Per a report from Richard Roman of MyTwinTiers.com, the Southern Tier has received a total of $8 million to develop pedestrian and environmentally-friendly travel infrastructure.

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The program, which has awarded over $178 million to New York communities already, is part of the New York Department of Transportations' five year, $32.8 billion capital plan to develop similar programs and projects.

Under this plan, the Town of Vestal received over $2.3 million to build a multi-use trail along Vestal Road. The City of Ithaca received $2.2 million to build another multi-use trail. The Village of Painted Post received $671,954 for sidewalks, a pedestrian walkway, and other pedestrian safety improvements and the Village of Cayuga Heights received $2.1 million for sidewalks along Cayuga Heights Road. The Village of Montour Falls received $571,263 to construct street stormwater improvements.

The intent of the funding is to develop projects that improve transportation options that don't require cars or buses. To receive the funding, awardees must show how their proposals will decrease vehicular traffic in a safe way for pedestrians and cyclists.

According to the report, over two-thirds of the projects awarded will benefit "Environmental Justice Communities." This will benefit low and moderate income families that live in areas with poor transportation infrastructure and air quality.

New York State's efforts to create a more environmentally friendly transportation infrastructure are well ahead of the curve, and many cities abroad have seen great benefits from pedestrian-based development. Copenhagen, according to a Wired report, has developed a cycling infrastructure so comprehensive that over half of work and school commutes are made by bicycle. Just north of the border, Vancouver and Montreal have placed great emphasis on developing bike-friendly roads to both promote resident health and reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.

The Southern Tier may never end up as a cyclist's paradise, but these infrastructure projects give residents the choice to avoid the cars and buses during the few months when the weather permits.

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