100 Ideas for New Paltz

65. re-design main street for more people, fewer cars

Posted in transportation by Jason West on June 11, 2009

Make Main Street and Plattekill Avenue a paired one-way from North and South Manheim Boulevards to North and South Chestnut Streets to drastically reduce traffic congestion on Main Street while helping to expand downtown up towards the college

a quarter mile radius around the proposed one-way pair.  this is the distance that experts have said is the optimal size for pedestrian-oriented development.

a quarter mile radius around the proposed one-way pair. this is the distance that experts have said is the optimal size for pedestrian-oriented development.

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34 Responses

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  1. Mark said, on June 30, 2009 at 9:07 am

    The report done on this already said that the distance of Plattekill from Main Street was far too great in the downtown area to expect this one way plan to succeed.

    This is just one issue that killed this idea in the first place…there were a lot more.

    • Jason West said, on June 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      I don’t recall the Transportation and Land Use Study saying that bit about Plattekill. I spent four years deeply involved in every facet of that study, and from my recollection, the One-Way Main Street idea seemed feasible. In fact, the modeling that was done showed that, if the one-way pair of Main/Plattekill was done, there would be several seconds between cars on Main Street. This is due in part to the fact that traffic gets backed up due to people making left-hand turns against the flow of traffic on the one hand and the “accordian effect” on the other. The ‘accordian effect’ is the time delay in cars starting and stopping in a line. The most extreme example comes from rubber-necking on the Thruway. There’s nothing holding up traffic for miles except the accumulated seconds lost from people slowing down to look around.

      Jason

    • Jason West said, on June 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

      The most important point to remember about the One-Way Main Street part of the Transportation and Land Use Study is that w never found out whether it would work or not. The initial data indicated that it would, but to really find out, we needed to do a more fine-grained analysis, looking at every street that would be effected – including Plattekill Avenue. The New York State Department of Transportation was so impressed by our community’s Transportation and Land Use Study that they were ready to give us the money to do this additional bit of research.

      Unfortunately, while the Town Board quickly agreed, the Village Board turned the money down, despite many public comments urging them to accept it. They did not even want to learn whether the idea would work, so we as a community were denied the ability to make an informed decision on what could have been a very simple, thorough fix to congestion on Main Street.

      Jason

  2. Mark said, on June 30, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Page 25 in Final Phase B part f the Report:

    One way systems work best when the block length separating the one way streets is
    walkable. The distance between HW Dubois and Main Street is 1500 feet, which represents a 6+ minute walk time. The distance between Plattekill and Main Street is approximately 950 feet, representing less than a 4 minute walk time. Minimizing block length is important since one way systems are designed to encourage motorists to park proximate to their final destination on either leg of the one way pair and walk the rest of the way.
    One way pairs that are too distant from one another are considered inconvenient. For transit oriented development the preferred block length is 500 feet.

    • Jason West said, on July 2, 2009 at 8:15 pm

      Mark —

      Thanks for finding the citation for your argument.

      I’ll ask Bob Chamberlin (the traffic planner who did much of the analysis and writing) about this section.

      There are several things I think are worth keeping in mind:
      1) This paired one-way is not transit-oriented development (having no transit to speak of in New Paltz), so I’m unsure if the 500 recommendation is relevant. I could be wrong — it’s what I want to ask Bob.

      2) There is a constant flow of traffic from Plattekill to Main and back again due to the enormous numbers of students, faculty and staff walking between the college and the downtown. I wonder what effect (if any) that would have on a traffic expert’s view of the pair.

      3) In another post on this blog, I write about the need to re-develop Plattekill Avenue from the municipal parking lot to the edge of SUNY — including the Village Hall/DPW/Courts/Police Station/Fire Station complex and the “pit” behind Village Hall. Were this done in conjunction with a one-way pair, it may go a large way towards making the distance between Hasbrouck Ave and Main Street a walkable area.

      4) While the distance between Main St. and Plattekill may be 950 feet, that’s up at South Manheim. Do you feel that the same would hold true for the western end of the pair around Hasbrouck Ave. and Village Hall?

      Jason

  3. Mark said, on July 3, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I’m not arguing, just observing. 🙂

    I have to share that I’m surprised that this issue is news to you given your longstanding advocacy for the one way study and potential.

    Notice that the first sentence of the paragraph is the very simple statement “One way systems work best when the block length separating the one way streets is walkable.”
    The point of the whole issue in the report is a concern about the walkability between the two proposed one way streets. Regardless of the definition of “transit-oriented”, the report’s message is the same: Many people probably wouldn’t want to walk from Plattekill/Hasbrouck to Main Street or vice versa.

    While it would be intriguing to find that your skeptical of the report that you’ve spent so much effort praising, if you don’t believe it I’d suggest you check out the metered municipal lot by Village Hall…it’s simply not used for people visiting downtown. Seeing is believing, right?

    In response to your #4, the junction of Plattekill and Hasbrouck–the primary connection to the most popular part of Main Street is about 1,200 feet or more from Main Street (a simple look at Google maps confirmed this) making it even less walkable than that 950 up at South Manheim.

    In response to your #3, it sounds as though the ability to shave off 200 feet or so by tearing down the current lot and Village Hall and building a hidden parking garage for people to park in leaves us, still, with roughly twice the distance that the report says is good.

    Following the report and your ideas, the plan is to have people park in the hidden parking lot where the municipal lot now is and walk to town.

    Would you agree that–simply using the terms on this issue provided by the Transportation and Land Use Study–this plan is not “designed to encourage motorists to park proximate to their final destination on either leg of the one way pair and walk the rest of the way” because it’s about twice the suggested distance?

    Mind you, this is only one of the concerns I’ve seen written and expressed about the one way idea.

  4. Steve Greenfield said, on July 8, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I’m not getting your numbers, Mark. The distance from Hasbrouck & S. Chestnut to Main St. and Chestnut is considerably shorter than the distance from Plattekill to Main, because of Main’s sharp southward turn at Plattekill/N. Front. In addition, since very little public parking will be available along Hasbrouck and visitors would park either at existing municipal parking on Plattekill very close to Main Street or new parking in the only open space left that could accomodate parking (either as proposed by Jason along Plattekill or along my concept for a green-roofed subterranean lot in the Pit, or both) — also very close to Main Street — the walk for almost all pedestrians exiting parked cars would be well within Bob Chamberlin’s recommended guidelines. In addition, much more parking would become available on Main Street itself, including in the sections where the walk from Plattekill is longer.

    The real unknowns about the one-way pairing that need exploration include how to manage the tight right turn eastbound from Main Street onto S. Chestnut; studies of how many (or if any) pedestrians actually cross Hasbrouck out of the park and towards Village hall (to see if significant accident dangers would be created); and whether a rotary can be installed at Main & Manheim to provide continuous flow from all directions and end the nightmare of the hard four-car rule northbound on S. Manheim between the Convenient parking lot and the traffic light. These and a few lesser questions were supposed to be the purpose of the DOT study. There is no question that the Village Board scuttled the study because they were unreasonably projecting conclusions that would conflict with their personal desired outcomes. That was made clear. If the concerns that these issues could not be resolved were found to be true, then the idea of proceeding with the pairing would die its proper death. On the other hand, if it were found that the problems could be solved, thereby enhancing the quality of life and business in downtown New Paltz, why would anyone object to that?

    The rejection of the study was bad, head-in-the-sand, because-I-said-so governance. Good decisions are made from good data. A decision to continue the status quo in the absence of supporting data is bad enough. For a governing body to deliberately not obtain data — particularly when the data is being offered for free — speaks for itself, and is unconscionable. That offer was real. Now look what happened. That money won’t be coming back.

    Steve

  5. Mark said, on July 15, 2009 at 12:08 am

    What happened to you, Jason?–I thought this was a pretty good interaction and was looking forward to your reply.

    Steve, I re-checked the numbers. I don’t know what else to share other than my info is correct. In addition to Google maps I’ve now gone to Mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com/maps?zipcode=12561) and then even drove the two distances.

    I’ll repeat with greater certainty after these confirmations:
    The distance between Main Street and the junction of Plattekill and Hasbrouck is greater than the 950 feet between Main Street and Plattekille via South Manheim. The report says that this situation is not good.

    I don’t know how to say this other than perhaps your strident advocacy for this plan may have rendered you less that open to recieving some of this factual information.

    At this point, I’m not really trying to engage you–or anyone–in a general discussion as to why the idea didn’t go as far as you and Jason would have liked. Although, I’ll share my sympathies with the fact that you were clearly very disappointed by it not going further.

    I’m simply trying to come to an understanding regarding the distance issue.

    • Jason West said, on July 15, 2009 at 12:12 am

      Mark —

      sorry for the delay in responding. work picked up when the rain stopped and I simply haven’t had time to look into this further. I will be responding shortly — don’t want to cut short an interesting dialogue (or trialogue?)

  6. Mark said, on July 15, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Thank you, Jason. I’m looking forward to whatever you find out (and completely understand the work demands!).

  7. Steve Greenfield said, on July 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Mark, your numbers are wrong. I checked the distance from Hasbrouck Ave. to Main Street on Mapquest and Google Maps several times, and it’s only 450 to 550 feet, depending on where the ruler is placed. You also did not address my other point, which is that very little parking is on Hasbrouck Ave., and is mostly very close to Main Street in the Village Hall metered parking, the municipal lot on Plattekill, and in the Post Office/Mobil parking lot, or along the metered streets of the Village core itself (capacity for which would be expanded if Main were one-way). Therefore a less than ideal distance from the upper part of Plattekill to Main Street is not a critical issue, because the overwhelming majority of people will be exiting their cars mere steps from Main Street.

    I did not stridently advocate for the one-way, although if it were feasible, it would solve a lot of problems. That’s why I advocated for the study, and still do (although now I have no idea how to pay for it). As I outlined above, there were real issues (the distance from Hasbrouck Ave. to Main Street not among them). Sound governance requires that they be studied. The study was not done. The facts I have used are accurate, and I always work with facts when making or adopting proposals. Why Village officials chose to avoid gathering additional facts when they didn’t have to pay for it will continue to mystify me, especially given the degree of certainty they had that the facts would vindicate their position.

    Steve

  8. Mark said, on July 15, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Steve, I appreciate passion but it becomes a I-can’t-hear-you-through-all-your-yelling sort of experience. I’m not questioning your integrity, I’m just sharing what Mapquest, Google Maps, and my odometer share.

    And to repeat myself–I’m also not interested in engaging anyone, let alone you, in other issues related to this topic as I’m only trying to understand the distance issue. My interest is really in getting Jason’s point of view on this.

    The report itself says the distance between Plattekill and Main Street is 950 feet.
    The distance between Main Street and the intersection of Plattekill and Hasbrouck is more than that. If you’re using a ruler, that may be the problem–you need string to account for the curves of the road in Plattekill (this isn’t an as the crow flies scenario). If you’re taking a short cut somewhere, that’s also a problem as I’m talking about the intersection of Hasbrouck and Plattekill.

  9. Steve Greenfield said, on July 16, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I’m not yelling, and my measurements came from Mapquest and Google Maps — the ones you suggested. They are accurate. I asked about the distance between two specific streets. You gave an inaccurate measurement. When I corrected your mistake, your reply changed to “Plattekill to Main Street is more than 950 feet.” Having been shown your mistake, you keep dwelling on the distance from streets that are not the ones I asked you about, and you continue to ignore the obvious point that almost none of the parking is beyond 950 feet and almost all of it is either on Main Street or within 300 feet of Main Street. It is clear you’re not interested in actually discussing this on a factual basis.

    I give you some credit, in a George Bush kind of way, for staying “on message” no matter what the question, or answer. Perhaps Jason will have better luck.

  10. Mark said, on July 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Steven, your arrogance is only rivalled by your self righteousness. I have no interest in your desire squabble, and will continue my intended interaction with Jason, who hasn’t had the difficulty following me that you have.

  11. Mark said, on July 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Steven,
    I’d be remiss if I didn’t share how obnoxious your “I say it’s so, so let’s move on to something I’m more interested in” attitude is. Please stop it, it’s rude.

  12. Mark said, on July 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Jason, to get us back on track:
    Page 25 in Final Phase B part f the Report:

    One way systems work best when the block length separating the one way streets is
    walkable. The distance between HW Dubois and Main Street is 1500 feet, which represents a 6+ minute walk time. The distance between Plattekill and Main Street is approximately 950 feet, representing less than a 4 minute walk time. Minimizing block length is important since one way systems are designed to encourage motorists to park proximate to their final destination on either leg of the one way pair and walk the rest of the way. One way pairs that are too distant from one another are considered inconvenient. For transit oriented development the preferred block length is 500 feet.

    Checking all accurate sources, the distance between Main and the intersection of Plattekill and Hasbrouck(along Plattekill) is greater than the distance between Main and Plattekill (going along S. Manheim: 950 feet according to the report). Even if you build the garage in the municipal lot, it only shaves off 100 or so feet (assuming they get one of the better spots). Your still well above 500 feet…closer to around 1000-1100 (depending on the garage and how you view that affecting the walk).

    Do you see this as a problem?

    • Jason West said, on July 26, 2009 at 11:19 pm

      Mark and Steve — please see the revised post.

      – Jason

  13. Mark said, on July 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks for the graphic!

    While I’ve not taken a tape measure out, I’ve driven the distance and found Main to Plattekill is just short of .2 miles (which is 1056 feet), which makes the report appear accurate in saying that this distance is 950 feet along South Manheim. This also appears to correspond with a understanding that you have shaded in red a range of roughly 500 feet on both sides of Main and Plattekill.

    approx. 500 feet to the north of Main
    approx. 500 feel to the south of Main
    approx. 500 feet to the north of Plattekill
    approx. 500 feet to the south of Plattekill

    So, the width of the red box represented in your graphic represents a total of approximately 2000 feet–am I reading this graphic correctly?

  14. David Santner said, on August 22, 2009 at 11:47 am

    What I think Mark and the VB understand is that a project like this, once the studies are complete, would be completely out of our control. The DOT could decide to implement the one way plan even if the town and village stood completely against it. The earlier in the process it is cut off the safer we are. This happened in Poughkeepsie just recently where the Town and City governments and the Arlington business and residential community stood,very vocally, against installing roundabouts on Raymond Avenue but the DOT ignored them and went ahead with it. I happen to like the roundabouts because I only use that road as a driver, but it is true that I used to stop to shop or eat but now I just drive right through. It saves me time and money but it costs the local businesses dearly. The DOT sponsors multiple public hearings and community based studies but local input is not really a factor in their decisions.

    • Jason West said, on August 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

      The one-way pair would include State Route 299 (aka Main Street), Route 208 South and Route 32 South which the DOT has some control over, though they can’t just do what they like. However, it would also include Hasbrouck Ave and Plattekill Ave. No matter how many studies are done, the DOT can’t just decide to change the traffic patterns on local roads. So while that fear may have some rational root, it doesn’t apply in this case. And for my money, what a Village Trustee should do is to be able to discern and understand those distinctions.

      Since we don’t know for sure whether the one way pair would be good for New Paltz yet, it was irresponsible of them to kill a project that could be of great benefit to the community just in case it MIGHT be bad. The discussion of whether the one-way pair would be a good idea should have taken place after we had all the necessary information; it shouldn’t have been killed because the Village Board felt it was better to remain ignorant of its’ impacts.

  15. Mark said, on August 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    THERE you are, Jason. Would you please confirm if the width of your box above represents about 2000 feet?

  16. Jason West said, on August 26, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Mark — I double checked and my map is wrong! What is shaded in red above is about 250 feet. (I seem to have used a 500 foot shape, but forgot that it’s 500 feet to EACH SIDE of Main and Plattekill, since you could be coming from either direction).

    John Street, for example, is within 500 feet of Main Street. I’ll upload a better image later tonight, once I play around with Photoshop and figure out how to correct it.

    Jason

  17. Mark said, on September 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    OK–I’m not sure where John Street is and don’t see it on the map. It may be easier if we set the map aside and stick with specific numbers.

    So what’s the distance between Main and Plattekille along S. Manheim? Am I correct with my odometer reading that suggests–in agreement with the Transportation and Land Use Study Report–that the distance is approximately 950 feet?

  18. Mark said, on September 14, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I’ll take your silence a lack of disagreement on this distance between Main Street and Plattekill along S. Manheim being approximately 950 feet.

    Now, reset the odometer in your car as you turn up Plattekill from Main (at the Starbucks). You’ll find that the distance to the intersection of Plattekill and Hasbrouck is longer than the reading you got from going Main to Plattekill along S. Manheim, and can therefore be estimated to be approximately 1000-1100 feet.

    Given that this is the most popular intersection along Main Street (and therefore the most likely point of walking commute should a one-way plan be put into place), this reading of a 1000-1100 foot walk is important, yes?

    This brings us back to the original question that I had and have been patiently waiting for a reply to:

    “Would you agree that–simply using the terms on this issue provided on page 25 of the Transportation and Land Use Study–this plan is not ‘designed to encourage motorists to park proximate to their final destination on either leg of the one way pair and walk the rest of the way’ because it’s about twice the recommended distance of 500 feet?”

    This question was posed months ago, and I’ve recieved 1). a note that you’ll talk to Bob Chamberlain 2). a map 3). silence and 4). a petulant and aggressively incorrect bystander 🙂 .

  19. Mark said, on September 14, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I don’t mean appear patronizing, but between you and Steve–who are both so quick to put forth your frustrations with the village board for rejecting further study and yet so reluctant to acknowledge this simple problem–it feels as though some hand-holding is necessary on this matter to lead you directly and clearly to my question.

    As a reminder…
    Page 25 in Final Phase B part f the Report:

    One way systems work best when the block length separating the one way streets is
    walkable. The distance between HW Dubois and Main Street is 1500 feet, which represents a 6+ minute walk time. The distance between Plattekill and Main Street is approximately 950 feet, representing less than a 4 minute walk time. Minimizing block length is important since one way systems are designed to encourage motorists to park proximate to their final destination on either leg of the one way pair and walk the rest of the way.
    One way pairs that are too distant from one another are considered inconvenient. For transit oriented development the preferred block length is 500 feet.

    • Jason West said, on September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

      Mark –

      A couple points.
      1) Just to be clear, the section you quote on page 25 was written in reference to a different one-way pair option that was looked at, and while I’m sure the numbers are accurate, it was not written in reference to the one-way pair we are discussing here.

      2) The quote you repeat makes reference to “transit-oriented developments the preferred block length is 500 feet”. You seem to be saying that this statement proves that any one-way pair that includes block lengths of over 500 feet is unworkable. This is not the case. The one-way pair is NOT transit-oriented development. TOD is mixed-use development built around public transportation nides (i.e., building neighborhoods around subway or train stops.) That statement above is using TOD recommendations to illustrate the point about the benefits of minimizing block length, not as evidence that a one-way pair is unworkable.

      3) Studies have shown (and I’ll be happy to find them and post links if it would be helpful) that a “walkable neighborhood” has a radius of roughly a quarter mile/400 meters/about a 5 minute walk. It’s not precise and it depends on how you measure it, obviously, but for our purposes “a quarter mile radius” is useful shorthand I think. A quarter mile is 1320 feet, and that’s the number we should be talking about. The 500-foot optimal distance for transit-oriented development is irrelevent to the one-way pair under discussion, since we’re not talking about TOD, and the rhetorical mention of TOD was written into the Phase B Report in reference to a different one-way pair.

    • Jason West said, on September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm

      Also, I’m trying to figure out how to make a better map in Photoshop, with quarter-mile walkable radius around the propsed one-way pair. Bear with me, it may take some time for me to figure out how to draw it so it’s legible.

  20. Mark said, on September 17, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Great–now we’re making some progress!

    Let’s start with #1.
    It appears we’ve come to an agreement regarding the measurements (distance between Main and Plattekill being ~ 1000-1100 feet) from Main. I’m glad we can now say it with some certainty.

    Now, #2.
    I’m not saying it proves anything, I’m simply pointing at this excerpt from the report: “One way pairs that are too distant from one another are considered inconvenient.”

    This applies to ALL one way pairs, right? One can say this with a high degree of certainty because the following sentence then specifies one specific type of one way pair, stating “For transit oriented development the preferred block length is 500 feet.”

    Are we in agreement, then, that ALL one way pairs that are too distant from one another are considered inconvenient?

    #3
    We now come full circle and arrive back at whether or not the distance between the intersection of Hasbrouk/Plattekill and Main is too far to expect people to park and walk to the downtown area.

    I focus on the walking because, especially with your idea of the garage at Plattekill, it appears as you envision this walk as one that many people would be willing (and able) to make.

    First, are you saying that you believe people would be willing ready and willing to walk a quarter of a mile from their parked car to Main?

    A quarter of a mile to get some cheese at Jack’s Deli or organic milk at Earthgoods doesn’t feel realistic. Geez, a quarter mile, or even 200 feet short of it doesn’t feel realistic for me for even a dinner at P&Gs, let alone some of the longer walks to the Bistro or the bookstore. In bad weather, such a walk–for even the healthiest of people (given the steep hill)–would appear be inadvisable.

    I’m glad we appear to have this ball rolling and look forward to and hope for a speedy reply!

    p.s. please don’t spend much time on the map on my account, it doesn’t really help me much.

    • Jason West said, on September 17, 2009 at 7:06 pm

      Mark —

      I’m not sure what it is exactly you’re getting at. Your first comment on this post was, “The report done on this already said that the distance of Plattekill from Main Street was far too great in the downtown area to expect this one way plan to succeed.” To back up your belief you later cited the statement from the Phase B Final Report that said, “for “transit-oriented developments the preferred block length is 500 feet”. That statement was simply an example showing that the smaller the block length the better, and it was written for a different (rejected) one-way pair than the one we’re talking about. The ‘industry standard’ for developing walkable neighborhoods is to keep everything within a quarter-mile radius. Here is a map that shows what a quarter mile radius around the One-Way Pair is:

      By any measure, the streets and parking lots within a quarter-mile of Main Street/Plattekill Avenue is within walking distance. However, that’s not the point, or at least it’s only part of the point.

      The reason for the one-way pair is:
      1) To reduce congestion on Main Street using existing infrastructure (i.e., no overpasses, no bypasses). By using a one-way pair, traffic congestion nearly disappears without building new roads. This is partly because half the Main Street traffic is on Hasbrouck/Plattekill and partly because with only one lane of traffic, people making left hand turns no longer tangle up the traffic behind them. By allowing the traffic to flow more smoothly, we have less congestion even though we have the same amount of vehicles.

      2) To increase the pedestrian nature of downtown. By eliminating a lane of traffic, we have the option to do any number of things – widen sidewalks, create dedicated bike or bus lanes, add more trees along the street, or double the amount of on-street parking.

      Now, to answer your points above:
      #1. Nope, still disagree. For one, it depends on where on Plattekill you mean. The widest point seems to be the distane between the two along Route 32, which looks to me to be in the neighborhood of 750 feet. From there is gets closer until Main and Plattekill cross. From google maps, it’s just over a tenth of a mile, and a tenth of a mile is 528 feet. So conservatively I’m sticking with 750 feet. In any case, whether it’s your numbers or mine, both of our numbers are well within the 1/4 mile that most people are comfortable walking.

      #2. “Transit Oriented Development” is not a type of one-way pair. And you’re forgetting that Main Street is not the only place people come to New Paltz for. The college generates an enormous amount of traffic, and there is already a n enormous amount of foot traffic between SUNY and Main Street, meaning that the distance is obviously not a difficult length to travel. Finally, no, not all one-way pairs that are too distant from each other are inconvenient. Route 44/55 in Poughkeepsie is not inconvenient if all you’re doing is travelling through Poughkeepsie. What we want to do, though, is combine a one-way pair with sidewalk and streetscape improvements to increase the walkability of the downtown and downtown/SUNY corridor. To that end, short block lengths are good. And since we already have short block lengths around the entire circumference of the proposed one-way pair, we don’t have to consider block length again. Especially wen you add in the fact, outlined in the study, that we already have a large percentage (~15%) of people walking or biking to work, often for much longer distances than the ones we’re talking about.

      #3. The “walking distance from Main Street” argument isn’t convincing. You’re forgetting a few things:
      a) People are ALREADY having to park farther away from their destination on Main Street than the distances we’re talking about.
      b) People are ALREADY walking farther than a quarter mile to their destination (i.e., on-campus students who walk to town, locals who walk to events on campus, those who park along side streets and walk to where they have dinner, etc.)
      c) Those who just want to make a quick stop for cheese at Jack’s or organic mile at Earthgoods are ALREADY finding difficulty parking right in front of where they want to shop. They are already having to park on side streets and walk, and rarely do they have to park a quarter mile away. That wouldn’t change under a one way pair and would in fact get easier, since if they want to they can just quickly loop around to come down Main Street again, rather than having to sit in bumber to bumper traffic in order to do the same thing.
      d) The quarter mile distance is more for those who LIVE within a quarter mile, and most (though not all) often find it less of a hassle to walk 1300 feet than get in their car and drive 1300 feet.
      e) Your examples of dinner at P&Gs, the Bistro or the bookstore wouldn’t require you to park a quarter mile away. You would still have all the parking lots, on street parking and side streets available to you. The only change would that it would be EASIER to get on and off Main Street, and once you were on Main, traffic would be flowing smoothly, rather than bumper to bumper. In addition, the one-way pair would potentially open up double the amount of on-street parking on Main Street, making it easier to find a spot if you just want to run in to pick up cheese or grab your take-out. This one-way pair has the potential to make it EASIER to drive down Main Street, EASIER to find parking and provide more parking, all while increasing the amount of pedestrian and bike access to downtown.

  21. Billy said, on September 25, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    You can make the most brilliant argument for a proposal (not that I think you make one here), but in the end it’s bad public policy to try and push something through that has virtually no public support. People hate, hate, hate this idea. Give it up and move on. Pick your battles.

    • Jason West said, on October 26, 2009 at 10:00 pm

      I’m not particularly wedded to this idea — in fact, my position all along has been that it has merit, but we need more information before we all decide whether it’s feasible or worthwhile to pursue. I’m frustrated by two aspects of limited public discussion we have all had about this idea. One, I’m frustrated that the current Village Board rejected even the thought of looking further into it regardless of the fact that our five-year study and public fora saw this as having huge potential to alleviate traffic congestion while increasing other things we want more of (sidewalk culture, bike lanes, shade trees, etc.) It simply doesn’t make sense to put your head in the sand and refuse to even look into something that at least has the potential to make our community better. My second frustration is that while, yes, many people when they first hear about this idea second or third hand reject it, very few people have thought it through or had the chance to have the reasoning behind it explained so that they can make an informed decision. I firmly believe that elected officials need to represent the will of the people, but what the community says it wants must equally be an informed opinion, not a quick gut response based on a partial understanding of the facts. For all I know, this thing may not be workable (either technically or because what we give up in one area of our comunity is not worth the gains in another). But at the very least, we should have had an informed, public discussion of the idea. I’ve run into many people who had a bad first reaction to the proposal, but after talking with them awhile and explaining the details they changed their minds from outright opposition to being curious about the potential benefits. It’s still worth talking about even if some people don’t like what they’ve heard about it.

  22. Janee Panama said, on February 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

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  24. Willard Budde said, on December 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

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