment complexes located in the area. A fair number of these people appear to be immigrants and/or young parents, who walk down this dangerous strip of road, often pushing strollers and holding the hands of other small children.

“They make this walk in all seasons, and it is of course particularly dangerous in the winter. They walk because the library is where they go to learn English and to provide their children and themselves with opportunities for learning and socialization. It goes without saying that they would be much safer with a sidewalk in place.”

This joins several other grants that the town has received to install sidewalks.

Previously, Guilderland received $297,000 for a planned sidewalk on West Old State Road that will link Carman Road to Lynnwood Elementary School.

The town also was granted $1.4 million in funding for construction of left-turn lanes at the intersection of Carman Road and Lydius Street and for adjacent sidewalks.

The adjoining section of Western Avenue, from Mercycare Lane to Foundry Road — not included in the current grant — has a tricky spot in it, Csaposs noted, with a 200-or-so-foot-deep ravine that has a stream flowing through it.

Work will start this summer on a sidewalk project that will link the town’s senior center at Mill Hollow Apartments with the town hall and the Hannaford supermarket, Csaposs said.

The developer who, about a decade ago, proposed a mixed-use community to be called Glass Works Village, located along Winding Brook Drive, off of Route 20, would have been required to build sidewalks along Western Avenue from the State Employees Federal Credit Union building to the library as a condition of the project’s approval, Csaposs said, and for a time town officials thought that that sidewalk was “all set.”

But with the recession in 2008, the Glass Works Village project “kind of went away,” Csaposs said, and a couple of years ago town officials resolved to try to obtain funding.

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