Cornell will help fund bicycle/pedestrian corridor on East Hill

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Cornell University has pledged $400,000 toward a bicycle/pedestrian corridor along Pine Tree Road, from Maple Avenue to the Route 366 intersection. Replacement of the stone bridge over Pine Tree Road is included in the town-county-university project, estimated to cost about $1,865,000.

The project, linking campus to the East Ithaca Recreation Way and the East Hill Plaza neighborhood, will improve wellness and life safety for Cornell community members who bike, walk, run or drive along Pine Tree Road, according to Joel Malina, vice president for university relations. “Projects like this further move Cornell and the greater community toward a sustainable, multi-modal approach to transportation,” he said.

Besides providing safe, clearly marked accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists along the heavily trafficked road, the project will reconfigure the university-owned railroad bridge, which carries the town of Ithaca’s recreation way over the county road. Also, a formal connection to the recreation way will be established.

The East Hill Plaza neighborhood is both a commuting corridor to campus and the site of university offices, businesses, apartments and the potential East Hill Village residential development.

Funding of $1.2 million from the state and federal governments will cover the bulk of the project costs. Earlier this week the Tompkins County Legislature voted to contribute $196,000; the town of Ithaca is contributing $70,000. In addition, Cornell provided the easement over university property at no cost.

As a result of project upgrades, that section of Pine Tree Road will have ADA-compliant pedestrian and bicycle facilities and wider road shoulders at the old railroad overpass, which will be replaced with a pedestrian bridge.

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