Village of New Paltz officials are looking to use road maintenance money this year to focus on that thin ribbon on the edge that’s reserved for people who are walking. Each year a certain amount of money is allocated to each municipality to shore up highway budgets under the “consolidated local street and highway improvement program.” That money is typically used for repairs and improvements to the center portion, which is the only part reserved for driving motor vehicles and — according to Village law — bicycles. As discussed at the May 25 Village Board meeting, this year the hope it to plow that money into sidewalks instead, and input from Village residents is welcome.
Trustees want to hear which sidewalks in the Village pose challenges to accessibility, have trip hazards, or are otherwise in poor condition. Asking the people who traverse these sidewalks where the problems are is the first step; those issues will then be prioritized.
Mayor Tim Rogers noted that this “CHIPs” money should be used for fixing local roads, rather than the state roads which are in generally poor condition in the Village. Despite the “complete streets” posture taken by state leaders, sidewalks along state roads are not usually repaired by state transportation officials. In fact, local work on state roads is specifically forbidden on state roads — except the sidewalk portion. “It feels like an unfunded mandate,” Rogers said when reached for comment later.