Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Solutions Looking for Problems . . .

Two stories about traffic in tonight's OD . . .
To shorten Genesee St. stoplight waits, state budget must speed up
... Utica leaders are optimistic the time has finally come to untangle one of Utica drivers' greatest frustrations - the many waits at red lights incurred during a trip up or down Genesee Street.
"Greatest frustrations?" True, we all get stuck at a light now and then, but frustration? I don't think the people claiming frustration really drive down Genesee Street.  Since some of the lights have been removed and replaced with stop signs, traffic flow has been much better. A little coordination would be welcome, but Utica is a city after all, and an occasional light or two should be expected. Frustration is an overstatement.

If you want  real frustration, try getting through the lights on Commercial Drive in New Hartford . . . especially at the interchange with 840. They seem to go on forever.  Now THAT is frustrating!

Fixing Oneida Square may come in roundabout way
And the recommendation would likely be a traffic circle, or roundabout, built around the 128-year-old Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Zywiak said. A park would be built around the statue.

“It allows connections that don't exist today, and we eliminate the five signals there,” Zywiak said. “It reduces the future long-term costs, makes it pedestrian-friendly and provides for a continued flow of traffic.”
A traffic circle with no signals is pedestrian friendly? Is DOT serious?

Imagine, you are driving north on Genesee St and arrive at the brand new Oneida Sq. Circle. You are concentrating on finding an opening in the traffic within the circle to get through it because it is constantly moving. You also have to watch for pedestrians at the same time because there are no signals. It will be difficult to do both.  This will be a disaster in the making.  Someone will get killed.

This proposal will make Oneida Square pedestrian UNfriendly and detract from redevelopment that is starting near by. Ultimately signals will have to be installed.  Google Map Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, or some of the traffic circles in Paris and go to "street view."  Pedestrian crossings are controlled by signals.

Frankly, travel through Oneida Square (I go through it every day) is no big deal.  This is just an excuse to spend federal money with no real objective being accomplished. . . . unless the objective is to kill off this part of Utica.

Oneida Square "ain't broke." There is no need to "fix" it.


Anonymous said...

A couple of points well put. Being familiar with many roundabouts in several states, the ones without pedestrian signals are not located in pedestrian used or pedestrian friendly areas. And, they are extemely dangerous to navigate.Oneida Sq. needs a roundabout as much as the mayor needs to eat more. It is a foolish idea in a city that needs every resource to stabilze neighborhoods. The gang who couldn't shoot straight cannot even get a tiny parking garage off the ground. That's been a round about 6 six years now! One would think they's concentrate on finishing one project before starting another. But, Utica government seems to in business to give money to consultants and to people and entities who do not pay taxes.

SmallBizMan said...

I agree that the square is fine the way it is. They need to focus on fixing the entrance (front door) to downtown. Take down the big hump of a bridge down from North Utica into downtown, and start using the lower off-ramp that veers off to the right. It splits off so that Union Sta. and the Childrens Museum are easily accessed and also connects onto Genesee Street in front of the insurance company and the running hall of fame. It would be a better use of the monies so visitors that get off the thruway can see and access downtown Utica, and therefore would be more likely to go there and visit the venues there. It's A simple formula 1+1=2 or maybe 3 in this case, because more visitors = more business. The bridge and urban renewal were the beginning of the end of an era for cities like Utica.Only recently have cities begun the process of trying to restore and reclaim the charm and character of the past. Utica really needs to get it's s---together and get rid of the bridge.