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Dart Drive

Village of Lansing Trustees were asked to consider traffic remedies for NY State Route 13, and Dart Drive, which parallels the state route and is often used as a short cut from Warren Road to the mall.  County Legislator Deborah Dawson asked the board to support a traffic study of the state route, and Planning Board member and Dart Drive resident Monica Moll requested better pedestrian protection on her street.

"I've lived on Dart Drive for 12 year," Moll said. "In the past five to seven years speeding on the road has come to a point where it is quite unsafe to walk.  We have people that walk on the road daily.  I walk my son to the pre-school on the corner.  It's become quite a problem.  Several people have come to planning board meetings to complain.  Several people have tried calling the Sheriff's office.  So it's an ongoing public safety issue."

Moll said she knocked on every door on her street, and that everyone who answered the door signed a petition, which she presented to the trustees.  She said there was unanimous agreement that more needs to be done.  She said that over the past dozen years the neighborhood has morphed from retirees to families with small children, and noted that of two automobile accidents in her own front yard, one was serious enough to require an ambulance.

Recently the shoulders were widened, which she said has helped somewhat, but argued that sidewalks and/or speed humps would provide better pedestrian protection.  About 50 people signed the petition.

A new issue is pedestrian traffic coming from the new pathway that leads from Dart Drive to the new Marian Hartill Park on Northwoods Drive.  Mayor Donald Hartill said that a plan to install a pedestrian crosswalk with signage where the trail meets Dart Drive was not implemented this fall, but is still being considered.

Hartill noted that sidewalks add more maintenance than simply widening shoulders, because they are raised so that snow plow blades can't plow them.  He said that currently two large Village trucks plow the streets, while cul-de-sacs and sidewalks are plowed by a small tractor.  But he added that there are now so many sidewalks in the Village that the Department of Public Works is contemplating purchasing a "much faster tractor" to plow sidewalks.

Dawson said that the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council is asking the Village of Lansing and Town of Dryden governments for resolutions or letters of support for an RFP (Request For Proposals) for measures that can be taken on the stretch of Route 13 between Warren Road in Lansing and the Village of Dryden.

"The State is on board with this," Dawson said. "Dryden will probably provide a resolution of support.  Chairman Mike Lane is asking that the Village of Lansing provide a resolution or a letter of support, and also have someone sit in on a couple of meetings to act as a steering committee as we formulate this RFP."

Village officials said there have been many accidents along this stretch of Route 13, including a recent serious accident in which a car was broadsided, causing the driver to be airlifted to the hospital.

According to the New York State Department of transportation statistics, the Village of Lansing has the second highest rate of crashes per mile (CPM) of any municipality in Tompkins County (the City of Ithaca had the highest).  In 2010 the Village had 1.5 crashes per mile, and a total of 34 accidents with 48 people injured or killed.  That exceeded the state average of 1.2 CPM, and far exceeded the Tompkins County average of 0.5 CPM.

Moll said that walking on Dart Drive has become less safe over the years, as more drivers speed along the straight road to avoid driving on Route 13.  She noted that her street had inordinate traffic on Black Friday, as people used Dart Drive as a shortcut to avoid the traffic lights on their way to the mall.  She said speed humps would discourage people from using Dart Drive as a shortcut.

Hartill said the Trustees would be willing to vote on a resolution in support of the County RFP, and told Moll that he would talk to  Superintendent of Public Works John Courtney to see whether it would make sense to install a separated sidewalk.

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