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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION
…………………………………….............……… 1.1

A. Background and Purpose ………………………………………………. 1.1
B. Study Organization …………………………………..………………….. 1.4
C. Goals and Objectives …………………………………..……………….. 1.5
D. Organization of the Plan ……………………………….……………….. 1.9

CHAPTER II. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PROCESS ……………………………. 2.1

A. Participants and Roles …………………………………………………. 2.1
B. Participation Process Design and Implementation ………………..... 2.5
C. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………… 2.8

CHAPTER III. LIVABILITY PRINCIPLES ……………………………………….. 3.1

A. Environmental Capacity ……………………………………………… 3.1
B. Traffic Calming ………………………………………………………… 3.5
C. Mobility ………………………………………………………………… 3.7
D. Roadway Design Standards ………………………………………. ..3.13
E. Access and Connectivity ……………………………………………..3.14
F. Pedestrian and Bicycle Access …………………………………….. 3.16
G. Transit Access ………………………………………………………. 3.18
H. Land Use Planning ………………………………………………… 3.21
I. Retrofitting Existing Sprawl ………………………………………… 3.23
J. References …………………………………………………………… 3.24

CHAPTER IV. EXISTING TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS ………………… 4.1

A. Neighborhood Conditions ……………………………………………… 4.1
B. Pedestrians and Cyclists ……………………………………………… 4.2
C. Transit System ………………………………………………………….. 4.3
D. Roadway System ……………………………………………………….. 4.5
E. Traffic Volumes ………………………………………………………… 4.9
F. Intersection Level of Service …………………………………………… 4.13
G. Speed Study …………………………………………………………….. 4.16
H. Public Identification of Transportation Problems and Issues ……… 4.19

CHAPTER V. PROJECTED VEHICULAR TRAFFIC ……………………………. 5.1

A. Modeling Process for Motor Vehicles …………………………………. 5.1
B. Projections of Future Population and Employment …………………. 5.2
C. Traffic Projections ……………………………………………………… 5.7
D. Conclusions …………………………………………………………….. 5.11

CHAPTER VI. DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF TRANSPORTATION

ALTERNATIVES ……………………………………………………...................... 6.1

A. Defining the Problem ………………………………………………… 6.1
B. Proposing Alternatives ……………………………………………….. 6.4
C. Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan ……………………………………………… 6.7
D. Transit Alternative - Maximum Transit Service ……………………. 6.8
E. Connector Roads …………………………………………………….. 6.18

CHAPTER VII. RECOMMENDATIONS …………………………………...…… 7.1


Transportation Plan Recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1 – Adopt Livability Principles …………………….. 7.2
  • Recommendation 2 – Provide Enhanced Community-Based Transit Service ………………………………… 7.3
  • Recommendation 3 – Implement Land Use Planning Practices That Will Enhance Livability ………………………... 7.4
  • Recommendation 4 – Improve the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Network ………………………………………… 7.5
  • Recommendation 5 – Perform Design/Feasibility Study and Reserve Right of Way for Cross Cutting Roadway Corridors ……………………………………….. 7.6
  • Recommendation 6 – Refer Localized Problems to Responsible Jurisdictions ………………………………….…. 7.9
  • Recommendation 7 – Implement Selected Actions ……………………... 7.9
  • Recommendation 8 – Freight Study ………………………………….…. 7.9
  • Recommendation 9 – Intergovernmental Cooperation …………………. 7.10

B. Opportunity ……………………………………………………………… 7.10

 

Appendices

Appendix A – Public Comments Received
Appendix B – Bibliography of Other Plans and Studies
Appendix C – Summary of Meetings of Working Group and With the Public
Appendix D – Transit Data Used to Estimate Ridership
Appendix E – Traffic Data Including ATR Counts, Intersection Counts, Speed Data
Appendix F – Level of Service Calculations
Appendix G – Detailed Information Localized Problems
Appendix H – TModel Data
Appendix I – Evaluation of Other North-South Corridor Alternatives
 
 
List of Tables

Table: Page
4.1 ADT and Peak Hour Factors ………………………………………………….. 4.13
4.2 Level of Service Summary 1997 Existing Conditions ………………………… 4.15
4.3 Summary of Speed Measurement Data ……………………………………….. 4.19
4.4 Transportation Problems Identified …………………………………………… 4.22-3
5.1 Historic Population Growth …………………………………………………… 5.3
5.2 Population and Employment Projections …...………………………………… 5.4
5.3 Projected 20-Year Growth in Traffic………..………………………………… 5.12
6.1 NEST Livability Ideas for Localized Problems……………………….………. 6.2
6.2 Transportation Problems to be Addressed by Alternatives …………………… 6.3
6.3 Evaluation of Future Null Alternative ………………………………………… 6.5
6.4 NESTS’ Initial Brainstormed Alternatives ……….…………………………… 6.6
6.5 NESTS Future Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan Evaluation .…………………………. 6.10
6.6 Maximum Transit Evaluation …………………………………………………. 6.14
6.7 Summary of Maximum Transit Peak Hour Potential Ridership ……………… 6.15
6.8 Projected Traffic Volumes with Maximum Transit Peak Hour Vehicles …….. 6.15
6.9 Summary of Maximum Transit Service Order of Magnitude Costs ………….. 6.18
6.10 NESTS North-South Connector East Evaluation .……………………………. 6.23
6.11 NESTS North-South Connector Route 34/13 West ...………………………… 6.28
6.12 Comparison of Alternative S and Segment A1 Traffic Diversion Impacts …… 6.3
#Projected 2016 Peak Hour Traffic Volume Impacts of Recommend Alternatives
Versus Null Alternative ………………..………………………… 6.35
 
 
List of Figures

Figure: Page
1.1 Study Area …………………………………………………………….. 1.2
Public Participation and Collaborative Decision Making Process…….. 2.7
3.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Traffic Calming Measures ……….. 3.8-11
4.1 Roadway Network …………………………………………………….. 4.6
4.2 Roadway Network …………………………………………………….. 4.7
4.3 Average Annual Daily Traffic ………………………………………… 4.11
4.4 1997 Existing Traffic Volumes and Levels of Services ………………. 4.12
4.5 Alternative Judd Falls Road Improvements …………………………… 4.17
4.6 Speed Data Locations ………..…………………………………..……. 4.18
4.7 Problem Sheet …………………………………………………………. 4.21
5.1 NESTS Model Assumptions Employment ..………………………….. 5.5
5.2 NESTS Model Assumptions Population .…………………………….. 5.6
5.3 Screenline Locations ………………………………………………….. 5.9
5.4 Future Screenline Volumes …………………………………………… 5.10
5.5 Existing and Future Levels of Service ……………………..…………. 5.14
6.1 Consolidated Pedestrian/Bicycle Map ………………………………… 6.9
6.2 Potential Transit Routes ……………………………………………….. 6.12
6.3 Alternatives Corridors Evaluated ……………………………………… 6.20
Future Volume Comparison on Existing Roadways With and Without
North-South Connector East ……………………..…………………..… 6.24
6.5 Future Volume Comparison on Existing Roadways With and Without
North-South Connector Route 34/13 West ……..……………………… 6.29
6.6 Alternative S – Southern Potential Alignment ……………….……….... 6.32
Future Volume Comparison on Existing Roadways With and Without
Combined S and A2 and S3 ……………………………………………. 6.34
7.1 Recommended Corridors for Further Study …………………………….. 7.7
 
 
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION

A. Background and Purpose
 
Tompkins County is special because of its mix of educational, social-cultural, and natural features. It is the home of Cornell University, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College, which provide the vibrancy and intellectual stimulation associated with institutions of higher learning. The City of Ithaca, in the center of the County, serves as the activity hub for the County and surrounding area. The natural features of the area include Cayuga Lake and numerous scenic gorges with waterfalls and rapidly flowing streams. This topography results in many areas for hiking and sightseeing, some of which have been preserved in state and local parks and preserves. The topography also constrains the form of the transportation system. Variation in elevation creates steep grades on roads, bicycle ways, and sidewalks. The gorges and streams, running predominately east-west, create natural barriers to north-south travel. Early settlement patterns were greatly influenced by topography, with small local roads evolving to serve the developing land uses. Many of the heavily used roads in the area date from the early 1800s, but they now carry increasingly large amounts of traffic through established residential areas.
The area surrounding Cornell University, particularly to the north and east, designated the Northeast Subarea (Figure 1.1), has experienced continuing residential and commercial development growth. Inadequate land-use planning has encouraged sprawled growth, and the transportation system has not been modified in response to growth in traffic, in spite of many previous studies. The transportation system serving the area faces many problems. The
 
Insert Figure 1.1
 
private vehicle is the dominant means of transportation. Existing neighborhood streets carry both local and through traffic, creating conflicts between vehicles and residents. Bicyclists and pedestrians are hampered by deficient facilities, which reduce the attractiveness of these alternative modes of transportation. Existing public transit is limited and has inadequate funds for expansion.
Recognizing these issues, the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council (ITCTC) in conjunction with the New York State Department of Transportation, sponsored the North East Subarea Transportation Study (NESTS), using funds from the federal Surface Transportation Program. The NESTS effort and the resulting NESTS Transportation Plan it produced are described in this report. The Transportation Plan was prepared based on the new paradigm for transportation planning initially established by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 and continued in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which call for an emphasis on "maintenance of existing facilities; improved efficiency in transportation investments; maximizing mobility through mode choice and access; community participation and localized decision making,and environmental sensitivity.
The purpose of the study provided in the scope of services was:
To develop a transportation plan that articulates and responds to the specific transportation issues and their related impacts as they affect the citizens and businesses within the designated subarea. Furthermore, this project will be undertaken in a manner that fulfills the planning requirements and objectives of ISTEA, including (but not limited to) concerns over intermunicipal cooperation and public involvement.
 
 
B. Study Organization
 
The NESTS study area includes 6 local municipalities as participants – Tompkins County, the Towns of Ithaca, Lansing, and Dryden; and the Villages of Lansing and Cayuga Heights. Other involved agencies included Cornell University, New York State Department of Transportation, Tompkins County Area Transit System (TCAT), and the New York State Police. A key element in the success of the NESTS effort was a study organization that encouraged the participation of elected officials and staff representatives as well as other organizations and individuals affected by the transportation system. Three groups, each with a defined responsibility, were formed to manage the study as described below:
 
  • Project Management Team: The County Planning Department, Public Works Department, and the ITCTC were responsible for project management and contract administration.
  • Client Committee: General project oversight was provided by the Client Committee which also ensured inter-jurisdictional cooperation and coordination. The members of the Client Committee (mostly elected officials) are listed in Chapter II. To initiate the study, the Client Committee chose the consultant team that conducted the study, and appointed members of the Working Group and established their mission and charge. During the study, the Client Committee provided contractual oversight and reviewed study progress. The Client Committee was charged with providing a final recommendation for approval of the Transportation Plan to the Transportation Policy Committee of the ITCTC and working toward formal local government adoption and implementation of the recommendations.
  • Working Group: The Working Group represented the primary stakeholder groups that will be affected by the recommendations in the TransportationPlan. Members are listed in Chapter II. This group provided vital linkages to the community throughout the study. They developed Goals and Objectives and evaluated the various alternatives proposed. The final recommendations of the study that form the Transportation Plan are the result of their efforts.
 
During the course of the study, there was a concerted effort to reach out to the community by conducting:
 
  • Public Meetings: Four public meetings were held to obtain comments on the study design, existing problems, alternatives considered, and the plan recommendations.
  • Client Committee Meetings: Regular Client Committee meetings were held to provide committee members with information on the study progress and obtain their input on the development of the plan.
  • Working Group Meetings: During the course of the study, there were 20 Working Group meetings. Members of the Working Group also participated in many subcommittee meetings dealing with specific topics such as livable communities, alternative improvements, and Goals and Objectives. The results of these subcommittee efforts were provided to the Working Group for their further refinement and approval.
  • Neighborhood Meetings: Members of the Working Group and consultant staff met with neighborhood groups formally a number of times during the study. In addition, there were many informal meetings conducted by Working Group members and their stakeholder groups.
  • Web Page: A web page was maintained and updated throughout the course of the study.

The Transportation Plan also considered recommendations from other studies and plans in the area that have been completed or are underway. The Transportation Plan was developed to provide a framework for better land use plans for the Towns of Lansing, Ithaca and Dryden, the Villages of Lansing and Cayuga Heights, and Cornell University. The recommendations in the ITCTC 2015 Long Range Plan were also considered as the Transportation Plan was prepared. Other plans and studies reviewed as part of this effort are listed in the bibliography in Appendix B.

 
C. Goals and Objectives
 
Creating a set of Goals and Objectives to guide the study, define transportation issues, and evaluate alternatives was a challenging task because of the diverse interests represented on the Working Group. It was crucial to develop a common set of Goals and Objectives so that the study could proceed based on a shared vision. As the Goals were being developed, an over-riding consideration that received unanimous endorsement from the Working Group was the concept of Livability (see Chapter III). The final Goals reflect this concept.
These Goals cover all the major traffic and transportation issues that must be addressed to provide mobility and livability in the NESTS area. Specific objectives applied to each of the Goals further clarified their meaning and, in many cases, established measurable impacts. Four feasibility factors were also developed to facilitate the evaluation of alternatives and allow comparisons between the various proposals. A major recommendation of the Working Group is that these Goals and Objectives be used in all future evaluations of transportation projects in the Ithaca-Tompkins County area.
 
NORTH EAST SUBAREA TRANSPORTATION STUDY
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Preamble

The North East Subarea Transportation Study (NESTS) advocates using transportation planning to make the northeast study area of Tompkins County a more livable community. The NESTS design and planning process is based on active community involvement in order to develop recommendations that meet current and future community needs. The NESTS study strives to enhance the quality of life in our communities by development of a well-managed multi-modal transportation system that is responsive to the needs of the community.

The following Goals and Objectives represent an integrated response to transportation issues in the study area. They address different aspects of concern, and are presented in no particular order.

In order for the northeast area of Tompkins County to become a more livable community over the next twenty (20) years, there will be:

 

NORTH EAST SUBAREA TRANSPORTATION STUDY
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES (continued)

Goal 1.

A transportation system that enhances and preserves the quality of life in neighborhoods, residential and other community areas, including recreational, educational and commercial areas.

Objective 1: Increase safety on neighborhood streets.

Objective 2: Decrease the volume of vehicular traffic on neighborhood streets.

Objective 3: Reduce excessive vehicle speeds.

Objective 4: Decrease levels of vehicle-induced air and noise pollution.

Objective 5: Design attractive streetscapes.

Objective 6: Increase pedestrian and bicycle links between community nodes.

Objective 7: Operate clean fueled, quiet buses with frequent neighborhood service.


Goal 2.

A multi-modal transportation system developed and maintained that connects residential, public and commercial activity centers of the study area and the region.

Objective 1: Provide a continuous network of through roads that have adequate capacity to handle traffic with minimal congestion and delay.

Objective 2: Design intersections to facilitate effective and safe vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle movement.

Objective 3: Design roadways that provide safe clearance between bicycle, pedestrianand vehicular traffic.

Objective 4: Improve traffic flow between north and south destinations within the study area.

Objective 5: Minimize adverse impacts on the natural environment.

Objective 6: Improve multimodal access to employment and commercial centers.

Objective 7: Provide continuous pathways and connections for bicycles, pedestrians and vehicular traffic between community nodes.

Objective 8: Reserve appropriate right-of-ways for proposed new roads now, in anticipation of future needs.

Objective 9: Design roadways to be scenic, efficient and have a positive impact on the area through which they pass.

Goal 3.

Outstanding pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities to use as an alternative to the automobile.

Objective 1: Provide well-maintained facilities for bicycles and pedestrians.

Objective 2: Emphasize safety and minimize conflicts with motor vehicles.

Objective 3: Increase mobility of community members via alternative forms of transportation.

Objective 4: Increase TCAT’s service levels in the study area, including weekend andevening service.

Objective 5: Improve ease-of-use for customer information, payment, scheduling and passenger waiting facilities.

Goal 4.

Support for livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and land use patterns and policies.

Objective 1: Balance historic, scenic, cultural and transportation interests.

Objective 2: Increase the interconnectivity of the transportation network within the study area in order to increase the efficiency of the road network and provide alternative travel routes.

Objective 3: Integrate transportation, land use and economic development.

Objective 4: Provide consistent standards for each transportation mode throughout the study area.

Objective 5: Serve the transportation-disadvantaged population.

Feasibility Factors

  1. Consider all costs of proposed alternatives (procurement, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, and travel costs).
  2. Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
  3. Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
  4. Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.

 

D. Organization of the Plan

The Transportation Plan is divided into the following seven chapters:

Chapter I: Introduction.
Chapter II: Public Participation Process, describing the collaborative participation process used in NESTS.
Chapter III: Livability Principles, describing livability principles related to the Transportation System.
Chapter IV: Existing Transportation Conditions, describing the current characteristics of the transportation system in the NESTS area.
Chapter V: Projected Vehicular Traffic, describing the forecast future conditions if there are no major changes to the transportation system or to the land use planning policies in the NESTS area.
Chapter VI: Development and Evaluation of Transportation Alternatives, describing and evaluating the alternatives proposed to address area transportation needs.
Chapter VII: Recommendations and Conclusions, describing the recommendations of the Transportation Plan.
 
 
CHAPTER II: PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PROCESS
 
The public involvement component of the North East Subarea Transportation Study (NESTS) was an innovative collaboration between local governments, technical consultants, and the citizens of Tompkins County. In this highly participatory process, local government entrusted primary responsibility for problem identification, data gathering, and solution generation to a diverse group of citizen representatives working in conjunction with a transportation planning consultant.
The underlying premise of the NESTS process design was that a properly involved and informed public would significantly improve the quality of the study’s outcome. Additionally, experience from similar projects had shown that the potential for building understanding, ownership, and thereby broad community support for the study’s results would be dramatically enhanced through extensive public participation.
This chapter describes who was involved in the study, how they participated, and what activities they undertook. Significant junctures in the overall deliberation process are identified and described. The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part identifies the participants, describes the process by which they were selected and their various roles in the study. The second part summarizes the participation-process design and the outreach and publicity activities.
 

A. Participants and Roles
 
The NESTS process involved the collaborative participation of the following six groups.
  • Citizen Working Group: During the initial design stages of the study, ITCTC, the NESTS Client Committee, and CDRC worked collaboratively to establish a variety of complementary participation roles. At core was a fourteen-member Citizen Working Group. It was intended that these participants possess a broad spectrum of interests and affiliations, as well as varying degrees of transportation-planning experience. This group was identified through an extensive mailing solicitation to more than 100 groups including neighborhood associations, environmental groups, local business owners, freight shipment providers, law enforcement agencies, municipal planning boards, etc. The Working Group’s overall tasks were to gather information on local conditions and concerns, identify problems, research and develop potential solutions, and ultimately evaluate and select the final recommendations. At the outset, the Client Committee informed the Working Group that it would work toward implementation of the Group’s final recommendations, however recommending to "do nothing" was not a viable alternative.
The final fourteen members were selected jointly by CDRC and the NESTS Client Committee based upon written applications with the objective of having the group possess a balance of interests, skills, and geographic representations. The Working Group members and their respective affiliations were:
 
John Bailey Bailey Insurance Company
  • Savanna Park Neighborhood Association
  • Dryden Masonic Lodge
Fred Bonn (5/98-7/99)
  • Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce  [Replaced Linda Daybell upon her resignation]
Barbara Caldwell
  • Town of Dryden Planning Board
  • Ithaca Board of Realtors
  • Tompkins County League of Women Voters
Lois Chaplin
  • Cornell Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Specialist
  • Tompkins County Greenway Coalition
  • Ithaca City Bicycle Advisory Council (former member)
Lin Davidson
  • Town of Lansing Planning Board
  • Lansing Lions Club
  • Cash grain farmer
Linda Daybell (11/97-5/98)
  • Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce  [Resigned due to moving United Way of Tompkins County away from Ithaca]

Robert Dey (11/97-1/98)

  • Cayuga Heights Fire Company [Resigned due to Tompkins County Fire Advisory Board schedule conflict]
  • Village of Cayuga Heights Police Officer

William Goldsmith

  • Cornell Professor City & Regional Planning
  • Forest Home Improvement Association
  • Alternative Community School Advisory Bd. (former member)
  • Alternative Community School Advisory Board (former member)

Thomas LiVigne

  • Cornell University Real Estate Department
  • Tompkins County United Way
  • Better Housing for Tompkins County

Dwight Mengel

  • Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Project Manager

Dorothy Munson

  • Lansing business owner
  • Tompkins County Farm Bureau
  • Business & Professional Women’s Group of Ithaca

Fred Noteboom

  • Town of Ithaca, Superintendent of Highways

David Orr

  • Cornell Local Roads Program
  • Kappa Delta Rho Alumni Board
  • Transit Commuter
  • Dana Paul Bill Cooke (auto dealership) Service Manager
  • Ludlowville Neighborhood Association
  • Tompkins County Household Haz. Waste Adv. Committee
  • Bicycle commuter

Dennis Reinhart

  • Village of Lansing Superintendent, Public Works
  • Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council


 

  • Technical Advisors: Several technical advisors worked in partnership with the Working Group. These advisors were primarily local professional staff with transportation or planning expertise. They provided technical insight and interpretation of local conditions while acting as resources for potentially innovative approaches to transportation and land use planning. Several of these individuals were regular attendees at Working Group and public meetings. Following is a list of the technical advisors and their primary affiliations:
Fernando de Aragon Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, Director
Edward Abruzzo Zone Sergeant, New York State Trooper
Katie Borgella Tompkins County Planning Department; Brent Cross Village of Cayuga Heights, Superintendent of Public Works
John Gutenberger Cornell University, Asst. Director of Community Relations
James Hanson Tompkins County, Commissioner of Planning
David Herrick TG Miller Engineering
Jonathan Kanter Town of Ithaca, Director of Planning
Bill Mobbs Tompkins County, Commissioner of Public Works
Diane Noyes Sergeant, New York State Trooper
Bill Wendt Cornell University, Director of Transportation Services
 
  • Technical Consultant: The role of the technical consultant, Creighton Manning Engineering, was to gather essential traffic data, provide the Working Group with analysis and potential remedies, and generally contribute essential technical expertise. In this capacity, the consultant provided the Working Group with the information needed to proceed to each successive level of inquiry. The technical consultant was chosen by the Client Committee at the initial stage of the project. The following two professionals were Creighton Manning’s on-site staff for the project:

Doug Hamlin, P.E. (12/97 - 4/98)
Chuck Manning, P.E. (3/98 - 7/99)

 

  • Client Committee: The NESTS Client Committee was comprised of eight elected or appointed officials of the concerned municipalities and jurisdictions. Throughout the project, this group provided contractual oversight and acted as a conduit for directing information on the study back to their respective organizations. Following is a list of the members and their affiliations:
Cathy Valentino, Chairperson Town of Ithaca, Supervisor
Ron Anderson Village of Cayuga Heights, Mayor
Henrik Dullea Cornell University, Vice President for University Relations
Brad Griffin Town of Lansing, Planning Board member
Janice Gross New York State Dept. of Transportation Director (Region 3)
Donald Hartill Village of Lansing, Mayor
James Schug Town of Dryden, Supervisor
Stuart Stein Tompkins County Board of Representatives
 
  • Process Facilitators: The design of the NESTS process was developed by facilitators from the Interface Program of the Ithaca Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) in collaboration with ITCTC and the Client Committee. An interactive skills training workshop on collaborative problem-solving and consensus decision-making for the Working Group and Client Committee members was provided by the facilitators at the outset of the process. In addition, CDRC planned, facilitated, and was responsible for producing the written record summaries of all Working Group and public meetings.
The CDRC facilitators, together with ITCTC Director, Fernando de Aragon, served as liaison between various public entities and the internal NESTS participants. They coordinated the technical consultant’s activities and materials to assure successful integration by the Working Group and the larger public. Most publicity materials were developed and media contact directed by the CDRC facilitation team. At all stages, two of the following three facilitators were working on the project:
Kelly Aiken Facilitator, CDRC (11/97-6/98)
Judy Saul Executive Director, CDRC (11/97-1/98 & 4/98-7/99)
Scott Sears Facilitator, CDRC (11/97-7/99)
 
  • Public Participants: Throughout the study, there was significant involvement from members of the public not directly affiliated with the NESTS project team. Commencing with the initial solicitation of Working Group members and culminating in a final public meeting with more than 200 citizens in attendance, the NESTS process was highly inclusive. All regular and subcommittee Working Group meetings were open to the public in accordance with the "Public Involvement Procedures" of the ITCTC. Interested citizens frequently contacted the CDRC facilitators, technical consultants and Working Group members outside of meetings to share information and express concerns.

Through the wide-ranging involvement of many citizens over the eighteen-month study period, the Working Group and technical consultant gained invaluable insight into local needs and concerns. Public input generated many excellent proposals for solutions. In keeping with the intent of the NESTS process, the final recommendations reflected the contributions of the public-at-large. Of particular note were the contributions of one public participant, Bruce Brittain. Although not officially appointed to the Working Group, he worked side-by-side with the group throughout the study.
 

B. Participation Process Design and Implementation

1. Process Design: The collaborative environment within which the various NESTS participants interacted was constructed to allow a wide spectrum of interests, viewpoints, innovation, and technical understanding to be expressed in a balanced manner. The framework for the process was modeled upon the following concepts of consensus-based collaborative planning and problem- solving:

  • The commitment of all participants to seek common and satisfactory options and solutions
  • An inclusive decision making process, with participants reflecting the diversity of stakeholders
  • Open and free flow of information
  • Stakeholder involvement in gathering and/or assessing information
  • Negotiations focusing on underlying interests rather than polarized positions
  • Identification, analysis, and testing of multiple options
  • Multiple opportunities and forums that allow for different levels and modes of participation

Utilizing the above principles to achieve its mission, the Working Group undertook the following sequence of activities:

  • Attended consensus skills training workshop and established operating agreements
  • Established stakeholder interests
  • Identified transportation needs and problems
  • Became familiar with existing conditions and collected transportation data
  • Investigated, refined, and then established the study’s Goals and Objectives
  • Undertook problem analysis
  • Developed and refined livability principles
  • Created evaluation criteria for solution acceptability
  • Initiated potential solution development
  • Incorporated innovations from other transportation planning projects
  • Evaluated/tested potential solutions with traffic data
  • Continued problem analysis and solution development
  • Evaluated solution proposals relative to the study’s Goals and Objectives
  • Selected solutions and created recommendations

Figure 2.1 provides a graphic representation of the overall public participation process of the study. A summary record of the study’s twenty Working Group meetings and four public meetings is included in Appendix C. For additional details, complete meeting summaries from each Working Group meeting are available on file in the ITCTC offices.

1. Working Group Decision Making: From the outset of the study, Working Group members agreed that decisions would be made by consensus. As previously mentioned, the CDRC facilitation team provided a skills training workshop in collaborative problem-solving and consensus decision-making. The collaborative framework introduced at that workshop set the tone and structure for all future group interactions. Documentation on the consensus decision-making process is available from CDRC.

Throughout the study, there were various junctures at which the Group’s work required formal decisions. For example, determining the content of the study’s Goals and Objectives required substantial collaboration and a final consensus decision. The most significant decision-making juncture in the overall study was the final determination of recommendations. After having narrowed the options through exhaustive analysis and revisions, the Group proceeded to evaluate the proposed options. Through an iterative process that allowed for reflection upon the study’s Goals and Objectives and incorporation of public

Figure 2.1

input, the Working Group developed the proposals into solid recommendations. In the spirit of consensus decision-making, the final agreement process involved not only the identification of common perspectives, but also the acknowledgement and inclusion of different values and priorities. In order to reach consensus, some Working Group members choose to accept certain components of the recommendations even though they were not completely satisfied with the content. In particular, the North–South Roadway Corridor and the S1 recommendations did not have unanimous support. After extended deliberation, those members who had not been in full support choose to accept the vast majority’s motion and ultimately endorsed the recommendations as presented in the report.

2. Outreach and Publicity: At key stages of the study process, there were opportunities for the larger public to provide input through well-publicized open public meetings. At these events, the Working Group and the technical consultant shared their current work and engaged the public in interactive activities to solicit citizen response and to stimulate dialogue on concerns and additional solutions. Additionally, the study created an open channel of communication through a NESTS web site, e-mail correspondence, and the option of phoning in questions and concerns to the ITCTC office telephone. These options were frequently utilized by the public.

During the problem identification stage of the study, Working Group members engaged in a concentrated effort to solicit public input through a written survey. This survey was distributed at the first two NESTS public meetings, through presentations at regularly scheduled local civic group meetings, and at a limited number of workplaces.

 

C. Conclusion

The NESTS process provided valuable opportunities for citizen participation in transportation and land use planning. Broad citizen involvement, with professional facilitators, worked well to combine technical analysis with sensitive local concerns. The participatory nature of the study allowed for the incorporation of a diversity of experience and interests that could not have been achieved otherwise. Consequently, the final product is substantially representative of the larger interests of the local community. The experience gained from NESTS can be used to enhance public involvement and improve the quality of outcomes on similar projects in the future.
 

CHAPTER III: LIVABILITY PRINCIPLES

A major focus of the NESTS study has been that of transportation planning in support of livable communities. The study’s Goals state the need to preserve and enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods, residential and other community areas, and to support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and land use patterns and policies.

While recognizing that we live in a culture which relies heavily on motor vehicles for personal and commercial transportation, we know that much can be done to improve community livability while increasing multimodal access. By balancing historic, scenic, cultural and transportation interests, a high degree of livability can be realized. Each section of this chapter deals with a different approach to addressing livability concerns, including Environmental Capacity, Traffic Calming, Mobility, Roadway Design Standards, Access and Connectivity, Pedestrian and Bicycle Access, Transit Access, Land Use Planning, and Retrofitting Existing Sprawl.


A. Environmental Capacity

Many residential neighborhoods in the NESTS study area are stressed with large amounts of traffic, traffic that strongly harms the livability of these areas. Environmental capacity addresses the impact of traffic on the livability of the built environment in the same manner that carrying capacity (including level of service) addresses the impacts of the roadway environment on the flow of traffic. First formalized by Colin Buchanan in 1963, the concept of environmental capacity has been tested, refined, and successfully implemented for over 35 years. Originating in England, it then spread to Europe, and finally to the United States, where it has now gained growing acceptance by transportation planners and engineers, augmenting and replacing the traditional engineering approach to roadway capacity analysis.

The environmental capacity of a road is reached when any one of several key factors reaches an unacceptable level, indicating that the road and its traffic have begun to significantly degrade the livability of the land-use through which it passes. These key factors include: pedestrian safety, noise, general inconvenience and annoyance, odors and air pollution, vibration, visual intrusion, danger to pets, loss of privacy, and a diminished sense of community.

Traffic impacts depend upon the characteristics of the traffic stream, the roadway design, and the adjoining land use. Important characteristics of the traffic stream include the number and speed of vehicles, the amount of truck traffic, and the resultant noise, vibration, air pollution, etc. Relevant characteristics of the roadway itself include width and number of lanes, pedestrian facilities, number and type of intersections, whether on-street parking is allowed, the travel speed for which the road was designed, etc. Pertinent characteristics of the land use include the age of residents, the amount of pedestrian activity, whether it is a residential, commercial, or industrial setting, density of development, how close buildings are located to the road, the presence of shrubs and trees to screen the road, etc.

Residential areas generally have the lowest tolerance for traffic, and are the focus of livability concerns for the NEST study. Parks are another land use negatively impacted by too much traffic. Commercial areas actually desire drive-by traffic, and tend to have higher environmental capacities than residential areas. Heavy industrial and undeveloped areas with no homes or pedestrians tend to have a very high environmental capacity.

The upper limit for acceptable traffic volumes in a typical residential area is in the range of 800 - 1200 vehicles per day (Spirn, p. 68; Spitz, pp. 44-45). However, in some sensitive areas, this key limit can be much lower. For example, a neighborhood with a high percentage of children or elderly residents living close to a wide street with fast moving traffic and no pedestrian facilities would experience much higher impacts for a given amount of traffic, and would therefore have a much lower acceptable traffic volume than is typical for a residential area. Note that many neighborhood streets within the NESTS study area are currently experiencing traffic levels significantly higher than their environmental capacities allow.

Many methods can be used to either increase a particular road’s environmental capacity, or to keep that road operating within its environmental capacity. The following modifications should be used to make roads and their vehicles less of an intrusion on the land uses through which they pass:

  • Reduce the speed of traffic coming through the area. There are many means of doing so, including designing the road for slower speeds (narrow, winding, and with more physical and visual cues to provide a greater sense of speed), lower posted speed limits, and better enforcement.
  • Reduce the amount of traffic. This can be accomplished by reducing the need for travel, by encouraging the use of alternative modes (transit, bicycle, pedestrian), by restricting or closing roads, and/or by providing an alternate route for through traffic. Care must be exercised in determining such an alternate route, however, so that the problem is not simply transferred from one residential area to another.
  • Prohibit through-trucks from using certain streets in sensitive residential areas. As above, alternate routes may need to be specified, and it is important to not simply move the problem from one sensitive street to another.
  • Reduce pavement width and improve lane definition. Narrowing the pavement tends to slow cars down, to increase driver attentiveness, to reduce the dominance of the roadway on the land use, and to reduce the amount of time required for pedestrians to cross the street.
  • Reduce noise, odors and air pollution. This can be accomplished by decreasing the amount of traffic, by decreasing the speed and number of trucks, or by promoting the use of quieter, cleaner-running vehicles (for example, electric buses). Although "easing the flow of traffic" by reducing starts and stops may help, this may also create other problems (more traffic, higher speeds, fewer pedestrian crossing opportunities, etc). When easing the flow and traffic calming measures conflict, preference should generally be given to traffic calming.
  • Shield the land-use focal point (e.g. building, playground, etc) from the road. This can be accomplished by planting trees, erecting fences or other barriers, or, where appropriate, by increasing the distance between the road and the land use by moving one or the other.
  • Plant street-side trees, shrubs and other vegetation. This helps to slow traffic, filter pollution, break up or muffle traffic noises, beautify the streetscape, shield the view of the pavement, create a safety buffer, and provide shade on hot summer days.
  • Create attractive off-street public spaces. Such amenities provide residents (especially children) a place to safely meet, congregate, and play other than in the streets.
  • Provide facilities for pedestrians. These include sidewalks, crosswalks and other pedestrian amenities which facilitate neighborly interactions. On-street parking can also provide some protection for pedestrians from the traffic stream. Note that separate pedestrian facilities may not always be necessary or desirable. On low-speed, low-traffic streets, pedestrians and bicyclists can safely share the pavement with automobiles on a more-or-less equal basis. In some cases, it may even be desirable to give pedestrians and bicyclists the right of way over automobiles.

Traditional roadway designs tend to be effective in moving vehicles, but they are typically not efficient, having a poor mobility-to-impact ratio. By employing the methods outlined above, a road can be made more efficient, having less impact for a given amount of traffic, or carrying more traffic for a given amount of impact. This is beneficial when attempting to maximize both livability and mobility, rather than either to the exclusion of the other. Note that the methods commonly used for increasing a road’s carrying capacity (widening, straightening and raising the speed limit) will increase traffic impacts. Therefore, a roadway should not be rebuilt to increase its carrying capacity if its environmental capacity has already been reached or exceeded.

Examples of local measures which have been taken to avoid undesirable traffic impacts include: prohibiting through-trucks from some residential areas, reducing speed limits near schools, eliminating all vehicular traffic from the Ithaca Commons, and providing a traffic-free shopping environment within Pyramid Mall. Unfortunately, this type of piecemeal approach to addressing environmental capacity concerns in specific areas can sometimes create new problems in adjacent areas. What is needed is an integrated approach to resolving traffic impacts throughout the NESTS study area.

B. Traffic Calming

The purpose of traffic calming is to reduce vehicle speeds in a given area. This is achieved by changing roadway design to incorporate specific features which will make drivers want to drive more slowly and carefully. Even though a roadway may be safe to drive at 25 or 30 mph, careful design can encourage drivers to travel slower than the posted limit. The optimum speed for each residential area will depend on many factors, but in some areas, it has been found that speeds of 15 to 25 mph (25 - 40 kph) are best (CART, p. 18). This should result in fewer and less severe accidents, less noise, and less pollution, while still maintaining a high level of mobility.

Drivers may or may not care about observing speed limit signs, but they are always concerned with their own safety. For example, drivers are not likely to slow down to observe a 25 mph speed limit through a neighborhood if the street is wide enough for four cars. They will slow down, however, if they enter a narrow street, approach a bump in the road, or encounter a different road surface. "Traffic calming" devices such as skinny streets, reduced sight lines, traffic circles, diverters, and textured crosswalks create streets that drivers must use carefully, for their own safety.

As a result, traffic calmed streets are safer for all users. Because automobile traffic moves slower, there are fewer accidents--and the accidents that do occur are less severe than those that happen at higher speeds. In addition, traffic calmed streets are quieter and usually enjoy less traffic, making them safer and more pleasant for pedestrians, bicyclists and residents (Blizzard, p. 14).

Traffic calming measures should be implemented on a case-by-case basis adapted to specific local needs, striving for the best results with the least inconvenience for through traffic. In order to be successful, these changes must also be done with overwhelming support of the residents. Thus, local governments need to have a process in place for the implementation of traffic calming measures which includes opportunities for public participation as well as for technical analysis. Features may be placed in temporary fashion to test for effectiveness, and every implementation should add to the beauty of the road.

The effect of traffic calming is to create safer, more livable communities while allowing mobility and accessibility. This is accomplished through reducing the negative side effects of that mobility (environmentally compatible accessibility management). The underlying principles of traffic calming include:

  • Roads are not just for cars. They should be multimodal in varying proportions, but never to the exclusion of other modes. Over-emphasis on the automobile as a mode of transportation (at the expense of other modes) discriminates against a large section of society (including those who are too young to drive).
  • Residents have rights. Residents have a right to the best quality of life their government can provide. This includes the least noise and pollution possible, as well as a safe environment with a rich community life.
  • Maximize accessibility while minimizing the costs. Maximize the efficiency of the existing roads and transit. Traffic calming can be a cost-effective means of reducing impacts while maintaining mobility.

Other measures which can complement traffic calming efforts include:

  • Increase travel choices. This can be done by improving transit and increasing the attractiveness and safety of bicycle and pedestrian environments. In addition, improvements can be made to intermodal linkages, such as bike/transit, pedestrian/transit, and bike/pedestrian.
  • Increase incentives to use public transit. Positive measures include: increasing convenience of transit, having safe and attractive transit facilities, providing for park-and-ride facilities, having attractive fares, providing for transit advantages (e.g. dedicated bus lanes), etc.
  • Discourage use of private automobiles (in tandem with improved transit). This can be accomplished through increasing parking fees, implementing parking restrictions, decreasing vehicle speeds, increasing fuel prices, implementing a commuter fee or road usage tax, charging tolls on certain roads, and banning cars from certain areas (e.g. pedestrian malls, Ithaca Commons).
  • Optimize vehicle occupancy. Implement various Traffic Demand Management measures, such as car and van pools, etc.
  • Implement land use controls to reduce the need for transportation. Aim to reduce the number of trips concurrent with a reduction in length of trips. (See Land Use Planning.)

Examples of traffic calming measures include: speed tables, raised crosswalks, intersection bulbs, chicanes, diverters, diagonal cutoffs, chokers, urban width restrictors, gateways, playstreets, woonerven (pedestrian-priority streets), etc. Figure 3.1 (source: Florida Pedestrian Planning and Design Handbook) compares the advantages and disadvantages of several typical traffic calming measures. More information is available through the references listed at the end of this chapter.

C. Mobility

Efforts to improve a given area’s environmental capacity can have varying effects on the free flow of traffic through that area. Some measures which improve neighborhood livability have no effect on the flow of traffic (planting street-side trees and shrubs, providing pedestrian facilities, creating attractive off-street public spaces). Other measures improve livability specifically by affecting the flow of traffic (reducing traffic speed, reducing traffic volume, prohibiting through trucks). Traffic calming measures tend to fall toward the restrictive end of this range.

Contrary to popular belief, smaller roads aren’t necessarily worse for mobility. Wide roads encourage high vehicle speeds, and many drivers find it difficult to stay within the

Figure 3.1 – page 1

Figure 3.1 – page 2

Figure 3.1 – page 3

Figure 3.1 – page 4

speed limit on wide residential streets. Narrowing the pavement can help in this regard. In fact, streets can be narrowed (and curved and contoured and tree-lined) up to the point where drivers just begin to drive below the speed limit, and there will still be no reduction in mobility. Travel time would not increase (for law-abiding drivers), the trip would now be more scenic, and there would be less need for speed enforcement. Narrowing and beautifying roads to this extent therefore benefits residents, without inconveniencing drivers. Such measures can thus be implemented in residential neighborhoods throughout the NESTS study area. In fact, since they do not reduce mobility, these measures would be appropriate for all roads within the study area.

Implementing traffic calming measures on residential streets can bring vehicle speeds down to 15 to 25 mph, which benefits neighborhood safety and livability, but increases travel times for through traffic. However, even with lower speeds and longer travel times, the roads would still be able to handle all of the traffic. This is because the limiting factor is almost always the intersections, not the roads themselves. (Take, for example, a road which terminates in a traffic signal. The carrying capacity at the intersection is half that of the road, simply because the light will be red half of the time, preventing the flow of traffic. The same is true for stop and yield signs; a queue forms if traffic flows up to the intersection at a greater rate than it can flow through it.) Thus, as long as the intersections are the major source of delay, vehicle speeds can be reduced without reducing the carrying capacity of the road network.

Drivers who may feel inconvenienced by reduced travel speeds have several choices. They can keep the same travel route, and simply spend an extra minute or two driving. (It takes one additional minute to drive one mile at 20 mph instead of at 30 mph.) They may take alternate routes, preferentially selecting non-residential roads where the speed limits are still relatively high. Other drivers may choose to ride bicycles instead, since bicycling on traffic-calmed streets can be just as fast as driving. Or, they may choose to live closer-in, thus reducing sprawl. Since reduced travel speeds do not reduce carrying capacity and result in only a minor increase in travel time, speeds of 15 to 25 mph on residential streets do not pose a major hardship for motorists. Traffic calming measures can thus be implemented in all residential neighborhoods.

Beautifying streetscapes, narrowing pavement widths and reducing traffic speed would be welcomed in all residential neighborhoods. However, in some areas, these measures would not be enough; traffic restrictions or even road closings may be necessary to bring traffic volumes down to acceptable, livable levels. This would reduce the carrying capacity of the road network and divert traffic to alternate routes. If no suitable alternate routes are available, then automotive mobility would become severely restricted. If desired, some of this lost mobility could be restored by building one or more new roads to handle the diverted traffic. In this manner, even the most overburdened residential streets could be made quite livable without undue mobility consequences. Needless to say, any new roads should avoid residential areas, and these roads should have no curb cuts (no private right of frontage access) so that traffic flow would not be disrupted by future development, and vice-versa. Due to the difficulty of finding appropriate routes, and the costs and impacts associated with building them, this approach is probably not feasible for most residential areas, but should be pursued where warranted.


D. Roadway Design Standards

Roadway design standards should reflect the character of the adjoining land uses, which the road serves, rather than be determined by roadway ownership (i.e. whether it is a village, town, county or state road). These design standards should change where appropriate (e.g. where the land use changes), instead of at some (arbitrary) municipal boundary. Roads within residential neighborhoods should be narrow, calm, safe and attractive (and should have the look and feel of being residential). Pavement width should be kept to a minimum (perhaps 18 feet, certainly no wider than now), and a speed limit of 25 mph is often appropriate. In non-residential areas, the road can be wider if the desired vehicle speed is higher and the traffic is heavier. Many roads within the NESTS study area have some residential sections (which should be treated as such) and some non-residential sections (which may be treated differently). For example, Warren Road has several alternating residential and non-residential sections, but only the residential sections need to be narrow and low-speed. Note that design standard categories reflect the land use through which the road passes, not the functional classification labels used by AASHTO and NYSDOT. Also, uniformity in design standards is intended as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. Local variations in design standard are acceptable, and in some cases may even be necessary, in order to achieve the desired results at each specific location (see Traffic Calming). The Environmental Capacity and Mobility sections provide more detailed recommendations on how to modify roads in developed areas so that they can meet their performance criteria.

 

E. Access and Connectivity

To a large extent, neighborhood livability is determined by the connectivity within the neighborhood. It should be possible to visit with neighbors and to walk or bike around the neighborhood without undue interference from an inhospitable streetscape or heavy traffic. Good transportation planning allows for access to residential neighborhoods while supporting connectivity within neighborhoods.

Although for most people the automobile has become the major means of access to and from their neighborhoods, the NEST study advocates a multimodal approach, stressing the importance of transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Perhaps the greatest improvement in access and connectivity can be accomplished by reducing the need for travel. Mixed-use zoning and home-based occupations allow people’s origins and destinations to be located within the same general (or even immediate) area. While the automobile will undoubtedly continue to be a major means of access in the foreseeable future, it is important to put the traditional traffic engineering approach into perspective. Transportation plans should not increase travel speeds in an attempt to reduce travel time, if this comes at the expense of neighborhood livability.

Many residents may appreciate municipal efforts to decrease their commute times. However, such efforts should be undertaken with caution, especially if doing so could degrade the livability and quality of life in that or another residential area. When people look for a neighborhood in which to settle, finding a comfortable, affordable, low-traffic, livable community tends to be far more important than commuting time. People’s search for the right neighborhood may even take them as far away as the next county, in spite of the fact that their daily commute will be a little longer.

Although transportation engineers rarely recognize their contributing role, the attempt to decrease commuting time at the expense of neighborhood livability seems to be one of the major driving forces behind continuing suburban sprawl (and subsequent increased travel time). This is a national phenomenon, one which has left many major U.S. cities with increasingly disjointed, far-flung suburban development while abandoned urban centers decay and die. This trend is one which is also evident locally. Quiet residential cul-de-sacs in Lansing continue to attract people, even though this development is taking place further and further from Tompkins County’s major employment and commercial centers. Unfortunately, access to these new developments tends to be through older, established residential areas. As traffic counts rise, municipalities have rebuilt the older residential streets so that they can accommodate the increased amount of traffic. When this is done, it compromises the livability of the older neighborhoods and leaves a degraded central community which residents now flee in order to live in the newer, further out, and not-yet-degraded residential developments. Rather than allowing this pattern to continue, it is critical that the livability of all residential areas be maintained and enhanced, even if this means that commuting time for some of the further out suburban developments may be a few minutes longer. Residents in these outer suburban areas should find it reassuring to know that their neighborhoods will not, in turn, be degraded by future development.

 

F. Pedestrian and Bicycle Access

For many people, safe facilities for walking and bicycling are among the criteria that define a livable community. Planning that includes provisions for these modes of transportation is especially helpful because more walking and biking leads to less motorized traffic, thus enhancing the environment for walking and cycling. Building continuous and safe access for pedestrians and cyclists provides communities with the means to remediate the negative effects of automobiles and, at the same time, it provides those communities with the fruit of that remediation: safer communities for walking and cycling.

Provision for expanded accessibility requires a comprehensive process, where pedestrian and bicycle traffic is regarded as a significant and meaningful component of municipal transportation, alongside planning for automobiles and public transit, and is explicitly written into both general transportation plans and specific construction projects. To this end, municipalities must have staff committed to bicycle and pedestrian planning and promotion. An integrated approach in providing the choices of walking or bicycling will allow our communities to grow toward the image we hold of them as livable places.

Although bicyclists and pedestrians share many similarities, it is important to keep in mind that these are, in fact two separate travel modes. While cyclists and pedestrians may share the same problem (e.g. traffic along a highway), their solutions may not be the same. Similarly, it is important to bear in mind that there are two different kinds of bicyclists. One group consists of cyclists, adults as well as children, who restrict their travel (or have their travel restricted) to designated bicycle facilities and low-traffic, low-speed neighborhood streets. The other group is composed of advanced cyclists who are capable of operating a bicycle under most traffic conditions, even at relatively high speeds. The individual needs of both types of bicyclist, as well as those of pedestrians, can and should be addressed with a targeted approach suitable to each of these three user groups.

Specific measures to improve pedestrian and bicycle access include:


Continuous network of uninterrupted facilities. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities should not contain significant gaps or simply end without warning, and should continue uninterrupted across municipal boundaries. The design and configuration of these facilities can and should change according to adjoining land use, as long as the transitions are smooth and clearly evident.

Appropriate types of pedestrian and bicycle facilities. On low-traffic low-speed streets, such as should occur in residential areas, no dedicated facilities may be needed, since pedestrians and bicyclists can safely share the driving lanes with motor vehicles. Roads with more vehicles travelling at higher speeds generally require facilities, such as shoulders and crosswalks, to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian activity. Although more expensive to construct and maintain, completely separate parallel facilities, such as sidewalks, bikeways and multi-use trails, are sometimes desirable along high-traffic high-speed roads.

Coordinated municipal maintenance of pedestrian and bicycle facilities. It is important that there be a coordinated system of municipal maintenance of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including road shoulders, sidewalks and multi-use trails. Under the current system, some facilities within the NESTS study area are maintained by Cornell University, some by Town or Village crews, some by adjoining homeowners, and some not at all. The problem of lack of continuous maintenance is especially evident in the winter, when snow and ice removal become a major issue, but this is truly a year-round concern.

Bicycle parking facilities. Efforts should be made to ensure that adequate bicycle parking facilities exist for employee, customer and visitor usage at businesses, libraries, schools, transit stops and other public destinations. Changes in zoning may be necessary to require new development to provide sufficient parking provisions.

Innovative pedestrian and bicycle facilities. These could include physical measures such as differentiated shoulders, which would provide motorists with visual, audible and tactile cues that they had strayed out of the driving lane and onto the shoulder, but would still allow bicycles unrestricted use of both the shoulder and driving lane. This should provide the safety of a separate bike path, but with the continuous access and easy winter maintenance of a paved shoulder. (An example of an innovative measure already in place in the greater Ithaca area is the TCAT bobCat program, which provides for bike racks on municipal buses.)

Efficient use of facilities. If mixed-use (bicycle and pedestrian) facilities prove successful, then selected single-use (bicycle or pedestrian) facilities could be opened to both of these modes, reducing the need for parallel, redundant facilities. In some circumstances, a single bike-hike trail would serve both pedestrians and bicyclists quite well, instead of requiring both sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Many experienced cyclists would choose to continue to exercise their right to ride in the road, even if a parallel facility were provided, while casual bicyclists might welcome the slower and more relaxed pace of a facility shared with pedestrians rather than with cars.

Education, enforcement and encouragement. Effectiveness of new and existing pedestrian and bicycle facilities can be augmented through various means, including: maps and signage, public awareness of the rights and responsibilities of all road users (motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians), adult and child bicyclist education and safety training programs, adequate enforcement of bicycle safety laws (perhaps through use of bicycle-mounted police), etc.


G. Transit Access

Livable communities include public transit as a real travel option. Since conventional suburban development has been based on the assumption that nearly all trips will be made by automobiles, provisions for other alternatives (walking, bicycling and public transit) have been generally omitted from most private and public development projects. Having realistic choices for transportation requires a new look at public and private decisions that shape facilities, street networks, and patterns of development. A community goal to have a superior, convenient and efficient public transit system needs to be supported by the day-to-day public and private decisions which determine whether places will be accessible to public transit. Transit access issues include site design and layout, provision of pedestrian facilities, provision of passenger facilities, and community planning that results in efficient transit services.

The public transit option includes large, medium and small buses providing three different basic types of service. The conventional system involves large buses following fixed routes and schedules, and serves the largest number of people. Community transit service uses smaller buses, and provides flexible service for fewer riders but to a much more extensive network of neighborhood bus stops. Finally, there are small-scale, truly demand-responsive services, such as those provided by taxicabs and agencies such as GADABOUT.

Fixed-route public transit works best when passengers can easily walk to and from bus stops, and when bus routes are simple and direct, uncluttered by many minor loops off of the main route. Unfortunately, the typical suburban development pattern sets commercial buildings far back from the main street, with a front parking lot as a buffer. This site design is convenient only for automobiles. Public transit which serves streets with the "big parking lot in front" development pattern faces a real dilemma. The bus either stays on the main street, picking up or dropping off people at the edge of a parking lot "no-man’s land," or it sacrifices efficient travel time by going in and out of every congested parking lot.

Many measures can be taken in order to improve the transit system. These include:

  • Residential neighborhood stops. The goal is to have a neighborhood bus stop within a 5-minute walk of all residences. A stop may be a sign, passenger shelter or, ideally, some place (e.g. store) that is open much of the time. Bus shelters should be provided at all locations where more than 20 people board the bus per day.
  • Pedestrian facilities. People using the bus are pedestrians at the beginning and ends of their trips. In order to be viable, public transit needs to be completely integrated into the pedestrian network.
  • Bicycle facilities. In order to improve multi-modal integration options for bicyclists, secure bicycle racks should be provided at bus shelters. Use of bicycle racks on buses should be continued and expanded as bus service continues to grow.
  • Park-and-Ride facilities. Park-and-Ride lots should be established at several locations within the NESTS area. Such lots should be equipped with safe parking facilities for bicycles as well as for automobiles.
  • Frequent bus service. In order to attract more ridership, each fixed route should have several buses operating during peak hours of usage, resulting in frequent bus service and short waits for passengers at bus stops.
  • Reliable schedules. Passengers must be assured that time schedules will be reliably followed.
  • Real-time information. Modern technology now makes it possible to provide bus shelters with real-time information concerning bus location and direction.
  • Maximize attractiveness. Provide clean, quiet, comfortable, safe, convenient, frequent and reliable service in order to attract and retain users. Strive to make routes and fare system easy to understand and use, especially for first-time riders.
  • Minimize negative impacts. As the number and frequency of buses increases, care must be taken to ensure that they do not disrupt the livability of the residential neighborhoods through which they pass. Sensitive selection of routes and use of buses that are clean, quiet and relatively small can do much to lessen the negative impacts on the community.
  • Education and marketing. Promote the transit system through extensive and intensive education and marketing campaigns.
  • The right choice. Strive to make riding the bus more convenient than driving. Continually make riders feel that they made the right choice in utilizing their transit option.
  • Explore other options. In addition to buses, explore other options, including ride-sharing, car and van pools, fixed-route light-rail transit, etc.


H. Land Use Planning

Where we find well-organized patterns of land use, we expect to find livable neighborhoods. But, behind this simple truth, there is great complexity. In quite direct ways, land use planning helps determine the character of neighborhoods, and thus their livability. Land use planning involves zoning, the regulation of new developments, the specification of lot sizes, building types and building sizes, and restrictions on permissible activities: housing but not industry here, and schools but not pig farming there. People prefer to keep noxious land uses at a distance, to order their living spaces, to spread things out a little. Perhaps such order is good. But there may be good results from disorder.

Unfortunately, during the last half century, Americans have adopted land use regulations that emphasize sameness and large lots, require ample space for parking of cars, and isolate different kinds of activity. But monotonous sameness, provisions for cars, and separation of activities promote auto traffic, and auto traffic can make neighborhoods unlivable.

To resolve this troublesome dilemma, whereby land use planning has promoted increased auto traffic, and thus destroyed the very neighborhoods it was intended to protect, new sorts of land use planning come into play. To allow higher accessibility without excessive auto traffic, good plans specify higher residential densities, more mixing of next-door activities, and design details that promote individuality and privacy, without excessive use of space. High-traffic roads represent a noxious land use which also needs to be controlled. Limits on traffic need to be matched with zoning and transportation maps in order to keep major traffic-carrying roads from degrading residential areas.

Many actions can be taken to control suburban sprawl and to ensure that close-in neighborhoods are just as livable as those farther out. Specifically, action can be taken to alter the location and form of development:

  • Focus development into nodes or centers. Concentrate development into areas where adequate public infrastructure and facilities exist or can reasonably be provided without harming significant natural, scenic, agricultural or other open space resources, and while preserving existing neighborhoods.
  • Enhance nodes/centers. Where development can be concentrated into nodes or centers, enhance those areas with pedestrian, bicycle, and streetscape improvements. Provide performance guidelines/design standards for sidewalks, bikeways, lighting, parking and landscaping, aimed at making these areas more pedestrian-friendly and at a human scale.
  • Reduce need for automobiles. Promote development patterns which reduce the need for and use of automobiles, but instead encourage the use of alternate modes of transportation through pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly layout and design. Restrict large, single-use developments which would create unacceptable traffic volumes in sensitive areas.
  • Allow mixed uses. Encourage mixed uses in higher density residential and business zones. Such uses must first be determined by the municipality to be compatible and supportive of one another. Allow "living over the store" in business zones. Allow small-scale neighborhood shopping uses adjacent to residential areas. Allow for a wide range of low-impacting home occupations in recognition of the growing trend toward working at home. Locate stores, offices, residences, schools, and recreation areas within walking distance of each other in compact neighborhoods, with pedestrian-oriented streets. Apply flexible design standards to help ensure compatibility of building form and siting at a human scale.
  • Preserve open space. Significant natural, agricultural, and other open space areas should be preserved, especially outside of development nodes/centers. This can be accomplished through such means as very low density zoning, purchase of development rights (PDR) or transfer of development rights (TDR) programs, and by encouraging or mandating cluster subdivisions in certain situations.
  • Ensure that zoning does not preclude opportunities for affordable housing. Affordable housing located near the urbanized center of Tompkins County reduces travel/commuting time, helps to reduce use of automobiles, etc. Allow accessory apartments with appropriate restrictions in single-family zones.
  • Provide for innovative/creative housing and neighborhood concepts. This can be accomplished through "planned development zones," co-housing (e.g. EcoVillage), elder cottages, shared housing for the elderly, etc.
  • Parks and public space. Ensure the provision of adequate and accessible park and public open space areas in conjunction with new development. This should be guided through the preparation and adoption of a comprehensive park and open space plan. Municipalities can require the setting aside of adequate park and recreation areas through the subdivision and site plan approval process in conjunction with proposed residential development.

Other land use planning measures can be taken to deal with regulating access, circulation and parking. These include:

  • Do not mandate inordinate amounts of off-street parking. Set parking requirements at the minimum necessary to ensure adequate, safe off-street parking. Allow and encourage shared parking where adjoining uses operate at different peak hours.
  • Limit the number of access drives and curb cuts on streets intended to carry through traffic. Where appropriate, also consider the possibility of eliminating frontage access altogether.
  • Update subdivision and site plan approval requirements. Provide for bus stops, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, lighting, landscaping, etc. Provide for future connections to other subdivisions and to nodes/centers of development. Discourage dead end cul-de-sacs in new development (unless there is a demonstrated purpose), instead striving for a flow-through network of low-speed, low-volume neighborhood streets.

Finally, there are land use planning measures which can be taken to enhance intermunicipal cooperation and planning coordination, including:

  • Update municipal comprehensive plans. Address and incorporate, where appropriate, the above suggested guidelines. Long-range plans should target those areas which are appropriate for concentrating future development versus areas which warrant long-term preservation. Such projections should be done through consultation with adjacent municipalities (and Cornell University) to ensure the coordination of planning for future land use patterns and transportation systems on an area-wide basis. Planning assistance is available through the Tompkins County Planning Department and the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council.

 

I. Retrofitting Existing Sprawl

When dealing with livability issues, it is generally easier to prevent problems than it is to correct them later. Thus the emphasis on future land use planning. However, some measures can be taken to address livability concerns which arise in existing, poorly planned residential areas. These include planning and zoning principles and techniques which can help to address or alleviate problems associated with existing suburban sprawl, such as:

  • Reduce impact of existing traffic on residential neighborhoods. Implement environmental capacity principles and traffic-calming techniques outlined above to reduce impacts of traffic.
  • Reduce volume of traffic in existing residential neighborhoods. Encourage use of alternate transportation modes, consider new roadway links which increase connectivity and decrease concentrations of traffic in sensitive residential areas, consider restricting or closing some roadway connections, provide alternate routes for traffic, etc.
  • Ensure continued mobility. Where appropriate, provide pedestrian/bicycle connections as well as new roadway links between residential areas and employment and commercial zones.
  • Restore neighborhood character. Rebuild residential roads to beautify streetscapes, restore roadways to a human scale and improve the character and livability of the neighborhoods through which they pass, thereby strengthening the sense of community.

 

J. References

  • Blizzard, Meeky. Creating Better Communities: The LUTRAQ Principles: Land Use, Transportation, and Air Quality. Sensible Transportation Options for People (STOP); Tigard, OR. 1996. [Available at the ITCTC Office]
  • Buchanan, Colin, et. al. Traffic In Towns: A Study of the Long Term Problems of Traffic In Urban Areas. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London. 1963.
  • CART (Citizens Advocating Responsible Transportation). Traffic Calming: The Solution to Urban Traffic and a New Vision for Neighborhood Livability. Ashgrove, Australia. 1989. Reprinted by Sensible Transportation Options for People (STOP); Tigard, OR. 1993. [Available at the ITCTC Office]
  • Clarke, Andrew and Michael Dornfield. National Bicycling and Walking Study: Traffic Calming, Auto-Restricted Zones and Other Traffic Management Techniques –Their Effects on Bicycling and Pedestrians (Case Study No.19). US Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; Washington, DC. 1994. [Available at the ITCTC Office]
  • Dutchess Land Conservancy. Design Guide for Rural Roads. Millbrook, NY. 1998.
  • Ewing, Reid, Charles Kooshian, and Mark White. "Traffic Calming State-of-the-Art" (Draft). For the Institute of Transportation Engineers. In Traffic Calming Seminar. Institute of Transportation Engineers. 1998. [Available at the ITCTC Office]
  • Hass-Klau, Carmen, Inge Nold, Geert Bocker, and Graham Crampton. Civilised Streets: A Guide to Traffic Calming. Environmental and Transport Planning; Brighton, England. 1992. [Available at the ITCTC Office]
  • Savage, Joseph, David MacDonald, and John Ewell. A Guidebook for Residential Traffic Management, Final Report. Washington State Department of Transportation; Olympia, WA. 1994. [Available at the ITCTC Office]
  • Spirn, A.W. The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design. Basic Books; New York. 1984.
  • Spitz, Salem. "How much is too much (traffic)." ITE Journal, May, 1982, 44-45.
  • University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Florida Pedestrian Planning and Design Handbook. Florida Department of Transportation. 1997. [Available at the ITCTC Office]

 

CHAPTER IV:  EXISTING TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS


This chapter summarizes the existing conditions of the transportation network within the Northeast Study Area, presenting existing data collection and analysis, as well as quantitative measures of the transportation issues identified during the public meetings and by the Working Group. These issues include impact of traffic on neighborhood livability, bike/pedestrian/vehicle conflicts, pedestrian/bike safety, traffic congestion and transit service needs. This information served as the basis for forecasting, analysis, and development of recommendations to address the long-term needs in the NESTS study area.

A. Neighborhood Conditions

Many residential neighborhoods in the NESTS study area are heavily impacted by the existing transportation network. High traffic volumes and high vehicle speeds significantly degrade the quality of life and livability of these areas. In addition, the roads themselves can disrupt the sense of community. Pedestrians and bicyclists feel vulnerable walking along or crossing wide, inhospitable streetscapes, which greatly reduces neighborly interactions.

High traffic volumes and speeds are incompatible with neighborhood activities. Speeds in excess of 45 mph have been measured in some residential areas, and volumes of over 5000 vehicles per day are all too common. The impacts of this traffic include vibration, noise and air pollution, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and loss of sense of community. In several areas, these impacts have reached unacceptable levels.

Within the NESTS area, there are many examples of pleasant, human-scale residential street designs: tree-lined roads of modest width which follow the natural ground contours and serve to knit a neighborhood together. Some of these can be found in Forest Home and in Cayuga Heights. Unfortunately, the area also has many examples of inappropriate residential street designs, where a wide expanse of blacktop dominates the neighborhood, and serves as a barrier, dividing or segmenting the community. An example of this would be Route 366 through Varna. Sadly, even some of the newer, low-traffic cul-de-sacs have been designed to be unnecessarily wide, straight and intrusive, with pavement widths as wide as four or five cars.

B. Pedestrians and Cyclists

Despite the hilly terrain, severe winters, and lack of adequate infrastructure, bicycling and walking are a popular means of transportation in the greater Ithaca area. According to the 1995 National Personal Transportation Survey, walking and bicycling percentages for Tompkins County are approximately five times higher than the national average. It must be noted that these numbers understate the use of these modes – students, who represent a significant portion of the community and are predisposed to walking and bicycling, are not included.

The popularity of these modes is demonstrated to an even greater extent in the City of Ithaca where there is a higher density population, a greater mix of land uses providing multiple destinations, and an extensive network of sidewalks. Good connections between walking, bicycling and transit are other positive factors that make a community more bicycling- and walking-friendly. TCAT was among the first in the Northeastern U.S. to install bike racks on the front of their fleet of buses, thus providing even more options for people to connect a bicycle trip with transit.

Pedestrians and cyclists have been vocal about the fact that roadways, sidewalks, and separate multi-use pathways are inadequate in the NESTS area. Pedestrians are frustrated when a sidewalk ends and their only choice is a beaten path along the edge of the road, or nothing at all. Similarly, many roads have inadequate shoulder space or bike lanes to provide a continuous, safe route for cyclists. Families, inline skaters and others are disappointed to find few, segmented multi-use paths in the greater Ithaca area for recreational uses. Poor and inconsistent maintenance of facilities, particularly during the winter, is another problem facing pedestrians and bicyclists.

Although no exact data are available, there are strong indications that even more of Tompkins County’s population would walk and use bicycles if the infrastructure to safely support walking and bicycling were in place.

C. Transit System

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) was authorized by the New York State Legislature and formed by agreement between the City of Ithaca, Cornell University and Tompkins County to operate public transit service in Tompkins County. TCAT operates bus routes directly and under municipal contracts with private operators including Swarthout Coaches, Inc., Tioga Transport, Inc., and GADABOUT Transportation Services, Inc. From 1997 to 1999, TCAT conducted a Service and Fare Consolidation Project to plan new routes, services and fares. Through surveys and public meetings, the NEST study area was identified as a major transit market. TCAT’s fare and service plans will go into effect in June and August 1999, and represent a significant increase in transit service in the study area.

Public transit in the NEST study area is comprised of primarily commuter routes oriented to serve the Cornell University campus with connections to downtown Ithaca. Local routes provide circulation internal to the campus and its immediate environs. Suburban commuter routes serve Northeast Ithaca, the Villages of Lansing and Cayuga Heights, and East Ithaca inside the NEST study area. Rural commuter routes pass through the NEST study area from the Towns of Lansing, Groton, Dryden, Caroline and Danby. Service is also provided to Pyramid Mall. This section focuses on the existing conditions of suburban routes operating in the NEST study area.

  • Suburban Services and Ridership: Presently, five bus routes operate weekdays from 7:00 AM to 1:30 AM, although most routes operating during regular commuter hours. Two bus routes operate on Saturday, and one route runs Sunday night. Three routes operate between the Northeast and Cornell. Two routes connect Eastern Heights, East Hill and Cornell. These routes were developed to meet specific service needs and have irregular bus frequencies ranging from 34 to 72 minutes between buses.

In 1998, the bus service operated 7 buses for 13,622 revenue hours and traveled 149,691 revenue miles. The overall average speed was 11 miles per hours (including stops). In 1998, the five bus routes carried 419,652 passengers, with an overall productivity of 30.1 passengers per revenue hour. Since 1996, ridership has grown 1.3% from 414,199 to 419,652 passenger trips. In 1998, transit in the NEST service area comprised 18% of TCAT’s total ridership and 11% of TCAT’s total revenue miles.

The NEST area is served by TCAT’s ADA paratransit service required by the

American with Disabilities Act. Persons with disabilities who are unable to ride fixed route buses are eligible to be certified for ADA paratransit service. ADA paratransit service provides curb-to-curb service along one and a half mile wide corridors that follow bus routes during the same time the fixed route buses operate. TCAT’s ADA paratransit service is operated by GADABOUT. Further, GADABOUT, Cayuga Taxi, and Airline Limousine Service provide additional demand responsive service in the NEST area.

  • Passenger Stop Amenities: There are 48 designated bus stops in the NEST study area, not including the Cornell University campus, of which only three stops have bus stop signs. During July-August 1999, TCAT is installing bus stop signs and summary bus schedules at all 48 stops. Ten bus stops have shelters.
  • Bus Fleet: The transit bus fleet serving the NEST area consists of seven buses, which range in age from 1981 to 1992. Two of these buses are lift-equipped. Six of the buses are heavy-duty transit buses with a 12-year life cycle, and one bus has a 10-year life cycle. Five of the buses are operating past their design life cycles; however, four of these were recently reconditioned.
  • Service Demands: In October 1997, TCAT conducted surveys of passengers and the public concerning the quality of bus service and demands for more service. Of 475 passengers in the NEST study area, the top five comments were: 1) more frequent buses, 2) earlier and later service, 3) expanded bus service, 4) provide Sunday service, and 5) compliments of drivers. The general public desired more buses on weekdays and weekends, extension of bus routes, and more flexible bus service.
  • Conclusion: The NEST service area is under-served by present levels of public transit. There is a public desire to expand transit routes and services fueled, in part, by the location of medium-density apartments and the relocation of medical and other public service providers to the area. In general, transit has a very low public visibility, given that few of its designated bus stops have signs or shelters. The transit bus fleet consists of used buses, the majority are older than their desired service life cycles.

Since transit service is oriented to the commuter needs of Cornell University, downtown Ithaca, and service to Pyramid Mall, overall ridership is respectable and growing slowly. Transit productivity is high. Overall, the NEST service area demonstrates a high potential as a market to expand transit service, invest in amenities, and renew the bus fleet.


D. Roadway System

The roadway system in the Northeast Study Area (see Figures 4.1 and 4.2) serves through traffic, commuter traffic, and local traffic. It provides access to major retail and commercial areas, and it provides access to neighborhoods and residences. The system is comprised mostly of two-lane local streets with turning lanes at selected locations that often have overlapping and conflicting functions. A description of the primary roadways follows:

  • Route 13: This State Route is the only continuous four-lane roadway in the study area. It is part of the regional highway system that connects Cortland, Ithaca, and Elmira. Within the study area, it begins as a two-lane roadway in the east. Access is partially controlled with at-grade intersections at Warren Road, Brown Road, Hanshaw Road, Lower Creek Road, Dryden Road (Route 366), and Pinkney Road. Grade separations exist at Triphammer Road and at Cayuga Heights Road. Within the study area, Route 13 has a 55 mph speed limit and functions exclusively as a traffic-carrying facility.
  • Route 79: This regional State Route provides access to the southeast. It is two lanes wide with shoulders for bicycles. There are a number of small commercial, multi-family, and single family driveways served directly by this roadway. The speed limit ranges from 30 to 45 mph.
  • Route 366: This two-lane facility serves as an important intra-county connector between the Towns of Dryden and Ithaca and the City of Ithaca. It is a primary access

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.2

route to Cornell from Route 13 to the east as well. It travels through the hamlet of Varna, intersecting with a number of local streets and driveways, and then continues west to Ithaca. The speed limit ranges from 30 to 45.

  • Route 34B: This two-lane facility serves as a major east-west connector in the northern part of the study area. It connects with Route 34 in the study area and Route 38 in the Town of Dryden. It is a primary route for truck traffic from the Cargill plant in the Town of Lansing.

These four State highways serve primarily east-west movements. There are no State highways in the NESTS area that serve north-south traffic movements. Routes 34 and 38 are two north-south State routes located just outside the study area, but they do not serve major traffic generators such as Cornell in the NESTS area. North-south traffic currently must use local streets, many of which pass through residential areas and neighborhoods, thus contradicting the Livability principles established by the Working Group. The most heavily loaded north-south streets are the first five listed here:

  • Triphammer Road: North Triphammer Road and Triphammer Road connect Route 34, Route 13 and the Cornell campus. This roadway, along with Warren Road, provides the primary north-south route for travel in the study area. In the vicinity of the major commercial developments in the Village of Lansing, this roadway is four lanes wide with turning lanes. North of these developments, it is a two-lane road with connections to local streets and a number of residential driveways in a semi-rural setting. The Village and Town of Lansing, in cooperation with Tompkins County, are planning a reconstruction of the section north of Route 13. South of the commercial developments, Triphammer Road was recently reconstructed by the Village of Cayuga Heights to include turning lanes at major intersections, new street lighting, and improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians. In this area and south to Cornell University, the adjacent land uses are primarily residential.
  • Warren Road: Although Warren Road does not provide as long a continuous north-south route as Triphammer Road, it is still a vital link serving north-south traffic movements because it connects Cornell, Route 13, and the employment center surrounding the Tompkins County Airport. Between Route 13 and the Cornell campus, Warren Road serves three schools as well as a number of residences, and it separates two golf courses. There is a clear conflict between its uses as a through road and a neighborhood street. Warren Road is two lanes wide with turning lanes at some major intersections, but with limited bike and pedestrian facilities.
  • Pleasant Grove Road: This short section of road (about 1.3 miles long) connects the Community Corners area in the Village of Cayuga Heights with Cornell. It is partially residential, and is the busiest north-south route for traffic between Hanshaw Road and Cornell.
  • Forest Home Drive, Judd Falls Road, and Caldwell Road: These three narrow roads and the two associated one-lane bridges over Fall Creek are the focal point of north-south traffic on Pleasant Grove and Warren Road. At the same time, they function as the local streets for autos, bicycles, pedestrians and joggers in the Forest Home neighborhood and in the Cornell Plantations. These functions are incompatible with the heavy traffic. There is also no dedicated space along these roads for bicycles, and sidewalks are limited to short sections.
  • Pine Tree Road: This local residential street is one of the signed connectors to the Cornell campus from Route 79. It varies in width with intermittent provision for bicycles and pedestrians. There is a short pedestrian path between its intersections with Snyder Hill Road and Ellis Hollow Road.
  • Ellis Hollow Road: This road through a rural residential area carries through traffic, in conflict with its neighborhood character, and it has no provision for bicycles and pedestrians.


E. Traffic Volumes

This section documents the base year traffic conditions, including average daily traffic (ADT), peak design hour volume (DHV), peak hour turning movement volumes, peak hour factors (PHF), and the peak hour volume as a percent of ADT (K factors).

Automatic traffic recorder (ATR) count information was collected for this study and existing counts from other studies were obtained as well to collect two-way traffic volumes for a period of several days on eight roadway segments in the study area. Appendix E contains the complete ATR counts.

Weekday traffic volumes from each of the counts were averaged, giving a two-way average daily traffic volumes for segments of the study area network. The resulting 1995-97 ADT volumes, peak hour, and peak hour volume appear in Table 4.1. The K factors (the percent of ADT during peak hour) were calculated and are summarized in Table 4.1. Figure 4.3 shows estimates of annual ADT for major NESTS roads.

The critical hour for traffic occurs some time between 4:00 and 7:00 PM. Therefore, intersection turning movement traffic counts were conducted or obtained for the PM peak at the 28 critical intersections in the study. Appendix E contains the turning movement counts.

The turning movement counts were compared with the peak hour volumes from the ATR counts as a data quality-control check while balancing turning movement volumes between adjacent intersections. The resulting Existing 1997 Design Hour Intersection Volumes are shown on Figure 4.4. The following conclusions are evident from this information:

  • Traffic volumes are highest during the typical weekday afternoon commuter hour.
  • Depending on the location, the peak hour for the study area generally occurs for a one-hour period between 4:30 and 6:00 PM.
  • K factors ranged from 8 percent to 11 percent, which is typical for this type of area.
  • Route 13 is the most heavily used roadway in the corridor with 2200 vehicles per hour west of Triphammer Road and 2700 vehicles per hour east of Triphammer Road. There is no predominant directional split to this traffic in the afternoon peak hour.
  • The volumes along Triphammer Road vary significantly. Starting to the north of Graham Road, two-way peak hour volumes are 1050, increase to 2250 just north of Route 13, and then they drop to 1600 south of the Route 13 ramps and decrease to 1300 at Community Corners. South of Community Corners, traffic on Triphammer Road drops to 400 in the peak hour.
  • The heavy impact of Cornell commuting traffic volumes on traffic is clear with predominant flows away from the campus on Pleasant Grove Road, Warren Road, Route 366, Judd Falls Road, and Pine Tree Road. On Warren Road, Pine Tree Road and Route 366, about 70 percent of the afternoon peak hour traffic is traveling in the outbound direction. Total peak hour traffic volumes on 3 local streets range from 600 on Pleasant Grove Road and Warren Road to 750 on Pine Tree Road. Route 366 carries the highest volume with 850.

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.4

  • North of Route 13, Warren Road has a peak hour volume of 1350, which includes traffic from the airport and the surrounding employment centers. Further north, traffic drops to 650 with a northbound flow of 75 percent during the afternoon peak hour.
  • In many neighborhoods, off-peak traffic conflicts with livability.

Note: The peak hour volumes discussed above may differ from those shown in Table 4.1 because of the difference in the location of the counts.

Table 4.1 –ADT and Peak Hour Factors

ATR No. Location ADT Peak Hour Time Peak Hour Volume K-Factor
1
Forest Home Drive
4100
5:00-6:00 P.M.
400
10%
2
Warren Road
7000
5:00-6:00 P.M.
730
10%
3
Cayuga Heights Road
1100
5:00-6:00 P.M.
130
12%
4
North Triphammer Road
11400
5:00-6:00 P.M.
1000
9%
5
North Triphammer Road
9300
6:00-7:00 P.M.
900
10%
6
Route 366
10400
4:00-5:00 P.M.
950
9%
7
Route 13
14600
4:00-5:00 P.M.
1200
8%
8
Route 79
5200
4:00-5:00 P.M.
460
9%


F. Intersection Level of Service

Intersections generally control the carrying capacity of a highway system, and they create delay and congestion. Intersection performance is one of a broad range of elements in the overall evaluation of the transportation system. A detailed analysis was completed for each of several critical intersections, including geometric and traffic signal timing data, peak hour traffic counts, and level of service. This information is provided in Appendix F. The critical intersections included are shown in Figure 4.4.

Intersection Level of Service (LOS) and capacity analysis relate traffic volumes to the physical characteristics of an intersection. Appendix F contains detailed descriptions of the various LOS ratings. Generally, a LOS rating of D is considered minimally acceptable. Signalized and unsignalized intersection levels of service were calculated (rather than actually measured), and are shown in Table 4.2 and Figure 4.4. Most of the intersections operate at an acceptable level of service. Conditions at the eight intersections with an unacceptable level of service are discussed below.

  • Route 34/34B: A level of service E was computed for the northbound approach at this intersection. Since there was excess capacity on the other approaches, a re-timing of the signal would result in a level of service C on the northbound approach while maintaining an overall level of service C.
  • Triphammer Road/Graham Road: This intersection is currently controlled by a four-way stop sign, which does not accommodate the traffic volumes at an acceptable level of service. As part of the North Triphammer Road project in the Village of Lansing, a traffic signal is proposed for this location. With a traffic signal in place and turning lanes as proposed, this intersection would operate at a level of service B.
  • Route 13 WB On/Off Ramp & Triphammer Road: The level of service calculation for the westbound right-turn at the ramp at this location indicated a poor level of service. This intersection operates in coordination with the eastbound ramp intersection. Since this right turn can occur simultaneously with the left turn onto the eastbound ramp, an adjustment to the signal timing would be possible and the turn would then operate at level of service C, with an overall level of service B for the intersection.
  • Route 13 EB On/Off Ramp and Triphammer Road: During the afternoon peak hour, there are about 200 vehicles making this left turn. A poor level of service for this movement was computed, based on the existing signal timing. By modifying the signal timing, it would be possible to provide a level of service B at the intersection.
  • Community Corners: This location with three closely-spaced unsignalized intersections, two of which have a poor level of service, has been recognized as a problem for many years. A number of potential solutions have been proposed, but the type of comprehensive engineering evaluation necessary to evaluate them was beyond the scope of this study. It is recommended that installation of a westbound channelized right-turn lane be considered. This would reduce confusion for traffic making the left turn from Triphammer Road to Hanshaw Road. Since that left turn is the largest single movement at the intersection during the peak hour, this change could improve the traffic operation at Community Corners.
  • Hanshaw and Pleasant Grove Roads: The Pleasant Grove approach is controlled by a stop sign and operates at level of service E. A signal could be installed at this location to improve the flow, but it is not recommended because the overall solution to the traffic congestion in Community Corners should address this intersection as well.

Table 4.2:  Level of Service Summary 1997 Existing Conditions

Intersection Movement Control PM Peak Hour
      V/C1 Delay2 (sec.) LOS3
Route 34B & Route 34   Signal 0.67 22.2 C (C)
Triphammer Road & Graham Road*   Unsignalized
Signal
    F (B)
Route13 WB On/Off Ramp & Triphammer Road   Signal     F (B)
Route13 EB On/Off Ramp & Triphammer Road   Signal     F (B)
Hanshaw Road & NorthTriphammer Road Unsignalized  
SB L   -- 46 F
Hanshaw Road & Triphammer Road (south) Unsignalized  
NB L   --   F
  R   --   F
Hanshaw Road & Pleasant Grove Road Unsignalized  
NB L   -- 34.9 E
  R   -- 34.9 E
Route 13 & Warren Road Signal     F (C)
Route 366 & Judd Falls Road Unsignalized  
SB L   -- 22.1 D
  R   -- 22.1 D
Route 366 & Pinetree Road* Unsignalized     F

Note: * = Range limits of the HCM were exceeded  |  1 V/C = Volume/Capacity Ratio  |  2 delay = Average delay per vehicle (calculated)  |  3 (x) = Level of service with installation of a traffic signal or modification of signal timing  |  NB = North bound  |  SB = South bound  |  L = left turn movement  |  R = right turn movement

  • Route 13 and Warren Road: Using the existing signal timings, there was not adequate green time for the southbound movement. Adjusting the signal timings would produce a level of service B for this movement, but it would reduce the levels of service on the east and west approaches.
  • Route 366 at Judd Falls/Pine Tree Road: These offset intersections do not provide an acceptable level of service during the afternoon peak hour. A State project is planned as shown in Figure 4.5 to address this problem.

Community Corners is the only location in the NESTS study area where existing level of service problems are not being addressed by current projects or could not be solved by adjusting signal timings. It must be emphasized, however, that there are other, very serious traffic-related issues which need to be addressed. These issues relate to the Livability Principles, and are discussed in other sections in this Report.

 

G. Speed Study

A travel speed study was conducted on a number of roadways in the study area because excessive vehicle speeds was one of the factors that was identified by the Working Group as decreasing the livability of neighborhoods. Speed measurements were made at the locations shown in Figure 4.6. The results are summarized in Table 4.3, with more detail in Appendix E.

It is clear from the analysis that excessive vehicle speeds are a problem on the more rural sections of roadways, including Ellis Hollow Road, Snyder Hill Road, Warren Road, Turkey Hill Road, Triphammer Road, and Hillcrest Road. Since there are residential driveways coming onto all of these roads and, in many cases, limited or no facilities for bicycles or pedestrians, the conflict between vehicles operating over the speed limit and local neighborhoods is severe. A short-term measure to address this issue is to increase law enforcement. In the longer term, as geometric changes are implemented on these roads, the

Figure 4.5 (Judd Falls Road Project)

Figure 4.6 ( Speed and Delay Results)

Table 4.3 - Summary of Speed Measurement Data

Location Speed Limit % of Traffic Above Speed Limit 85th Percentile Speed
1-5 mph 6-10 mph 10+ mph
1. Ellis Hollow Road 45 40% 13% 2% 49
• Ellis Hollow Road 45 40% 22% 6% 52
• Warren Road 45 3% 3% -- 43
• Warren Road 45 41% 23% 7% 53
• Warren Road 30 40% 11% 1% 35
• Hanshaw Road 40 17% 5% -- 43
• Hillcrest Road 45 23% 23% 27% 56
• Turkey Hill Road 40 45% 13% 2% 45
• North Triphammer Road 30 -- 44% 16% 41
• Snyder Hill Road 40 18% 26% 51% 57

design principles recommended in the Livability recommendations should be followed. These include reducing lane widths for vehicles and providing clearly marked and separated shoulders for bicycles and many traffic-calming measures.

 

H. Public Identification of Transportation Problems and Issues

As described in Chapter II, there was an extensive public participation process conducted as part of NESTS. The public was offered the opportunity to list its concerns related to the transportation problems in the area and the Working Group added its own. Large-scale maps were provided along with the form shown in Figure 4.7. This process resulted in over 150 problems and issues identified from the forms or meeting input. The original forms completed by the public are available in the ITCTC offices. There was overlap in the problems identified, and the list was consolidated into the 87 items listed in Table 4.4.

The NESTS’ effort appeared to be a daunting task. To organize the review, the Working Group used three parameters to group the problems – geographic location, type and scale of problem. The problems are organized geographically in Table 4.4. Five general problem types were then defined. In many cases, a problem was classified as more than one type:

 

  • Pedestrian/Bicycle/Vehicle Conflict: This type of problem occurs when there is a demand for bike and/or walking facilities to connect activity centers, but there are no facilities available to serve these modes. Conflicts also occur at intersections between bike and walking facilities and roadways. The result is that walkers and bicyclists must compete with vehicles for space in the roadway. There is serious concern with these issues in the study area as verified by the 39 problems that were in this category.
  • Traffic Congestion: The evaluation of traffic congestion that was described in this chapter was supplemented by public observation of areas of excessive delay on the highway network in the study area.
  • Neighborhood Impacts: These impacts occur when the environmental capacity of a roadway is exceeded, indicating that the road and its traffic significantly degrade the livability of the adjoining land uses. Traffic impacts neighborhoods by creating safety concerns for pedestrians and bicyclists; by causing noise and air pollution; and by creating barriers when volumes are high enough to restrict crossing roadways. The roadway itself can impact neighborhoods because of its width, facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists, design speed, street-side vegetation, and provision for on-street parking.
  • Roadway Design/Geometry: Geometric and design features of the roadway system were identified that may restrict traffic flow. In some cases, these features need to be addressed but, in others, the Working Group viewed them as beneficial to achieving Livability Goals because they reduced traffic speeds in neighborhoods. Sight distance limitations were included in this category as well.
  • Node Access: This classification was used to identify activity nodes with limited multi-modal access. For example, if a node had limited or no transit service or if there were no bike or pedestrian facilities, it would be included in this classification.

Figure 4.7 (Form for Problems)
Table 4.4 (page 1)
Table 4.4 (page 2)

Finally, problems were characterized according to scale:

  • Localized Problems: Defined for a specific location such as an intersection or roadway segment. An example would be "Parked vehicles limit sight distance at Freese Road/Mt. Pleasant Road intersection with Route 366". A more detailed listing of the localized problems is provided in Appendix G.
  • Generalized Problems: Defined for a larger geographic area and describing a condition that could be addressed with a specific solution or possibly with a broader "cross-cutting" alternative. "North Triphammer Road – Excessive speeds, heavy traffic volumes" is typical of these issues.

After reviewing the localized and generalized problems, the Working Group reached a number of conclusions. First, ten of the problems were already being addressed by proposed projects. The Working Group recommends incorporating its Livability principles and Goals and Objectives into the design and implementation of these projects. Second, many of the problems should be addressed by local jurisdictions. As the affected municipalities address these problems, they also should incorporate the Livability principles and Goals and Objectives established by NESTS. Examples of potential solutions are provided in Appendix G. Third, some items identified as problems do not require any action. For example, the tight turning radii at Forest Home Drive and Warren Road slows traffic and reduces the attractiveness of these roads as truck routes. Since they are both neighborhood streets, the geometry at this location enhances livability and, therefore, no action is required.

After the review of the problem list was completed, 23 remained. They are listed in Chapter VI. As the Working Group reviewed these problems in more detail, it became apparent that many of them were cross-cutting issues as defined below:

  • Cross-Cutting Issues: Major deficiencies identified in the form and function of the transportation system serving the Northeast area. These issues evolved during the review of the generalized and localized problems. They cross geographic areas and affect the entire NESTS area. An example would be "Excessive traffic on local neighborhood streets created by a lack of an appropriate transportation system that would connect the shopping attractions in the Village of Lansing with Cornell and existing residential areas."

The Working Group, with the support of the Client Committee, concluded that NESTS should concentrate on proposing and evaluating alternatives that addressed these cross-cutting issues.

 

CHAPTER V - PROJECTED VEHICULAR TRAFFIC
 

NESTS is a long-range planning effort that made recommendations to address transportation needs for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and cars and trucks in the area for the next 20 years. This chapter describes how future conditions on the transportation network were forecast. For private vehicular traffic projections, TModel transportation modeling software was used to convert future projections of population, households, and employment into demand on the highway network. There were no significant changes assumed in the transportation network for the initial evaluation of future conditions because there were no major changes anticipated.

A. Modeling Process for Motor Vehicles


The TModel is a regional traffic forecasting tool which was developed by the Cornell University School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This model was initially calibrated by Cornell for the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council (ITCTC) as described in the report, Development of Transportation Planning Models for the Ithaca Tompkins County Area: TModel2 Calibration.

The principle attributes of the model are described below along with any modifications made for the NESTS traffic forecasts. The modeling files used in the final NESTS forecasts have been provided to ITCTC.

  • Simulation Period: The model estimates traffic conditions for the afternoon peak hour period. The highest traffic volumes in the area occur during this time period as confirmed by actual traffic counts.
  • Highway Network: The Cornell model of the highway system includes more than 950 individual highway segments. Most of the critical links in the NESTS area were included, but minor modifications to the model were made to permit more detailed analysis of specific locations. For example, driveways onto Triphammer Road from Pyramid Mall and Cayuga Mall were added.
  • Transportation Analysis Zones (TAZs): Tompkins County is divided geographically into 364 TAZs in the Cornell model. There are also 17 external TAZs that represent the major entry and exit points for the County. Within the municipalities included in the NESTS area, there is a fine grained zone structure. This level of geographic division was adequate for the needs of the NESTS modeling effort, so no changes were made to the zone structure.
  • Socio-Economic Data and Trip Generation: The Cornell model used a very refined classification of data that included 18 land use types for trip generation. The types were based on a cross-classification of household size and vehicle ownership, as well as 6 types of employment. Separate trip generation rates were applied for each land use type. These classifications and trip generation rates were not modified for the NESTS model.
  • Calibration: At the County level, the calibration of the model provided for the NESTS forecasts was adequate. The model was adjusted to provide adequate output for the NESTS study area.


B. Projections of Future Population and Employment

Historically, Tompkins County has grown steadily in population and employment, but the growth has not been dramatic. Census figures indicate that from 1970 to 1996, the County’s population grew by 29 percent from 76,879 to 98,988 persons. This growth has not been uniform throughout the County. One of the reasons for initiating NESTS is that the northeast area has grown faster than the other parts of the County. As shown in Table 5.1, the towns and villages in the NESTS area grew by 36 percent between 1970 and 1996, a rate of about 1.2 percent per year. Looking at individual municipalities, the percentage growth rates are widely dispersed. The Village of Lansing was the fastest growing community in this time period, and the Town of Ithaca was the slowest in percentage terms. Absolute growth in these areas was about 3,000 for the Town and 2,100 for the Village.


TABLE 5.1 - HISTORIC POPULATION GROWTH

Municipality 1970 1980 1990 1996
Town of Ithaca
Village of Lansing1
Town of Lansing
Town of Dryden
Village of Cayuga Heights
15,620
5,972
9,770
3,130
16,022
3,039
5,278
12,156
3,170
17,797
3,281
6,015
13,251
3,457
18,653
3,412
6,596
14,182
4,137
Subtotal 34,492 39,665 43,801 46,980
Tompkins County 76,879 87,085 94,095 98,988


Only a portion of the Towns of Ithaca, Lansing, Dryden, and the Village of Cayuga Heights are in the study area.  |  1Village of Lansing incorporated in 1974.

 

Future projections of population, households, and employment have been made as part of planning efforts by many of the local municipalities. The NEST study utilized population and employment projections for 1995-2025 prepared by the ITCTC. To account for the uncertainty in future projections, base, moderate growth, and high growth estimates were prepared for each municipality. For the base case, population was projected to grow by 13.2 percent in Tompkins County over the next twenty years (0.66% per year neglecting compounding). Within the NESTS area, the growth estimates ranged from 0 percent for the Village of Cayuga Heights to 17.5 percent for the Town of Dryden (0.87% per year). It was assumed that there would be no growth in the Village of Cayuga Heights because there is little developable land available. On an annual basis, the growth rates for the County and the NESTS study area were 0.6 to 0.7 percent. The projections shown in Table 5.2 were made using this information. For the moderate growth case, an average annual growth rate of 1.5 percent per year (30 percent over 20 years) was applied for all of the municipalities except the Village of Cayuga Heights. For the high growth case, a rate of 3.0 percent per year (60 percent over 20 years) was used. The growth in population and employment using these assumptions for each community are shown in Figures 5.1 and 5.2.

Table 5.2

Figure 5.1

Figure 5.2

(Sam has – population graph)

This growth will not occur uniformly within municipalities; it depends on zoning regulations, available sewer and water services, available vacant land, and unpredictable events in the real estate market. To account for this type of variation in projections of traffic on the transportation network, population and employment data must be summarized at a smaller geographic scale than towns or villages. TModel uses transportation analysis zones (TAZs), described previously, to sub-divide municipalities. The consultant held meetings with local planners to evaluate where the growth was most likely to occur in their communities. The information collected at these meetings was used to estimate the location of growth in population and employment in each community and assign it to a specific TAZs. The results of this process are presented in Appendix H. The specific location of this growth can result in an increase in traffic on a particular road that is much larger than the overall growth rate for that area. For example, traffic on Warren Road in the vicinity of the airport will increase at a faster rate due to the location of projected employment growth in the TAZs in this area.

C. Traffic Projections

Afternoon peak hour traffic projections on the roadways in the NESTS area were prepared for all three growth scenarios. Use of the Cornell model allowed the consultant to provide the Working Group with information about projected traffic growth in the study area. The model was used to determine growth in four different areas: North of Route 13, between Route 13 and Community Corners, between Community Corners and Cornell, and south of Cornell. By comparing the growth projections with existing traffic in these areas, more detailed regional and local traffic flows were determined.

Screenline volumes were used initially to gauge the overall level of future traffic growth in the area. A screenline determines the total traffic on a set of roadways crossing an imaginary line in a given time period. For example, the combined traffic volumes on Warren Road, Route 34, and Triphammer Road crossing an imaginary east-west line north of Route 13 provides an estimate of the total north-south movement in this area. By comparing the existing volumes with the future volumes across the screenline, future percentage growth in regional traffic flows can be prepared. The four screenlines described below and shown in Figure 5.3 were used:

  • North of Route 13: Includes Warren Road, Triphammer Road, Hanshaw Road and Route 34 to measure north-south traffic flows in the Town of Lansing.
  • Between Route 13 and the Community Corners: Includes Warren Road, Triphammer Road, and NY 34 to measure north-south traffic south of Route 13.
  • Between the Community Corners and Cornell: Includes Pleasant Grove Road, Warren Road, Cayuga Heights Road, Freese Road, and Triphammer Road to measure north-south traffic near Forest Home.
  • South of Cornell: Includes Pine Tree Road and Thomas Road to measure north-south traffic between Cornell and Route 79.

Future traffic crossing the screenlines is shown in Figure 5.4 for the three growth scenarios. The growth in traffic varied, depending on the location of the screenline. The highest growth rates occur on the screenline north of Route 13, where traffic was projected to grow by 30 to 100 percent. There was significant growth at the other screenlines as well.

Figure 5.3

Figure 5.4 Screenline Volumes Bar Graph

 

D. Conclusions

The growth in traffic projected for the next twenty years will continue to exacerbate the conditions which created the impetus for NESTS. The amount of traffic in neighborhoods will grow, and there will be increasing delays at intersections. The level of traffic growth on neighborhood streets is shown in Table 5.3. Since many of these streets have unacceptably high levels of traffic today, the Working Group concluded that alternatives were needed to lower future traffic volumes on these streets. These alternatives are described in Chapter VI.

The overall impact on Level of Service at the study area intersections is shown in Figure 5.5 for the medium growth case (1.5% per year). This case most nearly coincides with the historic growth rate and was, therefore, deemed most appropriate for modeling purposes. Based on this analysis, the following intersections will experience a significant drop in Level of Service over the next 20 years:

  • Triphammer Road at Pyramid Mall Entrance: Drops from a B to a C, but there is a volume to capacity ratio (v/c) of 0.93, indicating little extra capacity for seasonal variations.
  • Triphammer Road at Eastbound Route 13 Ramps: Drops from a B (with recommended signal timing changes) to a C with v/c of 1.0.
  • Community Corners: Unsignalized approaches remain at F and Upland Road drops to F as well.
  • Hanshaw Road at Pleasant Grove Road: Drops from an E to an F.
  • Pleasant Grove Road at Forest Home Drive: Drops from a C to an F.
  • Forest Home Drive at Judd Falls Road: Drops from a C to an E.
  • Route 366 at Judd Falls Road and Pine Tree Road: Both of these drop to an F.
  • Route 79 and Pine Tree Road: Drops from a C to a D.

 

TABLE 5.3 - PROJECTED 20-YEAR GROWTH IN TRAFFIC

Screenline Road Growth Rate /Year
0.66% 1.5% 3.0%
North of Route 13
NY 34
Triphammer Road
Warren Road
Hanshaw Road
30%
29%
29%
24%
29%
60%
47%
40%
60%
50%
128%
99%
50%
175%
101%
Between Route 13 and the
Community Corners
NY 34
Triphammer Road
Warren Road
30%
13%
4%
16%
60%
30%
5%
33%
128%
57%
10%
66%
Between the Community Corners and Cornell
Cayuga Heights Road
Triphammer road
Pleasant Grove road
Warren Road
Freese Road
24%
7%
28%
10%
18%
17%
40%
43%
66%
32%
113%
51%
120%
83%
127%
26%
315%
107%
South of Cornell
Pine Tree Road
Thomas Road
8%
24%
14%
27%
31%
29%
80%
169%
114%

NOTE: Growth rate per year is average for all zones used in traffic assignment. Variations between zones cause different growth rates on street segments.

The projections of future traffic indicate that if no changes are made to the transportation system, the levels of service at a number of intersections in the NESTS area will decrease to unacceptable levels. In addition, the forecasted significant increase in traffic volumes on neighborhood streets does not meet the livability goals of the study.

Figure 5.5

CHAPTER VI - DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES

The Working Group and its technical advisors proposed and evaluated a broad range of alternatives to address the transportation problems and issues identified in Chapters IV and V. This chapter describes the generation of alternatives and the evaluation process that was used to select the final alternatives that would be recommended by NESTS.

A. Defining the Problem

The Working Group, with the agreement of the Client Committee, focused its efforts on the generalized problems. Localized problems were defined and catalogued; typical solutions were proposed and referred to appropriate local jurisdictions (see Appendix G). Table 6.1 presents a few examples of localized problems and solutions based on the Livability Principles in this report. Better design policies (narrowing of streets and traffic calming), improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and improved land use policies were discussed and endorsed. These are presented in Chapter III. The problems that remained are shown in Table 6.2 and are discussed in this chapter. After reviewing these remaining problems, the Working Group classified many as "cross-cutting", not confined to a specific NESTS geographic corridor. Most of these problems were the result of too much traffic using inappropriate streets through neighborhoods and residential areas. These cross-cutting problems can be addressed best with alternative area-wide solutions that would reduce traffic on existing streets.

Table 6.1 – page 1

TABLE 6.2 Transportation Problems to be Addressed by Alternatives

ID #
Description
 
North/South Corridor – Town of Lansing to Cornell:
2.2
Community Corners – Congestion, poor turning movements, safety issues
2.4
Triphammer Road/Route 13 – Poor intersections, congestion, no crossing signals
2.6
Warren Road/Route 13 – Congestion, pedestrian/bicycle safety
2.7
Warren Road near Uptown Road – Difficult turning at peak hours, pedestrian/vehicle interface (children walking, biking)
2.9
Pleasant Grove Road – Poor connectors –Cayuga Heights to Route 13 and Lansing to Cornell, pedestrian/bicycle discontinuities
3.1
Cornell Campus – Congestion, pedestrian/bicycle safety, poor parking and transit access to Cornell
3.3
Forest Home – Congestion, pedestrian/bicycle safety, pollution (noise, dust, fumes), few Fall Creek vehicle crossings, problem with traffic flows through Forest Home, narrow bridges, no shoulders
4.1
North Triphammer Road – Excessive speed/heavy volumes
4.3
Hillcrest Road – Bypass for through traffic around mall, pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle conflicts
4.7
Asbury Road/North Triphammer Road – Poor sight distance and alignment, cut-off road to S. Lansing
4.13
Caswell Road – Growth as north/south connector
4.19
Cayuga Mall – Transit access from Dart Road
5.6
Sapsucker Woods Road – Impact of through traffic with opening of Brown Road
 
East/West Corridor – Town of Dryden to Cornell:
1.1
Route 366 – Hoy Road to Judd Falls Road – Congestion, pedestrian/bicycle safety, turning difficulty
1.10
Route 366 – Pedestrian/bicycle access, high traffic volume
1.18
Route 366 in Varna – Turning vehicle conflicts
 
Southern Area – Town of Ithaca:
1.5
Pine Tree Road – Congestion, pedestrian/bicycle safety, sight distance, volume of traffic on Route 79, lack of gaps in traffic at certain times, short-cut to mall from Route 79
1.12
Ellis Hollow Road – High commuter demand, pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle conflict
1.14
Pine Tree Road – Narrow unpaved shoulder leads to parking conflict and pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle conflict, high vehicle speeds
1.25
Snyder Hill Road – high vehicle speeds, poor shoulders
 
  1. North/South Corridor – Route 34:
4.6
East Shore Cir/Route 34 – Heavy truck traffic, difficult entering 34B due to traffic
4.12
Farrel Road/West Dryden Road – Growth as east/west connector, pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle conflicts
4.14
East Shore Drive – Excessive speeds/truck volumes

Note: ID numbers refer to originally numbered problems in NESTS working documents.

Alternatives considered by the NESTS Working Group and presented in this chapter included several levels of transit service, bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements and several new or expanded roadway segments. The impact of these alternatives was evaluated against the NESTS Goals and Objectives. Future conditions with the alternatives were rated positive (+), neutral (0) or negative (-). As a basis of comparison, the Working Group evaluated the "null" future which assumed that there would be no major changes to the transportation system. For this case, shown in Table 6.3, the evaluation was done by comparing the future conditions to existing conditions.

The null analysis demonstrated substantial need for long-term improvements to the transportation system. The majority of the evaluation ratings (zeros and minus signs) indicated the future system would be unacceptable, not at a level to enhance the livability of the NESTS area. This conclusion is consistent with the initial charge to the NESTS Working Group.

B. Proposing Alternatives

The Working Group, with the help of its technical advisors, devoted several monthly meetings to brainstorming alternatives that would address the "generalized" and "cross-cutting" problems. The Working Group generated a broad range of alternatives, as shown in Table 6.4, having to do with both livability and mobility in the categories of design, land use, transit, new facilities for cars, bikes, and pedestrians, and truck movements. In this chapter, only some of the proposed alternatives are considered, arranged in three main groups, having to do first with facilities for pedestrians and bicycles, second with an expanded transit system, and third with a new connector road. The alternatives are described and evaluated but, first, the null alternative – leaving things much as they are – is evaluated. As Table 6.3 shows the

TABLE 6.3: EVALUATION OF FUTURE NULL ALTERNATIVE

Goal/Objective
 
1. A transportation system that enhances and preserves the quality of life in neighborhoods, residential and other community areas, including recreational, educational and
commercial areas
 
1.1 Increase safety on neighborhood streets
-
1.2 Decrease volume of traffic on neighborhood streets
-
1.3 Reduce excessive vehicle speeds
-
1.4 Decrease air and noise pollution
-
1.5 Design attractive streetscapes
0

6. Increase pedestrian/bicycle connections between commercial nodes

-
Operate clean, quiet buses with frequent neighborhood service
-
1. Develop and maintain a multi-modal transportation system that connects residential, public and commercial activity centers of the study area and the region
 
2.1 Provide continuous network of through roads
-
2.2 Design intersections to facilitate safe vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle movements
0
2.3 Design roadways that provide safe clearance for pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle
-
2.4 Improve traffic flow between north and south
-
2.5 Minimize adverse impact on natural environment
0
2.6 Improve multi-modal access to employment and commercial areas
-
7. Provide continuous path and connect for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicles between commercial Nodes
-
2.8 Reserve right of way for proposed roads
-
2.9 Design roadways to be scenic/efficient and have positive impact
0
1. Outstanding pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities to use as an alternative to the automobile.
 
3.1 Provide well-maintained facilities for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicle
0
3.2 Emphasize safety and minimize conflicts with motor vehicles
-
3.3 Increase mobility via alternative modes
-
3.4 Increase TCAT’s service levels including weekend and Saturday
-
3.5 Improve ease of use of transit
0
•  Support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and land use patterns and policies
 
4.1 Balance historic, cultural and transportation interests
0
4.2 Increase interconnectivity of transportation network to increase efficiency and provide 
alternative travel routes
-
4.3 Integrate transportation, land use and economic development
0
4.4 Provide consistent standards for each mode
0
4.5 Serve the transportation disadvantaged population
0
Feasibility Factors
 
Consider all costs of proposed alternatives (procurement, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, and travel costs.)
0
Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
0
Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
0
Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.
0


 KEY: + = Future condition better than existing condition  |  o = Future condition the same as existing condition  |  - = Future condition worse than existing condition

 

TABLE 6.4 - NESTS’ INITIAL BRAINSTORMED ALTERNATIVES

COMMON DESIGN POLICIES

  • Identify acceptable traffic-calming techniques for different roadway types.
  • Provide suggested roadway cross-section standards.
  • Apply suggested roadway standards to existing roadways where possible.
  • Reduce speed limits in neighborhoods and provide better enforcement.

LAND USE POLICIES

  • Prepare a unified inter-municipal land-use plan that will study land use regulations and techniques to control sprawl in the study area.
  • Increase connections and minimize cul-de-sacs in new projects. In existing developments, provide bicycle/pedestrian links between adjacent neighborhoods.
  • Provide access management standards for arterials that will minimize curb cuts.

TRANSIT ALTERNATIVES

  • Increase participation on Omniride
  • Increase mass transit subsidy
  • Conduct a continuing long-term education campaign encouraging use of mass transit (Elementary school to Adult)
  • Increase parking cost or provide employees incentives to ride transit
  • Provide good transit access to recreation and shopping areas on Saturday and Sunday
  • Expand transit and para-transit service
  • Provide park and ride at key junctions and origin points to serve Cornell and link with frequent transit service

NEW TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES

  • Provide a north-south roadway from Route 79 to Route 13 or to Route 34 along new and/or existing right-of-way
  • Connect bikeways/trailways to form a continuous system (Implement existing plan)
  • Provide direct access from Route 13 to and from Pyramid mall
  • Provide geometric improvements at specific locations such as Community Corners

TRUCK MOVEMENT ACTIONS

Conduct a comprehensive area-wide freight study that will address a range of truck movement issues such as:

  • truck movements in sensitive areas
  • truck delivery hours
  • designated truck lanes on Route 13
  • designated truck routes
  • structural impact of heavy trucks on highway system

null alternative, doing nothing, would bring forth a dismal future, with no improvement on about 40% of the evaluation criteria, and absolute worsening on 60%, as judged collectively by the Working Group.

C. Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan

For many people, safe facilities for walking and bicycling are among the elements that define a livable community. Goal 3 of NESTS states that there should be outstanding pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities to use as alternatives to the automobile. Provisions for these modes of transportation is especially helpful because there is self-reinforcement, as more walking and biking itself leads to less motorized traffic, thus enhancing the environment for walking and cycling. Building continuous and safe access for pedestrians and cyclists provides communities with the means to remediate the negative effects of automobiles and, at the same time, it provides those communities with the fruit of that remediation: safer communities for walking and cycling.

Provision for expanded accessibility requires a comprehensive process, where pedestrian and bicycle traffic is regarded as a significant and meaningful component of municipal transportation, alongside planning for automobiles and public transit, and is explicitly written into both general transportation plans and specific construction projects. An integrated approach in providing the choices of walking or bicycling will allow our communities to become more livable places. A good example of the lack of pedestrian facilities in the area is the lack of a safe pedestrian crossing over Route 13 at any location between Triphammer Road and the Village of Dryden. In the Village of Lansing it has been suggested that a pedestrian bridge connecting the Village Park on Uptown Road with Dart Drive be considered. This would provide increased connections for pedestrian and bicycle access to the Malls north of Route 13 from the residential areas south of Route 13. This would provide both a recreational facility as well as a second safe pedestrian crossing, and it would support the NESTS Livability Principles.

A number of pedestrian and bicycle plans have been prepared for Tompkins County during the last several years. As part of NESTS, the recommendations from these plans were combined to prepare the consolidated map shown in Figure 6.1. This map does not include

some of the group’s ideas for improving the pedestrian/bicycle network, such as the concept of traffic calming. However, it does illustrate the extent of pedestrian/bicycle facilities which could be provided in the NESTS area. Before any plan could be implemented, it should be evaluated for consistency with the NESTS Livability Principles discussed in Chapter III. While the preparation of a detailed pedestrian and bicycle plan was beyond the scope of this study, a conceptual, non-specific plan for pedestrian and bicycle improvements was evaluated by the Working Group. This plan was found to have many advantages, as shown in Table 6.5.

D. Transit Alternative - Maximum Transit Service

Livable communities include public transit as a real travel option. Since conventional suburban development, private and public as well, has been based on the assumption that nearly all trips will be made by automobiles, provisions for other alternatives (walking, bicycling and public transit) have been generally omitted. Having realistic choices for transportation requires a new look at public and private decisions that shape facilities, street networks, and patterns of development.

The transit alternative would provide a high level of transit service focused on connections between residential areas and employment and commercial centers. The objectives of this service are:

Figure 6.1 Consolidated Bicycle Plan

TABLE 6.5: NESTS FUTURE BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN PLAN EVALUATION

Goal/Objective
 
1. A transportation system that enhances and preserves the quality of life in neighborhoods, residential and other community areas, including recreational, educational and
commercial areas
 
1.1 Increase safety on neighborhood streets
0
1.2 Decrease volume of traffic on neighborhood streets
0
1.3 Reduce excessive vehicle speeds
0
1.4 Decrease air and noise pollution
+
5. Design attractive streetscapes
+
1.6 Increase pedestrian/bicycle connections between commercial nodes
+
1.7 Operate clean, quiet buses with frequent neighborhood service
0
1. Develop and maintain a multi-modal transportation system that connects residential, public and commercial activity centers of the study area and the region
 
2.1 Provide continuous network of through roads
-
2.2 Design intersections to facilitate safe vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle movements
+
2.3 Design roadways that provide safe clearance for pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle
+
2.4 Improve traffic flow between north and south
-
2.5 Minimize adverse impact on natural environment
0
2.6 Improve multi-modal access to employment and commercial areas
+
2.7 Provide continuous path and connect for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicles between commercial nodes
+
2.8 Reserve right of way for proposed roads
-
2.9 Design roadways to be scenic/efficient and have positive impact
0
3.0 Outstanding pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities to use as an alternative to the 
automobile.
 
3.1 Provide well-maintained facilities for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicle
+
3.2 Emphasize safety and minimize conflicts with motor vehicles
+
3.3 Increase mobility via alternative modes
+
3.4 Increase TCAT’s service levels including weekend and Saturday
-
3.5 Improve ease of use of transit
0
4.0 Support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and
land use patterns and policies
 
4.1 Balance historic, cultural and transportation interests
0
4.2 Increase interconnectivity of transportation network to increase efficiency and provide 
alternative travel routes
0
4.3 Integrate transportation, land use and economic development
0
4.4 Provide consistent standards for each mode
0
4.5 Serve the transportation disadvantaged population
0
Feasibility Factors
 
Consider all costs of proposed alternatives (procurement, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, and travel costs.)
0
Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
+
Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
+
Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.
+

KEY: + = Future condition better than existing condition  |  o = Future condition the same as existing condition  |  - = Future condition worse than existing condition

  • To provide a service that would be attractive enough to result in a significant reduction in use of personal vehicles.
  • To reduce traffic on neighborhood streets.
  • To provide an alternative mode connecting residential areas with Cornell University and northeast commercial and employment locations.

The service would have the following characteristics:

  • Service Characteristics: The proposed service would be an expansion of the service changes proposed by TCAT for the Northeast Area. In order to attract more ridership, each fixed route should have several buses operating during peak hours of usage, resulting in minimal headways and short waits for passengers at bus stops. Weekday service would be provided at 10-minute headways for a 4-hour morning and a 4-hour afternoon peak period. For an additional 7 hours, service would be provided with 20 minute headways. Service on Saturday and Sunday would be provided as well but it would be reduced in frequency to about half of the weekday service.

A. It was assumed that bus travel speeds would average 20 mph. Passengers must also be assured that time schedules would be reliably followed.

  • Bus Routes: Five bus routes are proposed to serve the NESTS area as shown in Figure 6.2. They operate as radial routes serving Cornell. Other activity centers served are the shopping areas on Triphammer Road, the employment centers on Warren Road, and the potential Park-and-Ride locations.
  • Bike Use: Bikes would be allowed on all buses consistent with current TCAT policy.
  • Shelters: A bus shelter would be provided at all locations where more than 20 people board the bus per day. For cost-estimating purposes, it was assumed that there would be four shelters per mile of bus route.
  • Real Time Information: Available technology would be used to provide bus riders with real time information concerning bus location and estimated time of arrival at the stop.

 

Critical Ancillary Elements

The success of the transit service will depend on a number of different policy and design actions taken by the local governments in the study area and Cornell. These policies include:

  • Transit Oriented Site Design: Provide for easy access to commercial, employment, and residential buildings by transit vehicles. This includes providing for adequate passenger and pedestrian facilities, locating entrances near the edge of pavement, and separating parking lots from circulation systems in large developments.
  • Transit Oriented Land Use: Concentrate higher density development into centers or nodes to facilitate service and transit usage.
  • Parking Policies: Expand the Omniride program to include other industries and employers. Combine this with increased parking fees and charges for convenient parking facilities. Develop a parking policy at Cornell that will promote the use of the peripheral park-and-ride lots to a level near their capacity.
  • Compatible Equipment: Buses will need to be attractive, comfortable and quiet to operate the proposed service effectively. On lower volume routes, smaller buses would be used reducing capital costs as well as neighborhood impacts. All buses purchased would need to meet low noise and emission standards.
  • Pedestrian Facilities: People using the bus are pedestrians at the beginning and end of their trips. In order to be viable, public transit needs to be completely integrated into the pedestrian network.

Goals and Objectives Analysis

The evaluation matrix completed for the maximum transit alternative by the Working Group is shown in Table 6.6, and further considerations are discussed below.

  • Ridership Estimates: To determine the potential benefits of the maximum transit service, it was necessary to prepare ridership estimates for the service. Estimates were prepared in cooperation with TCAT based on trip data consistent with that used for the transportation modeling effort. For each route, the TModel zones served were identified. Then a proportion of the zones served was estimated based on an assumed walking distance to the bus of ¼ mile. The households in the zone were then multiplied by this proportion to determine the households served by each route. Using household trip generation rates, the number of peak hour trips generated was estimated. Then the number of transit trips made on each route was estimated for different modal shares between 2 percent and 15 percent. Ridership estimates from the Park-and-Ride lots were prepared as well. These were based on a maximum potential peak hour ridership of ¼ of the lot capacity. The results of the ridership estimates are shown in Table 6.7. The data used to prepare these estimates are provided in Appendix D.
  • Criteria Met: The effectiveness of this plan clearly depends on the shift from autos to transit. The plan has the potential to reduce future traffic in neighborhoods as shown in Table 6.8. The level of this reduction depends on how many people ride the bus. The trade-off is that there will be increased bus traffic on some streets. For example, with the service level proposed, bus volumes on Warren Road could increase to 10 to

TABLE 6.6: MAXIMUM TRANSIT EVALUATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



  • Support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and
  •  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    land use patterns and policies

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
  •  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
  •  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.
  •  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Goal/Objective
     
    1.0 A transportation system that enhances and preserves the quality of life in neighborhoods, residential and other community areas, including recreational, educational and
    commercial areas
     
    1.1 Increase safety on neighborhood streets
    +
    1.2 Decrease volume of traffic on neighborhood streets
    +
    1.3 Reduce excessive vehicle speeds
    0
    1.4 Decrease air and noise pollution
    0
    1.5 Design attractive streetscapes
    0
    1.6 Increase pedestrian/bicycle connections between commercial nodes
    0
    1.7 Operate clean, quiet buses with frequent neighborhood service
    +
    2.0 Develop and maintain a multi-modal transportation system that connects residential, 
    public and commercial activity centers of the study area and the region
     
    2.1 Provide continuous network of through roads
    0
    2.2 Design intersections to facilitate safe vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle movements
    0
    2.3 Design roadways that provide safe clearance for pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle
    0
    2.4 Improve traffic flow between north and south
    0
    2.5 Minimize adverse impact on natural environment
    +
    2.6 Improve multi-modal access to employers and commercial
    +
    7. Provide continuous path and connect for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicles between commercial nodes
    +
    2.8 Reserve right of way for proposed roads 
    0
    2.9 Design roadways to be scenic/efficient and have positive impact
    0

    3. Outstanding pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities to use as an alternative to the automobile.
     
    3.1 Provide well-maintained facilities for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicle
    +
    3.2 Emphasize safety and minimize conflicts with motor vehicles
    0
    3.3 Increase mobility via alternative modes
    +
    3.4 Increase TCAT’s service levels including weekend and Saturday
    +
    3.5 Improve ease of use for transit service
    +
    •  Support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and land use patterns and policies
     
    4.1 Balance historic, cultural and transportation interests
    +
    2. Increase interconnectivity of transportation network to increase efficiency and provide 
    alternative travel routes
    +
    4.3 Integrate transportation, land use and economic development
    +
    4.4 Provide consistent standards for each mode
    +
    4.5 Serve the transportation disadvantaged population
    +
    Feasibility Factors
     
    Consider all costs of proposed alternatives (procurement, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, and travel costs.)
    -
    Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
    +
    Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
    +
    Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.
    +

    KEY: + = Future condition better than existing condition  |  o = Future condition the same as existing condition  |  - = Future condition worse than existing condition
     

    TABLE 6.7 - SUMMARY OF MAXIMUM TRANSIT PEAK HOUR POTENTIAL RIDERSHIP

     
    Percent Using Transit Routes1
    2%
    5%
    10%
    15%
    Town of Lansing
    20
    40
    90
    130
    Town of Ithaca
    50
    120
    250
    370
    Village of Lansing
    30
    70
    140
    220
    Village of Cayuga Heights
    20
    40
    70
    110
    Town of Dryden
    30
    80
    160
    230
    TOTAL
    150
    350
    710
    1060

    1Represents percent of trips made by households within ¼ mile of transit routes plus Park & Ride Trips

     

    TABLE 6.8 - PROJECTED TRAFFIC VOLUMES WITH MAXIMUM TRANSIT PEAK HOUR VEHICLES

    LOCATION
     
    STREET BETWEEN    
    FUTURE
    BUS
    TRANSIT PROPORTION OF TRIPS  
          EXISTING
    NULL
    ROUTES
    2%
    5%
    10%
    15%
                       
    Forest Home Bridge    
    700
    800
    1 & 2 
    750
    700
    600
    500
    Caldwell Bridge    
    500
    650
    1 & 2 
    600
    550
    500
    400
    Warren Road Hillcrest  Brown Rd.*
    1050
    1250
    1
    1250
    1250
    1200
    1200
    Warren Road Brown Rd. Route 13*
    1350
    1600
    1
    1600
    1550
    1500
    1450
    Warren Road(N) Route 13* Hanshaw
    1050
    1250
    1 & 2 
    1250
    1200
    1150
    1100
    Warren Road(S) Route 13 Hanshaw*
    750
    850
    1 & 2 
    800
    800
    700
    650
    Warren Road Hanshaw Forest Home*
    600
    700
    1 & 2 
    650
    600
    550
    450
    Triphammer Rd Route 34B Graham Rd.*
    1050
    1450
    1
    1450
    1450
    1450
    1450
    Triphammer Rd Graham Rd. Route 13*
    2250
    2550
    1
    2550
    2500
    2450
    2350
    Triphammer(N) Route 13* Hanshaw
    1600
    1800
    1 & 2 
    1800
    1750
    1650
    1600
    Triphammer(S) Route 13 Hanshaw*
    1300
    1450
    1 & 2 
    1400
    1350
    1300
    1200
    Pleasant Grove Hanshaw* Jessup Rd.
    600
    700
    1 & 2 
    700
    650
    600
    550
    Pleasant Grove Jessup Rd. Forest Home*
    600
    750
    1 & 2 
    750
    700
    650
    600
    Route 366 Freese Rd. Forest Home*
    850
    1000
    4
    1000
    950
    850
    800
    Judd Falls Road Forest Home McIntyre Pl.*
    600
    700
    1 & 2 
    650
    600
    500
    400
    Pine Tree Road Ellis Hollow* Route 79
    750
    900
    3 & 5
    900
    900
    850
    800
    Pine Tree (N) Route 366* Ellis Hollow
    1050
    1150
    3 & 5
    1150
    1100
    1050
    1000


    * Intersection used to compute volumes

    NOTE: For 20-year base growth rate (0.66% per year) forecast to 2016.

    20 per hour in the peak hours. Future traffic on neighborhood streets was forecast to be 0 to 43% less than otherwise, if the bus system were successfully implemented (15% usage) along with the ancillary elements. Due to the expected background increase in traffic volumes over the next 20 years, even a 15% transit usage rate would

    leave most streets with approximately the same amount of traffic as they currently have. Since many neighborhoods are currently experiencing traffic volumes well in excess of their environmental capacities, implementation of this alternative by itself would not result in acceptable traffic volumes in these areas. While any decrease in current or projected traffic volumes would be welcomed, other supplementary methods are needed.

    • Primary Benefits: Neighborhoods that would have smaller growth in traffic if the service were heavily utilized include:
      • Forest Home
      • Varna
      • Pine Tree
      • Community Corners
      • Warren Road School Area
      • Warren Road North
      • Triphammer Road
    • Potential for Increased Benefits: Encouraging land use strategies that reduce the need for autos (Transit Oriented Development), coordination of transit services with large employers (Transportation Demand Management), and upgrading bicycle/pedestrain facilities would lead to increased use of the system.
    • Potential Adverse Impacts: The increased bus traffic could create noise impacts unless buses with reduced noise generation characteristics are specified. Measures, such as restricted parking, that would need to be implemented to induce higher transit ridership would reduce freedom of access. Door-to-door travel time for some trips made by transit that had previously been made by private vehicles would be increased by 10 to 15 minutes. In many cases, there would be a trade-off related to walking time. For an auto trip to Cornell, there is little or no walking time on the home end of the trip, but there is walking necessary from the parking lot to the final destination. With the bus service, a longer walk would be necessary at the home end, but this would be partially compensated by a shorter walk at the Cornell end.

    Cost Estimate

    The maximum transit alternative described in this section and the new roadway alternatives described in following sections were the only actions considered that would have substantial costs. The Working Group agreed that it would be useful in the evaluation to prepare order-of-magnitude cost estimates. The transit cost estimates, based on existing operating and capital costs, were prepared with the assistance of TCAT. These costs are summarized in Table 6.9. They were computed using the following process.

    • One-way distance on each route was measured.
    • Using an operating headway of 10 minutes for 8 hours per day and 20 minutes for 7 hours a day, the number of annual bus operating hours and the number of buses required to operate the service were computed.
    • Unit operating costs per hour were multiplied by the number of hours to obtain annual operating costs for each route.
    • Other annual costs for additional administration and education/marketing were included. The Working Group emphasized that the education/marketing component was essential to the success of the service and estimated that $250,000 would be needed.
    • Capital costs were estimated based on the number of buses, the need for a new transit garage in the northeast area to support the service, park-and-ride lot constructions, and the cost of an advanced customer information system.

    Funding for the transit system will come from a number of sources including state and federal programs, local sources and fares charged to users. An estimate of the amount of funding that could be generated by these sources is also shown in Table 6.9. Current federal and New York State programs will cover 90 percent of capital costs, leaving a local balance of $1,510,000. The local share of operating costs would be 24 to 48 percent depending on the ridership level of the service.

    Conclusion

    After completing a thorough analysis of the maximum transit system alternative, the Working Group concluded that it should be included as one of the final NESTS recommendations.

    TABLE 6.9 - SUMMARY OF MAXIMUM TRANSIT SERVICE ORDER OF MAGNITUDE COSTS

    Annual Operating Cost Component
    Amount
    Total Capital Cost Component
    Amount
    Bus Operations
    Educational/Marketing
    Administration/Fleet Maintenance
     
    TOTAL
    $ 5,340,000
    250,000
    300,000
     
     
     
    $ 5,890,000
    34 New Buses
    Shelters
    Transit Facility
    Passenger Information System
     
    TOTAL
    $ 8,550,000
    2,050,000
    3,500,000
    1,000,000
     

     
     
    $ 15,100,000
    Potential Aid/Revenues
     
    Potential Aid
     
    State Mileage Aid
    State Passenger Aid
    Fare Revenues
    TOTAL
    $ 1,710,000
    510,000-1,020,000
    870,000-1,740,000
    $ 3,090,000-4,470,000
    State Aid
    Federal Aid
     
    TOTAL
    $ 1,510,000
    12,080,000
     
    $13,590,000
    Net Local Share
    $ 1,420,000 - 2,800,000
     
    $ 1,510,000


    Connector Roads

    The Working Group considered a number of possible connector roads that would address the issues of excessive traffic in neighborhoods and inappropriate use of residential streets for through traffic movements. Adding capacity to existing roadways by widening or constructing short sections of new roadway connecting existing roadways was also considered. It was agreed by the Working Group that addressing the problems on neighborhood streets with heavy traffic volumes by widening them or adding capacity at intersections was completely unacceptable considering the Goals and Objectives of the NESTS effort. Examples of evaluations for two alternatives on existing right-of-way are presented in Appendix I. Development of alternatives, therefore, focused on corridors that could divert traffic away from neighborhood streets. During these discussions it became clear that there were a number of feasible corridors for connectors that would divert traffic, but that defining an exact location was beyond the scope of this study because of the need for a detailed engineering and environmental evaluation. Therefore, a more general evaluation of the corridor concepts was conducted for locations in the eastern and western parts of the study area as shown in Figure 6.3. This section describes the evaluation of these alternative corridors.

    1. North-South Connector – East

    This multi-modal connector would run east of the more densely settled parts of the NESTS area linking Routes 34, 13, 366, and 79 for vehicles, transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The objectives of this connector are:

    • To provide an alternative travel path for vehicle trips that would otherwise be following residential streets in the NESTS area.
    • To provide an uncongested route for longer distance transit services.
    • To provide a safe pathway for recreational and non-recreational bicycle travel that links into existing facilities.
    • To provide a safe pathway for pedestrian travel linking existing trails.
    • To provide a new link in the network of through roads so as to ensure that there will be adequate capacity to handle traffic with minimal congestion and delay.
    • To enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods by decreasing the volume of traffic on residential streets.

    The connector would have the following characteristics:

    • Location: The location of this 10-mile corridor is conceptual and would be refined during a design feasibility analysis. It would connect Route 34B, Route 13, Route 366 and Route 79. The objective would be to avoid sensitive natural areas as well as residential areas and neighborhoods such as Varna. Where feasible, the proposed

    Figure 6.3 - Alternatives Map
    roadway would follow existing sparsely developed roads. Segments A1, A2 and A3, shown in Figure 6.3, depict one possible route. Segment A1 is envisioned as being mostly on new right-of-way. Segment A2 could follow sparsely populated sections of Hanshaw and Freese Roads. Segment A3 could utilize Game Farm Road and a new alignment around Hungerford Hill, or could use the northern section of Pine Tree Road, avoiding the residential section to the south.

    • Cross Section: The cross section proposed for the connector is a modest width two-lane design consistent with other roads in the area.
    • Access Control: There would be no curb cuts permitted onto the roadway. Connections would only be provided at existing roads. The objective would be to maintain the road as a limited access facility. All intersections would be at grade, with the possible exception of Route 13, where a diamond interchange might be appropriate.
    • Speed Limit: A speed limit of 45-55 mph would be posted.
    • Bike/Pedestrian Use: A separate multi-use pathway would be provided for pedestrians. Bicyclists would be allowed to use either the shoulder or the multi-use path.
    • Landscaping and Lighting: Existing vegetation would be retained, and there would be additional tree planting and landscaping to provide a buffer and park-like character along the roadway and multi-use path. Lighting would be provided only at intersections.

    Critical Ancillary Elements

    • The connector’s primary function is for multi-modal transportation service rather than access to adjacent land. Therefore, it is critical that access to the roadway itself be limited as noted above, and that municipalities adjacent to the connector institute land use regulations that will limit intense development at the intersections. If there is existing zoning protecting agricultural land or low density residential development, it should be retained. If this type of zoning is not in place, it should be instituted.
    • Traffic-calming and speed-reduction measures on Triphammer Road, Warren Road, Pleasant Grove Road, Pine Tree Road, Judd Falls Road and other streets in the NESTS area are the second critical element in the successful implementation of this connector. The future traffic estimates prepared as part of this study assumed that travel speeds would be reduced to the point that typical travel times would be increased. These reductions would result in travel over existing streets taking 2 to 4 minutes longer between Route 34B and Route 13 and 2 to 4 minutes longer between Route 13 and Cornell. Thus, a trip between Route 34B and Cornell over existing streets could take 4 to 8 minutes longer than it takes today. This level of speed
    • Reduction will induce traffic to divert to the new connector and away from existing neighborhoods and residential areas.
    • The alignment must be designed to minimize impacts on wetlands, neighborhoods, and natural areas. The design should blend with the existing landscape and minimize cut and fill sections.

    Goals and Objectives Analysis
     

    The evaluation matrix completed for this alternative by the Working Group is shown in Table 6.10 and related considerations are discussed below.

    • Criteria Met: This connector meets most of the traffic-related goals and objectives established for the study by reducing traffic on neighborhood streets significantly from the future null condition as shown in Figure 6.4. Without this connector and its ancillary elements, traffic on neighborhood streets would be 25 to 45 % higher in the future.

    Many neighborhoods in the NESTS study area are currently experiencing traffic volumes well in excess of their environmental capacities, with some residential streets carrying 6 to 8 times as much traffic as they should. While a 25% to 45% decrease would be greatly appreciated by the residents, implementation of this alternative by itself would not reduce traffic volumes in all areas to acceptable, livable levels. Other measures should therefore be used to supplement this alternative.

    • Primary Benefits: Neighborhoods that would have less traffic if the connector were built include:

      • Forest Home
      • Ellis Hollow
      • Varna
      • Pine Tree
      • Eastern Heights
      • Community Corners
      • Warren Road School Area
      • Warren Road North
      • Triphammer Road
      • East Shore Drive
    • Potential for Increased Benefits: To reduce these volumes on neighborhood streets further in the future would require implementation of the Maximum Transit Alternative. The impact of traffic on neighborhood streets would also be reduced because of the traffic-calming measures that would be implemented as part of the connector.

    TABLE 6.10 - NESTS NORTH-SOUTH CONNECTOR EAST EVALUATION

     

    Goal/Objective  
    1.0 A transportation system that enhances and preserves the quality of life in neighborhoods, residential and other community areas, including recreational, educational and commercial areas
     
    1.1 Increase safety on neighborhood streets
    +
    1.2 Decrease volume of traffic on neighborhood streets
    +
    1.3 Reduce excessive vehicle speeds
    +
    1.4 Decrease air and noise pollution
    0
    1.5 Design attractive streetscapes
    +
    1.6 Increase pedestrian/bicycle connections between commercial nodes
    +
    1.7 Operate clean, quiet buses with frequent neighborhood service
    0
    2.0 Develop and maintain a multi-modal transportation system that connects residential, public and commercial activity centers of the study area and the region
     
    2.1 Provide continuous network of through roads
    +
    2.2 Design intersections to facilitate safe vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle movements
    +
    2.3 Design roadways that provide safe clearance for pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle
    +
    2.4 Improve traffic flow between north and south
    +
    2.5 Minimize adverse impact on natural environment
    -
    2.6 Improve multi-modal access to employers and commercial
    +
    2.7  Provide continuous path and connect for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicles between commercial nodes
    +
    2.8 Reserve right of way for proposed roads 
    +
    2.9 Design roadways to be scenic/efficient and have positive impact
    +
    3.0  Outstanding pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities to use as an alternative to the
    automobile.
     
    3.1 Provide well-maintained facilities for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicle
    +
    3.2 Emphasize safety and minimize conflicts with motor vehicles
    +
    3.3 Increase mobility via alternative modes
    +
    3.4 Increase TCAT’s service levels including weekend and Saturday
    0
    3.5 Improve ease of use for transit service
    0
    4.0 Support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and land use patterns and policies
     
    4.1 Balance historic, cultural and transportation interests
    +
    4.2 Increase interconnectivity of transportation network to increase efficiency and provide alternative travel routes
    +
    4.3 Integrate transportation, land use and economic development
    +
    4.4 Provide consistent standards for each mode
    +
    4.5 Serve the transportation disadvantaged population
    0
    Feasibility Factors
     
    Consider all costs of proposed alternatives (procurement, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, and travel costs.)
    +
    Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
    +
    Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
    0
    Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.
    +

    KEY: + = Future condition better than existing condition  |  o = Future condition the same as existing condition  |  - = Future condition worse than existing condition

     

    • Figure 6.4
    • Potential Adverse Impacts: Even though an alignment that avoids designated critical natural areas such as Sapsucker Woods is possible, the connector would have an adverse negative impact on the natural environment. The corridor runs through an area that is currently a combination of open agricultural space and wooded terrain. Crossings of Fall Creek and Cascadilla Creek would be necessary. There are significant grades at both of these streams as well as in the Hungerford Hill area. In these areas, some cut sections could be necessary.

     

    Cost Estimate

    Cost estimates for this alternative were made using standard NYSDOT unit cost values for new roadway construction. These costs include construction and drainage, signals, intersection improvements, bridges, and contingencies. Since there is the potential to complete this project in segments, cost estimates were made for the north (A1), middle (A2), and south (A3) segments. The order of magnitude total cost for this alternative would be $26.5 million, with the roadway portion estimated to cost $25 million dollars with an additional $1.5 million dollars for the multi-use path. Segment A1 was estimated to cost $9.5 million, Segment A2 - $9.8 million, and Segment A3 - $7.2 million. If portions of existing roads were used, those costs could be lower. If typical federal and state funding sources were available, the local share of these costs would be 5 percent of the total cost.

     

    Conclusion

    This alternative could significantly reduce traffic within critical neighborhood areas. It would require land use/zoning regulations and traffic calming, and significant capital expense. Potential adverse impact on natural areas would require thorough study and design analysis. It is important to recognize that a continuation of current traffic trends will result in significant impacts in core neighborhoods. However, analysis indicates that if a road is constructed as a result of the recommended design/feasibility study, including its ancillary elements, traffic in 20 years would be maintained at or below current (1998) levels.

    2. North-South Connector - Route 34/Route 13 West

    This multi-modal connector is in the western portion of the NESTS study area connecting Route 34 and Route 13 for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The objectives of this connection would be:

    • To provide a direct connection between Route 34 and Route 13 that does not impact neighborhoods.
    • To reduce traffic on residential streets in the northern portion of the study area
    • To provide alternative access to Pyramid Mall and reduce congestion on North Triphammer Road

    The connector would have the following characteristics:

    • Location: The connector would intersect with Route 34 south of Gulf Creek, as shown in Figure 6.3. It would then continue south, following the contour lines with at-grade connections with Water Wagon Road, Burdick Hill Road, and Oakcrest Road. A connection would also be provided at Graham Road. At the southern end of the alternative it would connect to a service road linking Triphammer Road with the Route 13 on and off ramps at Cayuga Heights Road. The Working Group concluded that the northern end of this alternative could also be extended further north to connect directly to the Route 34/34B overlap if so desired. This connection would have to consider the existing Town facilities and other land uses located in this area.
    • Cross Section and Alignment: A two-lane cross section is proposed for the connector, with a separate multi-use pathway. Intersections would be stop sign controlled with the potential to develop turning lanes if necessary. Cyclists would be allowed on the shoulders, as well as on the pathway.
    • Access Control: There would be no curb-cuts permitted onto new sections of this roadway. There would be access into the Pyramid Parking lot on the southern section of the connector.
    • Speed Limit: The speed limit would vary depending on the adjacent land uses. North of Graham Road, a speed limit of 45 mph would be posted. South of Graham Road, a speed limit of 35 mph would be posted.
    • Bike/Pedestrian Use: Bikes would be allowed on the shoulder of the roadway, but pedestrians would be provided with a separate multi-use pathway. This path could be parallel to the new connector or it could be constructed along East Shore Drive, as part of a scenic by-way concept for that roadway.
    • Landscaping and Lighting: Existing vegetation would be retained, and there would be additional tree planting to provide a park-like character to the roadway and multi-use path. Lighting would only be provided at intersections.

     

    Critical Ancillary Elements

    • The connector’s primary function is for multi-modal transportation service rather than access to adjacent land. Therefore, it is critical that access to the roadway itself be limited and that the Village and Town of Lansing institute land use regulations that will limit intense development at intersections. If a new development is proposed for the Sun Downs Property, it should be integrated with this goal with only one or two new access points.
    • Traffic-calming and speed-reduction measures on Triphammer Road, Warren Road and East Shore Drive are the second critical elements in the successful implementation of this connector. The future traffic estimates prepared as part of this study assumed that travel speeds would be reduced to the point that typical travel times would be increased along existing roadways. These reductions would result in travel over existing streets taking 2 to 4 minutes longer between Route 34B and Route 13. This level of speed reduction will induce traffic to divert to the new connector and away from existing neighborhoods and residential areas.
    • Providing an alternative travel path to East Shore Drive would mean that the existing East Shore Drive could be treated as a scenic by-way with associated modifications such as the installation of scenic overlooks and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

     

    Goals And Objectives Analysis

    The evaluation matrix completed for this connector by the Working Group is shown in Table 6.11 and related considerations are discussed below.

    • Criteria Met: For all of the neighborhood streets in the northern portion of the study area, this connector meets most of the traffic-related goals and objectives established for the study by reducing traffic as shown in Figure 6.5. The exception is that there will be increased traffic on Route 34 between Route 34B and the intersection with the connector. The traffic on other neighborhood streets was forecast to be 15 to 25 percent less in the future, if the connector was implemented along with the ancillary elements.
    •  

    TABLE 6.11 NESTS NORTH-SOUTH CONNECTOR – ROUTE 34/13 WEST

     

    Goal/Objective
     
    1.0 A transportation system that enhances and preserves the quality of life in neighborhoods, 
    residential and other community areas, including recreational, educational and commercial areas
     
    1.1 Increase safety on neighborhood streets
    +
    1.2 Decrease volume of traffic on neighborhood streets
    +
    1.3 Reduce excessive vehicle speeds
    +
    1.4 Decrease air and noise pollution
    0
    1.5 Design attractive streetscapes
    +
    1.6 Increase pedestrian/bicycle connections between commercial nodes
    +
    1.7 Operate clean, quiet buses with frequent neighborhood service
    0
    2.0 Develop and maintain a multi-modal transportation system that connects residential, 
    public and commercial activity centers of the study area and the region
     
    2.1 Provide continuous network of through roads
    +
    2.2 Design intersections to facilitate safe vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle movements
    +
    2.3 Design roadways that provide safe clearance for pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle
    +
    2.4 Improve traffic flow between north and south
    +
    2.5 Minimize adverse impact on natural environment
    -
    2.6 Improve multi-modal access to employers and commercial
    +
    2.7  Provide continuous path and connect for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicles between commercial
    nodes
    +
    2.8 Reserve right of way for proposed roads 
    +
    2.9 Design roadways to be scenic/efficient and have positive impact
    +
    3.0  Outstanding pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities to use as an alternative to the
    automobile.
     
    3.1 Provide well-maintained facilities for bicycle/pedestrian/vehicle
    +
    3.2 Emphasize safety and minimize conflicts with motor vehicles
    +
    3.3 Increase mobility via alternative modes
    +
    3.4 Increase TCAT’s service levels including weekend and Saturday
    0
    3.5 Improve ease of use for transit service
    0
    4.0 Support livable communities through strong linkages between transportation planning and
    land use patterns and policies
     
    4.1 Balance historic, cultural and transportation interests
    +
    4.2 Increase interconnectivity of transportation network to increase efficiency and provide 
    alternative travel routes
    +
    4.3 Integrate transportation, land use and economic development
    +
    4.4 Provide consistent standards for each mode
    +
    4.5 Serve the transportation disadvantaged population
    0
    Feasibility Factors
     
    Consider all costs of proposed alternatives (procurement, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance, and travel costs.)
    +
    Reference existing plans while respecting existing land uses and allowing for flexibility in future planning.
    +
    Consider the impacts on various stakeholders. Strive for a win-win situation, where no single group benefits at the expense of another.
    0
    Promote long-term solutions through phased implementation plans.
    +

    KEY: + = Future condition better than existing condition  |  o = Future condition the same as existing condition  |  - = Future condition worse than existing condition

    Figure 6.5

    • Primary Benefits: Neighborhoods that would have less traffic if the connector were built include:

      • Warren Road
      • East Shore Drive
      • Triphammer Road
    • Potential for Increased Benefits: To reduce volumes on neighborhood streets further in the future would require implementation of the Maximum Transit Alternative. The impact of traffic on neighborhood streets would also be reduced because of the traffic-calming measures that would be implemented as part of the connector. To reduce traffic volumes on neighborhood streets south of Route 13, this connector would have to be combined with a portion of the North South Connector - East.
    • Potential Adverse Impacts: This alternative avoids designated critical natural areas, but there is still the potential for adverse impacts on the natural environment for those sections on new right-of-way. These sections run through areas that are currently a combination of open agricultural land and wooded terrain. At the southern end of this alternative, the roadway would need to be provided on a right of way that would not decrease the existing buffer between the Pyramid Mall and the residential development on Wedgewood Drive and Beckett Way.

    Cost Estimate

    Cost estimates for this alternative were prepared using the unit cost methods. The total cost was estimated to be $10 million. A local share of $500,000 would be required if funding for the roadway could be obtained from existing federal and state highway programs.

    Conclusion

    This alternative should be considered further as a NESTS recommendation.

    North-South Connector – Other Alternatives

    Two proposals for close-in north-south connectors were also studied by the Working Group. These would have provided a shorter, more direct connection between major traffic generators such as Cornell University and residential and shopping centers in the northeast. Each of these proposals combined a new bridge across Fall Creek with roadway alignments, which largely followed existing roads in heavily populated residential areas. The Working Group concluded that these proposals would have significant impacts on residential neighborhoods, and were therefore determined to be unacceptable. A detailed analysis of these proposals is included in Appendix I.

    4. Combined New Roadway

    The North-South Connector Route 34/13 West (Alternative S) and Segment A1 of the North-South Connector East serve similar functions in the northern part of the NESTS area. A comparison of traffic diversion from roadways north of Route 13 is shown in Table 6.12. Alternative S provides greater traffic diversion from Route 34, and Segment A1 provides greater traffic diversion from Warren Road. After considering these two options for a northern corridor, the Working Group considered including Alternative S rather than Segment A1 in a comprehensive roadway plan for the following reasons:

    • Both options provide significant traffic diversion from existing roadways, but Alternative S has a more significant impact on Route 34 and Triphammer Road.
    • Route 34 has the potential to become a scenic by-way for both vehicle and bicycle traffic if Alternative S is available as an alternative route.
    • Alternative S would provide an opportunity for through traffic to by-pass residential and commercial areas in the Village of Lansing.

    Shorter-term implementation of the Mall access components of Alternative S as shown in Figure 6.6 could relieve congestion in the area between the Triphammer mall and the Route 13 access ramps on Triphammer Road. Providing an access directly from the mall to Route 13 southbound would reduce traffic on Triphammer Road southbound. Traffic to the mall from Route 13 to the east would also have an alternative route to the mall that would not require a left turn into the mall.

    Figure 6.6

    Table 6.12 - Comparison of Alternative S and Segment A1 Traffic Diversion Impacts (PM Peak Hour 2016 Volumes)

    Street
    Between:
     
    Existing
    No Build
    W/Alt.S
    W/Seg.A1
    Warren Road
    Hillcrest
    Brown Rd.*
    1050
    1250
    1150
    1100
    Warren Road
    Brown Rd.
    Route 13*
    1350
    1600
    1450
    1400
    Triphammer Rd
    Route 34B
    Graham Rd.*
    1050
    1450
    1250
    1250
    Triphammer Rd
    Graham Rd.
    Route 13*
    2250
    2550
    2000
    2400
    East Shore Drive
    Water Wag.
    Route 13
    800
    1050
    700
    1000

    * - Volumes near these intersections. A comparison of the traffic impacts of the connector roadway alternative with the maximum transit alternative is shown in Table 6.13

    The overall impact of the combined S, A2 and A3 segments on future traffic volume is shown in Figure 6.7. A comparison of the reductions in traffic associated with each segment compared to the null altrnative are shown in Table 6.13. Based on these estimates of future traffic diversions to the new roadways from existing neighborhood streets, and the other ancillary benefits of the new facilities, the Working Group concluded that they be considered in the final NESTS recommendations.

    Final implementation of any of these alternatives will require detailed engineering studies. The initial step would be a design feasibility study that would consider alternative alignments based on environmental, topographic, and adjoining land use constraints.

    Figure 6.7
     

    Table 6.13 - Projected 2016 Peak Hour Traffic Volume Impacts of Recommended Alternatives Versus Null Alternative

     
    Between:
     
    Alt.S
    Seg.A2
    Seg.A3
    S+A2+A3
    Max.T
    Forest Home Bridge
     
     
     
    ++
     
    ++
    ++
    Caldwell Bridge
     
     
     
    +
     
    +
    +
    Warren Road
    Hillcrest
    Brown Rd.*
     
     
     
     
     
    Warren Road
    Brown Rd.
    Route 13*
     
     
     
     
    +
    Warren Road (N)
    Route 13*
    Hanshaw
     
     
     
     
     
    Warren Road (S)
    Route 13
    Hanshaw*
     
    ++
     
    ++
    +
    Warren Road
    Hanshaw
    Forest Home*
     
    ++
     
    ++
    ++
    Triphammer Road
    Route 34B
    Graham Rd.*
    +
     
     
    +
     
    Triphammer Road
    Graham Rd.
    Route 13*
    +
     
     
    +
     
    Triphammer (N)
    Route 13*
    Hanshaw
     
     
     
     
    +
    Triphammer (S)
    Route 13
    Hanshaw*
     
    +
     
    ++
    ++
    Pleasant Grove
    Hanshaw*
    Jessup Road
     
    +
     
    +
    +
    Pleasant Grove
    Jessup Road
    Forest Home
     
    +
     
    +
    +
    Route 366
    Freese Rd.
    Forest Home*
     
    ++
     
    ++
    ++
    Judd Falls Road
    Forest Home
    McIntyre Pl.*
     
    ++
     
    ++
    ++
    Pine Tree Road
    Ellis Hollow*
    Route 79
     
     
    ++
    ++
    ++
    Judd Falls (N)
    Route 366*
    Ellis Hollow
     
     
     
    +
    +
    East Shore Drive
    Water Wag.
    Route 13
    ++
     
     
    ++
     

    Key: ++ = Reduction greater than 30% | + = Reduction greater than 15%

    CHAPTER VII:  RECOMMENDATIONS

    The recommendations presented in this chapter are the product of the 18-month Northeast Subarea Transportation Study (NESTS). They are the result of the collaborative process described in Chapter II. In developing these recommendations, the Working Group fully considered the Goals and Objectives established during the study and followed a process consistent with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Federal legislation that defined the funding process and priorities for transportation from 1991-1998. The fundamental philosophy of ISTEA has been maintained and expanded in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) by focusing on maintenance of existing facilities; improved efficiency in transportation investments; maximizing mobility through mode choice and access; community participation and localized decision making; and environmental sensitivity. NESTS exceeded the expectations for the transportation planning process suggested in ISTEA and TEA-21 by:

    • Conducting an extensive public participation process that included regular meetings of the Working Group, as well as numerous meetings with citizen groups in the local community.
    • Preparing a comprehensive set of goals, objectives and feasibility measures to evaluate proposed alternatives before they were included in the Plan.
    • Evaluating existing conditions by measuring and evaluating traffic volumes, operating speeds, roadway geometric conditions, transit service, bicycle facilities, pedestrian facilities, and land use patterns.
    • Preparing a list of specific transportation problems and issues in the NESTS area and designating municipalities and agencies responsible for addressing each item on the list.
    • Considering a range of small-scale and large-scale alternatives for the transportation system that would address the transportation needs of the area for the next 20 years.
    • Evaluating the alternatives in a collaborative, cooperative decision-making process using the criteria prepared as part of the study effort.
    • Recommending a final set of actions that, if implemented successfully, will address the mobility and accessibility needs of the area while, at the same time, improving the livability and quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors.

    These recommendations are presented below:


    A. Transportation Plan Recommendations

    Recommendation 1 – Adopt Livability Principles

    All actions should further the goal of creating and sustaining livable communities. The Working Group recommends incorporating the Livability Principles detailed elsewhere in this document and summarized below into all transportation and land use planning activities at the municipal, county, and regional level. The principles can be summarized as follows:

    • Address environmental capacity concerns, reducing traffic impacts to an acceptable level, and making roads and their vehicles less of an intrusion on the land uses through which they pass.
    • Decrease roadway width and traffic volume to acceptable levels in residential areas.
    • Implement traffic-calming measures to control vehicle movements and speeds on neighborhood streets with the support of local residents.
    • Ensure continued mobility through the expanded use of alternative modes and the construction of low impact roadways, where appropriate.
    • Design roadways to be scenic, to reflect the character of the land uses through which they pass, and to protect and enhance neighborhood livability.
    • Maintain and enhance the livability of all residential areas, even if this means that commuting time for some of the further out suburban developments may be a few minutes longer.
    • Regard pedestrian and bicycle traffic as a significant and meaningful component of municipal transportation, and include provisions in all transportation and development projects.
    • Make transit an attractive travel alternative by increasing and improving service, and by integrating transit into pedestrian and bicycle systems, roadway design, and land use planning efforts.
    • Adopt land use planning practices and infrastructure developments (water and sewer) that will control suburban sprawl and will create development patterns that reduce the need for transportation and reliance on the automobile.

    Recommendation 2 - Provide Enhanced Community-Based Transit Service

    The Working Group supports the design and implementation of an intensive transit service that would combine a high level of community-based transit service with peripheral park-and-ride bus service for trips to and from Cornell and downtown Ithaca.

    The objectives of the service are:

    • To provide a service sufficiently attractive and cost competitive to result in a significant reduction in use of personal vehicles.
    • To reduce traffic on neighborhood streets in the study area.
    • To provide an alternative to personal vehicles connecting residential areas with commercial areas on Triphammer Road, Cornell, downtown Ithaca and employment locations on Warren Road.
    • The success of the proposed transit service depends on the following system characteristics:
    • Frequent service with a bus every 10 minutes during peak hours.
    • Passenger amenities -- including bike racks on buses, bike storage at bus stops (including park-and-ride lots), enhanced shelters, adequate connecting sidewalks, and information system kiosks that will provide accurate bus arrival times.
    • An extensive and intensive education and marketing campaign to promote the service based on its convenience, environmental benefits, and contribution to livability. The Working Group recommends funding this effort at a significantly higher level than has traditionally been used by TCAT.
    • Coordinated parking policies in Cornell, the City of Ithaca, and the Town of Ithaca, to enhance the proposed transit system and peripheral park-and-ride lots.
    • Expansion of the Omniride program to include other employers in the area and provide incentives to encourage use of the bus system.
    • Buses compatible with the routes they serve - smaller buses would be used on routes serving neighborhoods, and the best available technology to reduce noise and emissions would be used.
    • Support of alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, including ride-sharing, car and van pools, etc.
    • In addition to these system characteristics, the Working Group recommends area municipalities cooperate to establish site development and land use policies that will encourage use of transit, as described in Recommendation 3. To facilitate implementation and determine the success of the service it should be implemented in phases.

    This service is recommended because it has the following potential benefits:

    • Transit reduces projected future traffic volumes on residential streets in the NESTS area. The level of reduction depends on the effectiveness of the education campaign and other ancillary actions to convince the public in the NESTS area to ride transit. If the positive benefits of transit can be realized, then future traffic could be significantly less than forecast on residential streets.
    • Transit service will provide greater mobility and is intended to reduce auto dependency. Trips can be made more easily by young people and senior citizens who don’t have drivers’ licenses. The system will allow families to own fewer vehicles. There will not be the perceived need to own a vehicle for every licensed driver.
    • Transit will preserve open space by encouraging and facilitating alternative cluster settlement patterns for new developments.

     

    Recommendation 3 – Implement Land Use Planning Practices that will Enhance Livability

    In response to broad environmental and community development concerns, the Working Group recommends that municipalities throughout the area adopt land use practices and regulations that promote transit use, discourage suburban sprawl, respect the environment, protect farm land and open space, and promote rational development. Land use actions that should be implemented to promote "smart growth" for the area are:

     

    • Transit-Oriented Site Design: Provide for easy access to commercial and residential buildings by transit vehicles. This includes providing for adequate passenger and pedestrian facilities, locating building entrances near the edge of streets to reduce circulation through parking lots by buses, and separating parking areas from bus circulation systems in large commercial developments.
    • Transit-Oriented Land Use: Concentrate higher density developments at transit nodes to facilitate service and transit usage without harming significant open area or existing neighborhoods.
    • Public Infrastructure: Encourage measures such as public subsidy of new water, sewer and roads only in ways which enhance nodes of development in planned areas of mixed use and higher residential densities. Encourage the provision of sidewalks and other facilities to enable walking and biking. Limit the practice of road widening in residential areas.
    • Restrict Development Along New Connector Roads: When new connector roads are built in currently undeveloped areas, open space along these roads must be maintained to discourage suburban sprawl and limit demand for access which would degrade the smooth flow of traffic on these facilities.
    • Adopt Mixed Use Zoning: Allowing residential and small scale commercial development to co-exist within the same site provides opportunities for shorter trips which are amenable to walking and biking than occurs with single-use zoning of large tracts of land. In some parts of Tompkins County, this means supporting small, semi-self-sufficient clusters similar to traditional villages.
    • Consider Traffic Impacts of New Development: Limit development which would increase traffic in residential neighborhoods.
    • Truck Weight Limits: Minimize impacts on residential neighborhoods by posting weight limits on appropriate streets and clearly specifying alternate truck routes.
    • Prevent Suburban Sprawl: Encourage land use regulations that protect and ensure open-space buffer zones between high density growth nodes.

     

    Recommendation 4 – Improve the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Network

    The Working Group recommends a continuous network of facilities to support year-round pedestrian and bicycle travel. Where appropriate, the Plan recommends:

    • Shared Facilities: In residential neighborhoods, reduce vehicle speed and volume sufficiently that bicyclists and pedestrians can safely share the road with motor vehicles.
    • Parallel Facilities: On higher speed roads with the potential for significant pedestrian or bicycle traffic, provide separate facilities (sidewalks, bike lanes, shoulders).
    • Independent Facilities: Provide multi-use pathways independent of the roadway network that would allow pedestrian and bicycle mobility away from motor vehicle traffic.
    • Municipal Maintenance of Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities: Establish a coordinated system of year-round municipal maintenance of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including road shoulders, sidewalks and multi-use trails.
    • Bicycle Parking Facilities: Require new developments to provide sufficient bicycle parking facilities for employee, customer, and visitor usage at businesses, libraries, schools, transit stops and other public destinations.
    • Connectivity: Expand pedestrian facilities by adding sidewalks at key locations. Provide bike and walking connections between existing developments, including adjoining cul-de-sacs.

    When combined with the provision of bike racks on buses, these additions to the system will offer a multi-modal capability that will enhance the viability of bicycle and pedestrian travel.

     

    Recommendation 5 – Perform Design/Feasibility Study and Reserve Right of Way for Cross Cutting Roadway Corridors

    The Working Group recommends conducting a design/feasibility analysis for three roadway corridors that would lead to the preservation of rights-of-way for potential future construction of new connectors as shown in Figure 7.1.

    • North-South Connector – West (Segment S) would run from Route 34 and proceed south to connect with Route 13.
    • North-South Connector – East (Segment A2) would connect Route 13 and Route 366 in an area east of Sapsucker Woods.
    • North-South Connector – East (Segment A3) would connect Route 366 and Route 79. Segments A2 and A3 could form a continuous roadway.

    Figure 7.1
    These roadways may be necessary to reduce future traffic within critical neighborhood areas if coordinated land use planning and maximum transit fail to address this objective. Any such new road could be composed of a combination of both new and existing roadway segments and must have the following characteristics:

    • Two lanes wide, with an accompanying multi-use pathway
    • Scenic roadway with landscaped buffers to preserve open viewsheds
    • Alignment which respects natural ground contours with minimum cut and fill

      • Minimum impact on terrain, wetlands, and natural areas
      • Minimum impact on residential areas, avoiding houses and decreasing traffic in neighborhoods
      • No driveways or curb-cuts so as to prevent development along the roadway
      • Zoning and land use controls (including deed restrictions, transfer of development rights or purchase of development rights) in order to prevent sprawl development at intersections and to preserve the aesthetics along the roadway corridor

    The Working Group made the roadway-corridor recommendation for the following reasons:

    • There is an existing conflict between traffic and livability on neighborhood streets in the NESTS area that can be addressed only in part by the implementation of the proposed transit system. In addition, as the area grows over the next twenty years, there may be a need to provide alternative routes so that traffic does not increase in residential areas. The analysis of future traffic conducted during NESTS demonstrated that these corridors could reduce future traffic volumes on neighborhood streets. The right of way should be reserved for these routes as soon as possible because it may not be available in the future as development continues.
    • Successful traffic calming on existing local and neighborhood streets in the study area requires a designated alternative route for traffic. A new road could restore some of the mobility, which would be lost as these traffic-calming measures are implemented.
    • The design and feasibility analysis can be conducted concurrently with the implementation of the transit system. If the transit system is very successful, the need for building the roadway can be re-evaluated.

    Recommendation 6 - Refer Localized Problems to Responsible Jurisdictions

    The Working Group recommends referring the localized problems to municipalities, Tompkins County, or the New York State Department of Transportation.

    Recommendation 7 - Implement Selected Actions

    The Working Group recommends several specific actions to address the general problems identified regarding neighborhood impacts and congestion issues. These actions include:

    • Institute well-designed traffic-calming plans in high traffic residential areas in the study area where there is neighborhood support for doing so.
    • Build a service road connecting North Triphammer Road and Pyramid Mall to the existing Route 13 ramps to Cayuga Heights Road. This service road would upgrade the existing ring road around the Mall, providing an alternative access point that would relieve traffic congestion at the existing Route 13 ramps at Triphammer Road.
    • Initiate a design study for a pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing Route 13 in the vicinity of Uptown Road.
    • In conjunction with the re-development of the Cornell North Campus, it is recommended that a connection between Pleasant Grove Road and Thurston Avenue Bridge be created as a gateway to the campus.


    Recommendation 8 - Freight Study

    The Working Group recommends conducting a comprehensive County-wide freight movement study to evaluate how to balance the need for goods movement, required for the economic wellbeing of the community, with concerns regarding truck usage of neighborhood streets. (Note: The Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council is already considering this recommendation for implementation).

    Recommendation 9 - Intergovernmental Cooperation

    The NEST study is a good example of the type of inter-municipal cooperation that is necessary to solve regional transportation problems. The Working Group recommends that such cooperation be continued and expanded.

    • Include affected municipalities, specifically the City of Ithaca, in future implementations of NESTS’ recommendations.
    • Establish and utilize uniform roadway design standards, which are consistent with the Goals and Objectives and Livability principles used in NESTS. Base roadway design on minimal width consistent with desired vehicle speed, traffic volume and safety as evidenced by local experience, rather than on generic design manuals.
    • Encourage coordination of municipal land use plans to include the livability standards and development patterns identified during NESTS. This includes consideration of development proposals in one community on livability in adjacent communities.
    • Conduct local government workshops and training sessions that will suggest methods to implement NESTS recommendations to coordinate land use and transportation planning. These activities should be coordinated by ITCTC and should include practical examples of successful implementation of Livability Principles in other areas.
    • Incorporate the NESTS Goals and Objectives and Livability Principles into the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) process and into all other planning activities in Tompkins County at the local and County levels.
    • Include the NESTS project recommendations into the TIP and Long Range Plan. The ITCTC should work with local municipalities to officially adopt NESTS’ recommendations as part of this effort.
    • Increased enforcement of speed limits, weight limits, and compliance with other motor vehicle laws, especially in residential neighborhoods.

    B. Opportunity

    The Transportation Plan provides a framework for implementing a refocused transportation system for the Northeast area that will accommodate the movement of people and goods, while improving the livability and quality of life in the area by reducing traffic impacts on neighborhoods and providing a broad choice of transportation options. The provision of a greatly enhanced mass transit system, coupled with targeted traffic-calming efforts, enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and new low-impact roadway links, has the potential to achieve the goals of the study by reducing and re-directing vehicle trips throughout the area without risking the tendency for continued sprawl that could result from the construction of major new highway facilities or the enlargement of existing roads. If this potential is realized, it will enhance the area’s livability and provide a demonstration of an alternative future for small urban areas that will be recognized at the national level.

    The Plan proposes specific projects and actions to meet the mobility and livability goals of the area. Now is an advantageous time to pursue these goals because of state and federal funding cycles. Actions that are essential to advancing the recommendations are:

    • Include major elements from the Transportation Plan in the ITCTC, TCAT, and New York State Department of Transportation’s five-year plans. Initiate design and planning for these projects and conduct the standard environmental reviews during the design process.
    • Designate lead agencies and organizations to advance and serve as advocates for the transit system and the changes that will be necessary to affect modal choice in the Northeast area.
    • Secure funding from other sources for projects that are beyond the scope of core Department of Transportation programs.
    • Maintain an oversight committee that would be formed from the members of the Working Group and other stakeholders to monitor implementation of the Plan

    Even if these steps are successfully implemented, achieving the potential for modal shift called for in the Transportation Plan will not be easy. In a typical small urban area, an attempt to increase the proportion of travel made by non-personal vehicles by a factor of four to five would be viewed as totally unrealistic. Without the strong support of the entire Northeast area community, such an attempt will fail here as well. However, during the course of this study, as well as in response to other proposals for change in the Northeast area, residents have indicated their commitment to reach this goal. There are strong neighborhood organizations in the area that have the opportunity with the proposals in this Plan to work together and over the next twenty years to create positive change.

    It is clear that these recommendations are an experiment that, if successful, could alter future development patterns within Tompkins County. Working together to implement this Transportation Plan, the leaders and citizens of affected municipalities and agencies have an opportunity to refocus the transportation infrastructure in order to enhance the area’s livability, strengthen its quality of life to benefit residents, businesses and visitors, and preserve a sense of place. This opportunity exists because of a combination of historical conditions and transportation policy changes that have coalesced now to the area’s advantage including:

    • Recognition by the leaders and citizens of the NESTS area of the need to invest in alternative infrastructure improvements in order to achieve their quality of life goals.
    • Greater availability and flexibility in Federal and State funding programs which support greater public investments in alternative modes of transportation besides roads and highways for motor vehicles.
    • Continued growth in the area’s economy resulting in part from the identification of Tompkins County as an area providing a high quality of life.
    • An interest by many residents to have a less "car-dependent" lifestyle. The success of the transit system is more likely because of this core constituency. The benefits of this lifestyle must be promoted and supported by an efficient and affordable transit system that will meet the needs of residents and visitors and allow them to not have to use their cars for all of their travel.
    • The limited geographic size of the area, with its concentrated number of destinations and their proximity to residential neighborhoods, means that a comprehensive community-based transit system is more likely to be successful.

    The communities in the NESTS area can proceed now to take advantage of these favorable conditions. The Transportation Plan provides a framework for change by identifying the most important actions necessary to enhance livability while maintaining adequate mobility and accessibility in the Northeast Subarea of Tompkins County.