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BCSD teams with Town of Bethlehem for Safe Routes to School Grant

If awarded, grant would be used to lay more than a mile of sidewalk near Hamagrael, BCMS

safe routes group
From left: BCSD Assistant Transportation Director Cindy Jurewicz , Town of Bethlehem Senior Planner Robert Leslie, Director of Transportation Al Karam and BCSD Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe go over bus routes in preparation for the Safe Routes to School Grant application.

The Bethlehem Central School District has partnered with the Town of Bethlehem in pursuing a grant through the New York State Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Program.

Sidewalk area map - click to enlarge

The grant would pay for the lion’s share of a pedestrian improvement project that would construct concrete sidewalks, a total of 5,655 feet in length, in the neighborhoods surrounding Hamagrael Elementary, Bethlehem Central Middle School and St. Thomas the Apostle School.

Walkways would be improved along Delmar Place, Fernbank Avenue, and a portion of Adams Street.
(At right, in yellow. Click map to enlarge.)

Many students attending Bethlehem Central Middle School, St. Thomas the Apostle School,
and Hamagrael Elementary School walk along the edge of the travel lanes on Delmar Place and Fernbank Avenue, and a portion of Adams Street, where there is no sidewalk or shoulder present, save a short section along Delmar Place between Douglas Road and Fernbank Avenue. The posted speed limit along those roadways is 30 mph.

“This is an excellent initiative to make the roadways surrounding our schools that much safer,” said Bethlehem Central Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas J. Douglas. “The Bethlehem Central School District is proud to partner with the Town of Bethlehem in an effort to promote the safety and health of our students.”

“I am proud to have worked on this initiative to make Bethlehem’s streets safer for its students and other pedestrians,” said Robert Leslie, Senior Planner for the Town of Bethlehem. Leslie worked tirelessly with school and town staff in authoring the grant application. “This grant, if awarded, will enrich the health and welfare of our community, make our roadways safer, and serve as a shining example of municipal cooperation.”

Maureen Cunningham is the mother of a student at Hamagrael Elementary and is also a member of the Town of Bethlehem's Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.

"I think this is great for the community as a whole," she said. "My husband and I moved to this part of Delmar four years ago due in part to how walkable this community is. As an active parent with two small children, I am routinely walking, running and riding on our community’s streets. I think there are many improvements we could make related to bicycle and pedestrian safety.  I believe the proposed sidewalk additions would bring an enormous added value to the people of our community, would give many kids from my neighborhood (and eventually my own) a much safer path to the Middle School, and would ultimately bring the community closer together."