Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Roundabout Go-Around . . .

It's enough to make your head spin! Do we or don't we? Is the Oneida Square proposed roundabout a good idea or not?

I've been skeptical of the Roundabout, but now I am about 85% sold on it. The Glens Falls footage presented at the Mayor/DOT public hearing a few weeks ago showed that it works very well there where several major state routes come together. This is similar footage . . .

The 15% of me that is unsure is where Genesee St is proposed to be narrowed to one lane in each direction in the blocks entering the roundabout. I'm not sure how that will work out. Looking at Google Maps using "street view" for Glens Falls, and moving it around I could not see where any of the Glens Falls routes narrow from 2 traffic lanes in each direction to one. That may be a significant difference when trying to compare Glens Falls with what is proposed for Utica.

This needs to be explored further.

In addition, traffic in Utica lately seems somewhat reduced from former levels.  Will the roundabout be able to handle an increase in traffic generated by a healthy downtown?

The people whom this Roundabout is supposed to help -- the businesses and residents of the Oneida Square neighborhood -- need to be convinced first.  They should not be made to feel that the project is being shoved down their throats.   
 - - - - 
11PM Update from WIBX: Mayor Makes Final Roundabout Pitch 
"... by the time the meeting was over, nearly 3 hours after it began, most seemed to be satifisied that a roundabout is the right way to go."
Wow -- 3 hours! But it seems to have been worth it. A little controversy doesn't hurt . . . especially when consensus is reached.


Anonymous said...

Strike - - I was a strong skeptic that has been 100% converted to pro-roundabout. I've used the one in Glens Falls, and it has dramatically helped the surrounding businesses, along with some extended comprehensive planning. Regarding the narrowing of lanes, the "four lanes" in front of KFC to the north and the storefronts directly south SHOULD be only 2 lanes - - they are BARELY four lanss during the summer; when there is snow, it is actually much too tight for four full lanes to operate safely.

Anonymous said...

Brother Jesse has left a new comment on your post "Roundabout Go-Around . . .":

I could see the advantage of a modern roundabout (smaller than a traffic circle) the first time I drove through one and saw oncoming traffic on the left of my windshield instead of over my shoulder through the side window. I believe NYSDOT's statistics tell a good story of reduced accidents and fatalities.
And for Utica, I think it's terrific that the Soldiers and Sailors monument honoring our fallen heroes will now be accessible to pedestrians.

Anonymous said...

My sense is that the downside of the Utica roundabout is a case of misplaced priorities. As someone who is also famliar with Glens Falls it should ne noted that the key is the connections with state highways which is not the case in Utica. Secondly, the traffic in and about Glens Falls with the extremely busy highway systems connecting Glens Falls with various access routes to Saratoga to the south and Lake George to the north makes the comparison false. Genessee St. runs through a dying, contracting city with a sparse downtown. There is no traffic problem or need comparable to that Glens Falls faced. The entire concept of the roundabout in Utica arose as a political decision to assist as election. It was hatched in the last year of the Julian administration which was an election year and adopted by Roefaro to be started this year, an election year. The "traffic" arguement in Utica is near laughable.

Anonymous said...

Glens Falls - As of the census of 2000, there were 14,354 people, 6,267 households, and 3,415 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,447.0/km² (3,752.2/sq mi). There were 6,811 housing units at an average density of 686.6/km² (1,780.4/sq mi)

City of Utica - As of the 2000 census,[3] there were 60,651 people, 25,100 households, and 14,231 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,710.0 people per square mile (1,432.3/km²). There were 29,186 housing units at an average density of 1,785.3/sq mi (689.2/km²).

Oneida Square is the second busiest intersection in the city behind the Parkway and Burrstone Road. At least 20,000 cars pass through the Oneida Square intersection each day. Suggesting that this intersection has no traffic is even more laughable.

Anonymous said...

Please observe downtown Glens Falls in relation to the traffic routes connecting with Route 9 and the streets connectiing north to Queensbury and Lake George routes followed be spending time in "traffic" on Genesee St.. Plus, if there is anything like peak traffic in Oneida Square it is twice a day withj virtually nothing in between. Workers in the downtown arrive in the morning and empty out after work. And even with this, there is no traffic hold up of any significance at those hours. Then imagine what $1million plus of public monies would do in desparately needed paving of Utica streets which are much more dangerous than any route configuration.PS. Resident population is but a minor part of traffic demand.

observer from afar said...

I never saw the transportation problem clearly stated that the roundabout was supposed to solve. Was a traffic study ever done? Or could synchronizing the lights have done the trick? Transportation projects rarely solve urban design issues and I don't see how this one is going to create an arts district. It may possibly ruin one of the nicest things left in Utica: the drive down the entire length of Genesee St. from New Hartford to what is left of Bagg's Square. Funds spent on some townscape elements and fixing the buildings around Oneida Square seem to me a better idea. Maybe it is time that people with real urban design and planning education and experience have an input.

Strikeslip said...

Excellent point, observer. There is no REAL traffic problem at this location.

This is a case of federal funds being available for spending . . . and the idea that this might improve both traffic flow as well as streetscape aesthetics and infrastructure.

Utica never really studies anything . . . Look at the Master Plan and you will understand. In fact, the Master Plan actually proposes a treed median down the middle of Genny merely to create a boulevard feeling with no thought to how that would effect street use, visibility across the street, obstruction of viewscapes, etc. Lack of critical study is Utica's biggest problem. Everything done is a crap shoot.

Hopefully this roundabout crap shoot will work out.