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The DOT: Roundabouts and Two Lanes On Route 36 Discussed

July 27, 2022

HORNELL, NY – Hornell High School’s auditorium was about three quarters filled last night, for the Department of Transportion’s public hearing regarding what the DOT described as possible changes to Route 36 from Hornell to Arkport.a>

Here are some of the questions that were asked:
(some of the answers were taken from today’s Newsmaker Show)

Hornell resident Angelo Scotti asked “will Alstom be able to transport transit cars through roundabouts?” DOT engineer Mike Griffin stated that there would be a meeting coming up soon, with officials from Alstom and the DOT.

Another Hornell resident asked, quote – “you’re going to turn part of a four lane highway into a two lane highway and you’re going to add roundabouts?” DOT Engineer Griffin stated that that was being discussed as a possibility.

Then there was a question about the intersection at Routes 66 and 36 and a possible roundabout there and a right of way. Answer: the DOT is looking at every intersection as a possiblity for a roundabout.

There was a question from a person named Diane, who said there is a lot of traffic coming out of Arkport and it’s not just Alstom, is the DOT only concerned about Alstom? DOT Engineer Mike Griffin explained that Alstom was the biggest consideration, though wind companies were also important, and because of the wind company truck traffic into places like Greenwood, the DOT, Griffin said, was very familiar with what is entailed with delivering wind turbine parts.

Diane also asked about the pedestrian crossings on the Route 36 corridor and has the DOT looked at the ability of building up the pedestrian bridges for pedestrian safety? Griffin says that is an option but it has to be convenient for the public.

One person said, “you have been looking at the intersection of Webbs Crossing Road, and have you looked at the 86-East ramp and there is yield there going on to route 36 and no one yields…are you looking at other ramps and exits? Answer: Yes, every intersection and ramp area are being looked at.

One man asked, “does the DOT have data, on whether two lanes are safer than four lanes?” Also, one Hornell man, asked what the DOT data showed about reducing the four lane into two lane traffic? Answer: yes there is data, and there are several options for a two lane Route 36.

Canaseraga School Superintendent Chad Groff asked if the roundabout will be designed with buses and tractor trailers in mind? DOT Engineer Griffin said the answer was yes.

North Hornell resident Elise McCollumn had several questions, one, has the DOT thought about or talked about, building something the size of a roundabout that might keep the flow of traffic going? Answer: it’s designed to be safe and for safety.
Elise McCollumn’s second point was that Seneca Road has a tremendous amount of traffic already, and that people will, if there are roundabouts, use Seneca road even more. Answer: the local residents will use the roads they want to use, that’s a subjective decision, there are many opinions that drivers have, and the roundabout will not negatively affect travel time on Route 36.

Elise McCollumn’s third point, was about the bus garage, and Elise said, why don’t we discuss a pathway from the bus garage to Route 36? Answer: the DOT is working with the schools on these issues.

Max Wilson said, if 13,000 drivers are on 36, would it be a good thing to make 36 go from four lanes into two lanes? And Wilson said, how will things work on Maple City Drive with the right of ways there? Answer: traffic studies show that Hornell is a growing community and the DOT has taken that into consideration (that traffic will be increasing because of the local economy improvements).

There was also someone who said that a pedestrian bridge would help reduce traffic. Hornell insurance man Dave Palma was also in the audience, and he asked, which came first – wanting to build roundabouts or wanting to build a two lane highway? Answer: these are all options the DOT is looking at, the project is being evaluated as whole, not as indivudal (sections).

Hornell resdient Andy Smillinich asked, why are you trying to fix something that’s not broken? Answer: the purpose of the meeting was to get the public’s response, and to leave things as they are now would not be a good thing.

There were also questions about, building sidewalks and or bike and pedestrian trails on 36, instead of something like a roundabout. There was a comment, which was a complaint, about the traffic light at the industrial park road that was put up a while ago. A Thatcher Street Hornell resident says, they don’t like the idea of 18 wheelers coming up and down Thatcher street, and that person questioned the effect on safety for the people and raised the issue of the possibility of big vehicles knocking down trees. Another resident talked about Adsit Street in Hornell, and the effect of more traffic on Adsit Street – your thoughts on that? Answer: the DOT is working to get more tractor trailers out of the residential streets. One way of doing this, would be to open things up on Broadway near the police and fire stations.

One North Hornell woman, described herself as being 35 years old and a mother of young children, said quote – “when you put in that stupid red light at Arkport Cycles last year, everybody went on the Airport Road.” That North Hornell woman talked about how making a two lane road, would create a situation where more drivers go to Seneca Road, and stated thhat this would make things unsafe for her young children and also make things harder on the senior citizens driving on 36, having to drive through roundabouts. Answer: it’s not the DOT’s intent to make things less safe, the DOT wants to make things safer.

Another person talked about students walking to school and how it’s hard enough to get students to use crosswalks as it is…and what would pedestrian cross walks be like for students, was a point that was raised. One man had a question about maintaining the roads…what would the plans for maintaining the roads on 36? When would the work be done as time goes on? Another person had a question – where does the two lane traffic start and where does it end?

Mayor Buckley raised several issues, agreed with the DOT that there needed to be something done to prevent accidents, and thanked the DOT for coming and “taking the heat”.

Below Are Pix of the Presentation From Tuesday Night At Hornell High: