Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another 840 Intersection?

There is so much wrong with this whole situation . . .

1) Route 840 does not need another intersection to slow things down.

The DOT also does not consider an intersection the best solution, said Stephen Zywiak, regional design engineer for the DOT. But the department is acting at the request of the Town of New Hartford.
I don't understand the DOT. It insists on ramming the Arterial through west Utica, disrupting what's left of the existing street grid and making the adjoining areas (which already have the infrastructure necessary for development) virtually undevelopable, but is ready to allow grade crossings on what was supposed to be a limited access highway in New Hartford to encourage development.

Acting at the request of the Town is Bullcrap. Route 840 was put through undeveloped land. It is a route commuters use to get to the Thruway to go to Syracuse. New Hartford had the obligation to ensure that no additional burden would be placed on 840 BEFORE approving the Business Park project. An additional access point should never have been expected.

2) New Hartford residents should not be made to pay to construct an intersection for a private development. The residents don't need this development. It is the ambition of a private businessman.

3) Article VIII Section 1 of the State Constitution is being violated. It states
No county, city, town, village or school district shall
give or loan any money or property to or in aid of any individual, or
private corporation or association, or private undertaking . . . .
4) The NH School District has no right to agree to this scheme. The school board's powers are exclusively conferred by the State Education Law. There is nothing in the Ed Law that authorizes school boards to enter into agreements to achieve non-education related purposes.

5) It promotes urban sprawl. This is another area that the Town will have to service with police, fire protection and road maintenance. Meanwhile, orchards and open space, amenities that attracted people to live in New Hartford, are being lost -- with Town and County governments cheer leading!

6) It promotes urban decay. There are plenty of other places available in the region where the Hartford and the other facilities could have located . . . places where services are already in place, but are not being used. The Boserts, Washington Courts, and Bendix sites in Utica come immediately to mind, all of which are located more central to the regional population and already have good road access. If there is a market in the region for the facilities they could have been encouraged to locate in these areas rather than on a greenfield ... but no one tried.

7) It is closed government in operation again!
“Everybody would love to have a bridge,” New Hartford Central School District Superintendent Daniel Gilligan said. “But if it can’t be a bridge, it’s got to be an intersection and the reason is a commitment was made to the 650 employees of the Hartford insurance company.” . . .

The business park is being developed by the New Hartford Office Group LLC, an affiliate of the Syracuse-based Cameron Group LLC. Lawrence Adler, a principal in both, has said access to state Route 840 was part of the deal with The Hartford, which will open in November.
Commitments? Deals? When and how were these done? How can a Town (or, worse, a school district) commit access to a state highway?

Will someone please tell me why a school superintendent thinks it is his job to make a commitment to a private business for a road?


This is all starting to sound like Dogpatch County: side-bar "deals" and "understandings" to serve private interests -- where things will go wrong -- and where the taxpayer gets hosed.

8 comments:

Mrs. Mecomber said...

Article VIII Section 1 of the law has been broken so many times it's now criminal to think otherwise. That section right there, broken, sums up the entire modus operandus of the State! Holy cow...

When will these politicians STOP their scheming?!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post Strike!

Anonymous said...

But the Town of Nh "PROMISED" Larry Adler an intersection. I read that in the OD and threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Greens and Beans said...

This deal was out of hand (FIXED) before it was formally presented to the public. Anyone who attended the New Hartford Business Park project meeting that was held at the New Hartford High School should have left astonished and rather confused after some of the public officials from the School District, EDGE, and the Town of New Hartford exhibited their obvious collusion when they unfolded the details of the project. The illegal intermingling of School District, Town, EDGE and private funds were presented to the audience as too monolithic and apparently already etched in stone. As the “dog and pony” show progressed, it was evident that this project was already in the bag. Different aspects of the complex financing package prompted some blatant mistakes articulated by the public officials. After some of the astute persons in the audience pointed out that some of the proposed comingling of funds appeared to be in direct violation of the NYS School Law, the officials scrambled to regroup and proceeded to sanitize the illegal financing agreement before they fed it to the news media.

As for Route 840 remaining an expressway, forget it for it is doomed. The local New York State Department of Transportation officials will perform and obey as the local political machine orders them to. If the powerful political machine ordered them to, they would install traffic signaled intersections on the New York State Thruway.

Anonymous said...

This whole business park deal stinks to high heaven - after 40 + years of planning, they FINALLY correct a problem (dumping a 4-lane highway onto a two lane village street - but now it still goes to nowhere), only to plan for more intersections - and, as you say, to a PRIVATE develoment! And the "bridge" idea is EVEN WORSE ($$$$$$$). There is NO REGIONAL planning, only parlochialism. THAT is what is holding this area back - "me first, damn everyone else." Unthinkable, criminal, and ridiculous!

Thanks for posting this, Strike!!

Strikeslip said...

For me, I would like to see them extend 840 as all limited access -- with NO grade crossings -- to the Westmoreland Interchange on the Thruway . . . NYSDOT can get the funds by renovating the N-S Arterial in West Utica as a beautifully landscaped "Multi-Way Boulevard" instead of as a limited access expressway as proposed. The end results:

1) The REGION gets better access to the Thruway Westbound

2) The residents on Stone Road in Westmo will get some peace and quiet.

3) Urban sprawl gets limited to areas solely adjoining interchanges (to be limited themselves in number), allowing for preservation of existing open space and agricultural lands, and limiting extensions of public infrastructure that tax dollars must maintain.

4) The West Utica neighborhood gets reconnected to itself and gets a face lift.

5) Developable land in West Utica becomes more accessible

6) Reuse of existing infrastructure in West Utica becomes encouraged.

waterboy said...

Strike after seeing (http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/planning/Citywide/Better_Streets/0613-Blvd-01gp.pdf) I would have to agree with you about the the Multi-Way Boulevard.
I like the look. I would help the "curb appeal of the area" (no pun...)

Anonymous said...

Strike - I agree! Access to the thruway after 840 is a pathetic and very dangerous situation - take it from one who travels it daily. Either way you go, it is not good. Rather than a "new", unneeded thruway exit, improved access to Westmoreland makes the most of limited dollars, and also makes the most sense.

As for the multi-way boulevard conversion of the arterial, I was originally not in favor of it (based on how DOT tends to "overdo" everything they touch). However, if it is done sensitively, intelligently, and with a minimal amount of building demolition, it could be a great asset to this area.