The Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board deserves a big round of applause! Earlier this month it was announced that Franklin County was awarded two grants worth $1.35 million. Franklin County submitted the grant while the application was written by members of the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board. The grant will fund two pedestrian projects in Malone. The larger grant for $1,071,200 will be used to construct sidewalks and pedestrian crossings on Route 11. The existing sidewalk will be extended to Walmart. The smaller grant for $280,800 will go toward constructing a sidewalk on State Street. That sidewalk will complete the walking route to Franklin Academy and the Rec Park.
Wayne Miller and Boyce Sherwin were the main authors while the other members of the Advisory Board provided assistance with defining the project and editing the application. The Malone Complete Streets Board is an all-volunteer board whose members have been working for over seven years to improve the streets of Malone by making them safer and more inviting for walking and bicycling. The Malone Complete Streets initiative began with a group of concerned citizens who attended a training in 2010. The training introduced Complete Streets and focused on how to make Main Street more pedestrian-friendly. After the training, a group of volunteers formed the Malone Complete Streets Partnership, which eventually evolved into the Complete Streets Advisory Board. This group assessed the streets of Malone and with the assistance of the North Country Healthy Heart Network created the Malone Complete Streets Plan, which outlines a number of projects for improving bike and pedestrian facilities around key community destinations such as schools, business districts and recreation areas. Installing a sidewalk on State Street is one of three priority projects identified in the plan.
One of the strengths of the Franklin County application is that the projects in Malone are identified in official plans adopted by the Town and Village and there is a Complete Streets Policy to support implementation of the plan. This success story highlights the importance of having good plans that identify needs in the community. This is also an amazing example of what a group of well-informed, dedicated volunteers can accomplish in a small town. Margaret Mead says it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
NYS Department of Transportation awarded the grants to Franklin County through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The money for TAP is passed down from the federal government for the purpose of supporting bicycle and pedestrian improvements.