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Le Roy residents weigh in on DOT plan to put Route 5 on a diet

Le Roy residents, business owners, community leaders and public safety officials packed into the Le Roy Town Hall Monday night to express their opposition to potentially reducing the number of lanes through the village. A proposed plan would make Main Street two lanes instead of four.

The public meeting was hosted by Le Roy Business Council and was attended by NYS Department of Transportation officials.

DOT Regional Traffic Engineer David Goehring said that Le Roy was targeted as an area that needs minor, preventative resurfacing. As part of the project, they looked at the roads and discussed with village leaders ways to make the village more pedestrian and parking friendly, concerns about speeding, as well as traffic issues at the corner of routes 5 and 19, Lake Street.

Using DOT jargon such as “calming traffic” (slowing down traffic) and “road dieting” (reducing the size of current roads) he cited research that shows how four-lane roads encourage speeding and quick lane changes, as well as being a tight squeeze for trucks and people parked on the street. 

“We looked at traffic volume and saw an opportunity for 'road dieting' when preventive maintenance to pavement on Route 5 is performed in July -- dieting the current four lanes in order to trim them down to two lanes,” Goehring said. “The volume of traffic that comes through Le Roy would allow a single lane of traffic in each direction to accommodate it.”

The plan reduces the four-lane traffic that runs from the railroad overpass eastward to Le Roy Country Club into wider, single lanes of traffic in both directions and a middle turning lane, along with modifications to increase the turning radius at the intersection of routes 5 and 19.

The proposed route would have a 14- to 16-foot-wide center lane throughout the village, with 10-foot-wide parking spaces on both sides of the street in the business district. Parked traffic would have an additional eight feet of space between them and vehicle traffic due to the installation of “bike lanes” in both directions.

“This tends to reduce speed and reduce rear-end accidents because left-hand turn traffic is not in a live lane. People exiting driveways only have to gauge one lane both ways and can turn into the center lane, which gives you a refuge spot to get in and out of your driveway,” DOT Civil Engineer Brad Walike said.

Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers and Town Supervisor Stephen Barbeau both said their constituents would prefer downtown parking be the focus of the changes, not the roadways.

“In an ideal situation, we’d like to see reverse diagonal parking and keep the existing highways the same,” Rogers said. “I don’t know if we have the right to request this, but that’s our feeling.”

Reverse diagonal parking allows traffic to back into slots instead of pulling in.

Emergency responders warned that they need the extra space to maneuver through downtown.

“When we respond on Route 5 going east, traffic has a place to get out of the way. There would hardly be enough room for our trucks to get down Main Street under the proposed new plan,”  Le Roy Fire District Chief Tom Wood said. “We think you need to take a closer look at the west side, near the underpass.”

Le Roy resident John Duysson, a deputy whose job with the Sheriff's Office includes accident reconstruction, said he understood the plan, but disagreed with some of it. Besides improving traffic at the intersection of routes 5 and 19, he said he believes it will only increase traffic congestion.

“You’re dead on about routes 5 and 19, but on the rest, you’re nuts,” Duysson said. “I disagree with the proposal all the way through.”

Le Roy Historical Society Director Lynne Belluscio said the traffic pattern along Route 5 in Batavia keeps her from going downtown and she’s afraid people will feel the same way about coming into the village.

“I’m concerned people will feel it’s easier just to go around Le Roy,” Belluscio said.

Goehring said the projects in Batavia and East Bethany weren’t the best comparisons to the proposed Le Roy plan, which he equated more to the traffic plan implemented in Avon along Route 5.

NYSDOT officials will consider the community input and meet with local officials with a revised plan early next year.

John Woodworth JR
Wooddawg914's picture
Joined: May 28 2009

Really "calming traffic" and "road diet"? Sounds like someone in the NYS DOT, is trying to justify their job. How about using the same philosophy in Batavia? Could you imagine if, Batavia had only two lanes through downtown? So, speeding traffic and left hand turns are why we need to reduce lanes. If anything we should add a left turn lane. Look at Niagara Falls Boulevard they add a medium lane to avoid people stopping in a live lane. Speeding is no more an issue than slow drivers who travel 10-or more mph under the speed limit. Not everyone speeds and not everyone drives slowly but, people should be allowed to get around those who impeded traffic as well. How about deliveries such as the UPS and FedEx who stop in the right lane to drop off packages? How one would be expected to get around without crossing a double yellow or solid yellow line? Is not that, unsafe like speeding? Bike lanes are a waste of time and space. I have travel up and down route 5 and rarely see bicyclist. Back in the day we did not have issues riding our bikes from Stafford to LeRoy or Stafford to Batavia. You know why, wider shoulders.

Today I was traveling through Elba and was slowed down by an elderly couple who was doing 40 mph in a 55 mph zone. Yes it is winter but, the roads were clear and did not warrant that slow of travel. That brings another issue. There are those who travel too fast and too slow during inclement weather. Some drivers are more experience than others and some drivers are overly cautious. I see almost on daily bases road rage drivers who are impatient when impeded by other drivers. This is dangerous in more ways than one. People become erratic, less aware of their surroundings and less cautious. Now take away their ability to get around traffic and you just add more fuel to the fire. As John mentions traffic congestion is another factor to weigh on. Let’s face one fact we all know, NYS has a history of screwing us.

william tapp
bill14054's picture
Joined: May 9 2008

leave it to the state to screw every thing up just ellicott st i cant eave go that way any more, its to slow

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