SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – At a press conference outside Caroline Street Elementary School, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner and City Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub announced funding for the construction of new sidewalks on Caroline Street.
The announcement was a big victory for parents in the neighborhood, who have been campaigning for sidewalks for several years.
“I’ve long thought the Caroline Street sidewalks needed to be extended,” said Olivia O’Malley, whose daughter Carlan attends elementary school. “To say we are thrilled would be an absolute understatement.”
Caroline Street is very busy with pedestrians on a daily basis, especially during school pick-up and drop-off times.
Many families whose children attend elementary school live close enough to not qualify for bus rides and walk to school each day, on the busy street without the safety of a sidewalk. O’Malley said she felt great fear whenever a car approached as she walked down the street with her daughter.
“It’s a pleasure for me to have brought this resource to the community,” said Woerner (D-Round Lake). “It’s taxpayers’ money, and I’m so happy to put that money back into the community.
“It’s something parents have been asking for for a long time,” Golub said. “I want to thank Carrie Woerner for her support, because that’s what got us to the finish line. I would also like to thank the parents for their role in the fight for this project. Sidewalks are powerful infrastructure.
“They connect communities and make them safer.”
Currently, the Caroline Street sidewalk ends abruptly in the middle of a block, before the intersection with Schuyler Drive. The new construction will extend the sidewalk by five blocks, connecting more of the community to a safe route through the neighborhood. The total cost of the project will be approximately $300,000.
Woerner’s office provides half the money and the Department of Public Works contributes the other half. It is estimated that once construction begins, it will be completed in approximately two months.
For Golub, this initiative has a degree of personal priority. His own daughter starts grade five next week and he understands the importance of a safe route to and from school.
“Our children’s safety should be our number one priority,” Golub said. “If we are not doing everything we can to protect our children, we are not doing our job as parents. As a parent, I know that this infrastructure is extremely important for the community.
“If you go back five years ago, (my son) Teddy was the only one who walked to school, so I felt like a minority voice,” said Susan Horst, whose three children will all attend the Caroline Street Elementary School this year. “Now he’s the oldest in the group, and I’m so happy to have the support of so many parents.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this development. We have been fighting for this for a long time. »
“All the way down the east side, it’s all heading towards Caroline,” commented Glen Mathis. “The school is on a narrow road which gets a lot of traffic and lots of cars pull up to the sides. In winter and fall, with snow and leaves piled up, it really turns into a one-lane road. It’s just not safe to walk in those conditions.
“We are very happy that this is finally happening.”
Mathis noted that the new sidewalks will not only benefit students and families at the school. Caroline Street is very popular with joggers and dog walkers. It is a short distance from the Saratoga Racetrack and connects directly to downtown. Bus stops for other schools are nearby and students will use Caroline Street to walk to and from their stops.
It’s a very walkable street, and the increased safety of the new sidewalks will be good for everyone.
Mathis’ two children, Adeline and Quinn, both attend primary school. When the new school year begins, Adeline will be in first grade and Quinn will be in third grade. Like their father, they are both happy that new sidewalks are coming.
“It’s important because you’re walking the road,” Adeline said.
“It’s good because we have to dodge the cars,” added Quinn. “Mom tells us to go on the grass when the cars go by. Sometimes the cars get too close, but when we’re on a sidewalk they can’t get close. I’m very happy to have a sidewalk and I wonder when it will be built.