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Woodstock commission evaluating city sidewalks

WOODSTOCK – Under direction from the city, the Woodstock Transportation Commission is evaluating the system of sidewalks.

The commission is taking a look at the way streets are prioritized for adding and repairing sidewalks. It also will re-evaluate the effectiveness of a 50-50 cost sharing option residents have to put in sidewalks in front of their homes.

Commission Chairman Andrew Celentano said the goal is to be able to get from point A to point B without having to walk through grass or on the side of a road.

He added that to this point, there isn’t a plan in place to make wide-ranging improvements to sidewalks in the near future.

“It’s a matter of research at this point,” he said.

Mayor Brian Sager said the commission’s recommendations will feed into an ongoing plan to increase the ease and safety of walking in the city.

The city makes sidewalks improvements toward the end of each summer based on priority. Construction crews recently finished improvements to sidewalks in downtown Woodstock.

Sager said the city enlisted the help of the commission “so that we could get a better picture in our planning as to where those areas of void were, and those high-traffic areas of need.”

Homeowners in residential areas have the option to pay half of the cost to put in sidewalks in front of their property. In order to fill in gaps of sidewalks in residential neighborhoods, Sager said, the city likely will have to take charge in the future.

He added that the need for sidewalk improvements is constant, and that the city will continue to look for opportunities.

“I think we probably will eventually be much more connected,” he said.

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