Making Clarence's Main St. more walker friendly

Posted at 7:58 PM, Dec 21, 2015

There is currently a new push to make the Town of Clarence by walkable and bike friendly. Not only will it make access easier for residents, but it is also supposed to be a boost for businesses.

Main Street in Clarence is home to more than 130 businesses. However many wonder if you would even know it.

A new study in Clarence is aiming to change that. The Industrial Development Agency is pouring $50,000 into looking at ways to drive more people onto Main Street, but in the form of walkers and cyclists.

"Main Street in Clarence would look beautiful if there were extra benches, extra trees, sidewalks all the way up and down the street," said David Hartzell, the Supervisor for the Town of Clarence.

Those are just some ideas the study will look at. Town Supervisor David Hartzell says the Walkable Williamsville initiative helped to inspire him to push for the study.

Businesses hope more people walking and bicycling, rather than driving, would be a big boost for local stores.

That includes new business owner Karen Roth, who recently opened Destination Massage.

"That's the best form of advertising for businesses," Roth said. "Local businesses, new businesses, old businesses -- people just walking by, it's the easiest form of advertisement." Roth adds that having more walkers and bicyclists also means an increased chance of consumers visiting multiple stores, rather than just one.

The study also aims to have huge tax perks for residents in the Town of Clarence.

"It also helps support with tax dollars and shoulder some of the tax burden so that homeowners aren't paying all the taxes for schools and the town," explained Noel Dill, the Vice President of Stephen Development.

The study, which is currently underway, is being conducted by Clark Patterson Lee. That's also where Brian Kulpa, the former Mayor of Williamsville who was involved with making the village more walker friendly, currently works.

Hartzell says he was originally inspired by a woman at an Association of Towns Meeting. He then decided he wanted Clarence to have a feel similar to Williamsville, Lewiston, East Aurora and Orchard Park.

Hartzell says that Clark Patterson Lee is also working with marketing experts and landscape architecture to evaluate Main Street.

The firm will form ideas for the town to present to agencies in an effort to obtain grant money.

"The gateway to Clarence is when you come down Main Street," Hartzell said. "So it's good for everyone if Main Street is as shiny as possible."




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