Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why Close Varick?

More blather appears on today's editorial page pushing the Varick Street closure. As I commented a few days ago, improvements to the street scape make sense -- but closing the (now only 1/2) block between Edward and Court does not.

Do the promoters of this plan really know what they are doing?

Conspicuously absent from the discussion are traffic counts, trip destination information and surveys of people who use the portion of Varick Street that will be closed.

Anecdotally many people coming from the West to go Downtown cut over Varick to avoid the Court Street-Arterial intersection. One can imagine this small change significantly increasing the traffic at the Court-Arterial intersection, thereby justifying the Arterial Overpass at that location that suddenly seemed to have appeared out of nowhere on both the "Depressed Highway" and "Boulevard" alternatives for the proposed Arterial remake -- an overpass that many who live and work in West Utica find objectionable.

Without knowing what we are doing, we may wind up actually killing the businesses on Varick, and at the Finish Line on Court, and create a need for an overpass that will isolate this neighborhood completely.

One has to ask, how can the powers-that-be come up with a plan to close a street without actually studying traffic impacts? ... And Why?


Anonymous said...

Thoughts on Safety from someone who actually LIVES on Varick.

I have lived on Varick St. for 4 years now and see the traffic patterns of cars, bikes and pedestrians. The corner of Varick and Court is an extremely dangerous intersection.

1) People fly down court and rip onto varick at high speeds. This often times ends up with cars being wholly or partially in the wrong lane. On that same note. Pedestrians and bicycles are mostly ignored and are at extreme risk as drivers are simply checking to make sure there is no on coming traffic on court so they can turn without having to stop.

2) I so often see and more often hear cars racing down Varick at ridiculous speeds. When cars reach court hardly anyone stops. The stop sign is treated as a yield. I am even guilty of that. Once again, pedestrians and bicyclists are often ignored.

3) For anyone who knows the area... THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE WORK AROUND. You simply take your NEXT left 50 feet down the road at the traffic light on sunset and you are on varick. This is however a controlled intersection and not the free for all that occurs at Varick and Court.

There is some logic to why the police close off that exact section of road every Saranac Thursday. That is because it becomes UNSAFE to pedestrians. With the increase in foot traffic that is occurring on Varick St. wouldn't it be a good idea to increase the safety of pedestrians?

From a safety issue, the closure makes TOTAL sense. You are eliminating the most dangerous intersection in the area, slowing down traffic in a very high pedestrian traffic area, and in the end forcing traffic through a well placed traffic light.

Strikeslip said...

I would propose a test: Close that block of Varick NOW for a month. See what it does to the traffic circulation and businesses in the area. At least with a test run, people will have some idea of what the real ramifications of this project will be.

Anonymous said...

Its a crock of shit, The brewery wants it and does not want to pay for it. If Matt wants this to happen so bad, Buy the section of road from the City.

You can make a case for every street in Utica to be closed down using your arguments.

Nobody seems to consider that once this brewery is sold to a corporate giant.. nothing is going to be left.

Without the ok from Utica Glass and the Hardware store, this should not be allowed to happen.