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Ogdensburg looks for public comment on “Complete Streets” amendment

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Ogdensburg is looking to become more pedestrian-friendly.

At a public hearing on Feb. 13 city residents will be asked to weigh in on a proposed amendment to the municipal code that would require future public works projects be designed with pedestrian traffic in mind.

“Ultimately we’re trying to create a healthier community; a more vibrant community,” Mayor William D. Nelson said.

The amendment is known as “Complete Streets” and its introduction was attached to a $7,500 grant the city received in 2013 from the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative that helped pay for the installation of cross walks and sidewalks in the Marina District.

Part of the grant was used to complete the sidewalk near the Richard G. Lockwood Civic Center.

The goal is to ensure that future development takes into consideration cyclists, public transportation and pedestrians to ensure that mobility in the city isn’t restricted to people with cars.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said the amendment would ultimately “make it easier for pedestrians to move safer.”

The amendment stipulates that city-owned transportation facilities and roads have to be designed so that users of all ages and abilities can travel on them safely, that privately constructed streets and parking lots adhere to the policy and that future building projects are approached with pedestrian mobility in mind.

Mr. Nelson said he doesn’t foresee the new policy impacting the cost of future building in the city.

“We’re not doing anything that will add a cost to the community or the businesses,” he said.

The amendment would also require the city set up a seven-member Active Living Task Force that would, according to the legislation, “promote health through physical activity and active transportation for all users.”

Task force members would also prepare an annual report on the progress the city has made in implementing the policy.

Mr. Nelson said anyone who is interested in joining the task force should contact him or a member of City Council.

The mayor will ultimately appoint members.

The public hearing will be held Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

If City Council approves the policy, it would take effect 10 days later.

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