On Oct. 20, a public meeting was held at the Parish Center on North Street to present findings from a year-long survey of road and traffic conditions.
The study was commissioned in order for the town to access state funding for the proposed projects. "This is great because now we have a study with facts that we can show to a grant source," said Ben Gajewski, a local resident who attended the meeting.
The major recommendations proposed at the meeting include erecting four-way traffic signals at the Court Street/Main Street/North Street/Avon Road intersection, a two-hour prohibition of left turns from Park Street onto Main Street, the addition of a bus shelter on Center Street and more sidewalks on Lima Road.
"We looked at four issues: circulation, parking, safety and aesthetics," said Edward Flynn, senior planner of Stuart I. Brown Associates, Inc. and chief presenter. His organization, along with LaBella Associates, was charged by the Village of Geneseo to develop and design alternative plans to improve those four conditions in the studied areas.
"We took a multi-modal approach in our recommendations," Flynn said. "We were concerned with not only traffic, but pedestrians also."
The presentation opened by citing population and demographic growths as factors contributing to the increased traffic. From 1990 to 2007, there has been a 3 percent increase in population. In addition, over 1,000 jobs have appeared in Geneseo and Avon between 1998 and 2006. In 2000, about 48 percent of Livingston County residents were working outside of their home county.
"In upstate New York, any growth is good growth," Flynn said. "But this just shows that we now have more people traveling, more to go to work and our roads are getting used more."
Next, Flynn introduced the concept of "level of service." Level of service refers to the delay at any given intersection, and it is graded on an A to F scale. The presentation identified three failing corners; they are encountered while driving from Park Street to Main Street, going westbound on North Street, and heading eastbound on Court Street at the Court/Main/North/Avon intersection.
"Level of service looks at delay, but there were also pressing safety issues we had to consider," Flynn said. "There were 20 accidents at Main Street and Court from 2006 to 2008," he added. "That's way more than what's usual up here." Flynn also noted that the sight distance for cars on North Street in reference to trying to see cars coming down Main Street is "unacceptable."
Survey results also indicated that many residents said they believed there was a need for safety improvements at the Court/Main/North/Avon intersection.
"It's bad to walk across," said sophomore Alanna Smith. "You're never sure if someone is going or not."
Survey results also indicated a general satisfaction with parking situations, dissatisfaction with the physical conditions of Court Street and North Street and a perception of speeding and dissatisfaction with the lighting on Court Street. Flynn's presentation also noted the need for sidewalks on both sides of Avon Road.
Flynn went on to discuss the different options considered for possible solutions at the four-way and the failing Park/Main Street intersections. For the Court/Main/North/Avon intersection, four options were considered: no change, an all-way stop, a roundabout or a four-way traffic signal.
The first two options were taken off the table fairly quickly, and eventually the decision was made to recommend traffic lights over the construction of a roundabout.
"The roundabout would cost a lot of time and money, would greatly improve circulation, but not have a great safety impact," Flynn said.
A compromise was made concerning Park Street and the final recommendation was that there be a two-hour window of time, from approximately 4 to 6 p.m., when left turns would be forbidden from Park onto Main Street.
The final major recommendation discussed in detail was an overall aesthetic improvement to the physical condition of North Street. It calls for two travel lanes and a parking lane, as well as a median at the central point of North Street to act as a buffer for speeding traffic.
Other recommendations included adding bike racks at strategic locations, monitoring the possible future conversions of private parking areas to buildings, sidewalk bump-outs, enhanced crosswalks, decorative pavement at Center and Main and along Bank Street and the possible additions of medians and signs as well as speed reductions at the corridor gateways at Route 20A and Main, Route 63 and Court, and Lima and Volunteer Road.
The recommendations were split into two categories: Possible immediate and possible medium or long-term implementations. Projects that could be pursued immediately include the no left turn at Park Street, putting up more pedestrian crossing signs, a ban on front yard parking, speed reductions, the creation of more bike racks and the new bus shelter. Medium and long-term projects include the Main Street streetscape, the traffic signals, North Street improvements, gateway improvements, increased lighting on Court Street and building additional sidewalks.
According to Flynn, the next step is for the town to vote their support and then to acquire funding for the projects. The traffic signals will cost roughly $200,000 and the improvements to North Street could total $2 million.
"This project is very doable," said Marvin Kleinberg of the New York State Department of Transportation. "However, funding is becoming iffy. The Federal Highway Act expired on Sept. 30, so things are uncertain right now."
"I think that it's a good idea because it's horrible when there's heavy traffic … especially if you drive a manual," said sophomore Claire Littlefield. "Every time I go to soccer practice I have a near-death experience because of confusion at that intersection. It's bad enough that I take an alternate route to practice to avoid it."
The full report of results can be found online at geneseony.org.