Wayfinding, Streetscape Improvements Coming Downtown

Through a $500,000 grant, downtown parking ramps like the one along Fourth Street might be implemented with smart meter technology in the near future. The city received a $400,000 federal grant, with a local $100,000 match from the Gebbie Foundation, to implement wayfinding improvements and smart parking technologies. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

Admit it, as a resident of Jamestown, sometimes even you can be confused about the parking regulations downtown.

If that is the case, then imagine what it must be like for those who have never been to the city.

That is why city officials are working with community partners like the Gebbie Foundation to clarify some of the parking signs in the downtown while also preparing for the future of smart meter technology.

Earlier this year, it was announced the city would be receiving a Transportation Alternatives Program/Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant to fund “Smart Tourism” initiative that will assist city officials in developing signage to help people navigate downtown easier so they travel less by vehicle. The city received a $400,000 federal grant, which was allocated by the state, with a local match of $100,000 being provided by the Gebbie Foundation for the wayfinding improvements.

Last month, the Jamestown City Council approved hiring Bergmann Associates of Rochester for $72,000 for consulting services for the design of a project titled “Smart Tourism Transportation in Jamestown.”

A bag over one of the permit parking spaces in a surface lot along Fourth Street in downtown Jamestown. Through a $500,000 grant, city officials are working to clarify parking regulations downtown. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

“The first phase is the design for the actual grant,” said Vince DeJoy, city development director. “Bergmann will be looking at it, we don’t know where they will go, it is up to them to come up with parking strategies for implementing the smart tourism grant. Through a combination of wayfinding, (Bergmann) will identify where the parking is available to direct tourist to Jamestown, and even for people who live here locally.”

DeJoy said it is a belief among city residents and business owners that downtown parking signage has been lacking and that there is not a clear understanding of how parking works. He said through wayfinding signs, visitors will be able to find the parking — short-term or long-term –they need. He added one improvement could be vertical banners on the parking ramps so people know they are a public facility.

“Another example is that some surface lots have bags on the meters saying permit only,” he said. “People coming in after 5 p.m. don’t know that those spaces are available to them.”

DeJoy said one of the main focuses for Bergmann Associates will be to implement smart technology for the meters and the ramps so they can easily accept credit cards or the PayByPhone app. He said with money from the $500,000 grant, city officials can start to install smart meters.

“This will get us on the right path to creating a more integrated system where possible,” he said. “We would likely retain some of the current technology in place in many areas. Where we would see the smart technology is in areas where we will be trying to direct people from out of town to park.”

In April, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $112.2 million in funding that was awarded to 81 projects to support bicycle and pedestrian enhancements and improve air quality across New York. In Western New York, $20.1 million was allocated to 15 projects, including the one for Jamestown.

The funding, which will provide up to 80 percent of the cost of each project, was made available through the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the state Department of Transportation. Selected through a competitive solicitation process, awardees presented plans that will increase options for non-vehicular transportation, reduce vehicle emissions or traffic congestion, or both.

Including additional public and private funding, these projects will leverage nearly $233 million in construction and operational enhancements that will improve air quality, promote walking and biking, expand public transportation access, and boost tourism across the state.