May 30, 2007
Planning Board Minutes Committee Meeting
Oswego Town Hall
Chair: Jeffrey Boyer
Town Board Members: Judy Sabin-Watson, Francis Dellamano,
Lee Phillips, Barry Pritchard, James Finn
Attorney To The Board: Stephen Greene, Jr.
At approximately 7:00 PM, Fran Dellamano called the Committee Meeting to order.
Attendance of Committee Members:
Lee Phillips stated the Committee Meeting tonight is specifically for traffic.
Fran asked about Tim Faulkner's background. He asked if he went to classes regarding traffic consulting. Tim said he went to Clarkson University. They have three or four classes on traffic engineering. Lee said we are on the right subject, and United Group brought the right guy. Tim said he is here to listen to the concerns, and then write up a report
Jeff Smetana said that Clough Harbour is one of the largest engineering firms on the East Coast, maybe in the country. They have used their Albany Office quite a bit over the years. Jeff wanted to make sure we had someone we would feel comfortable with. Jeff said the main thing tonight is to listen to the concerns, and Tim will send on a report. Jeff said we have heard several times that we have selected this site, as we felt it had a minimal impact on the surrounding community. Jeff then pointed to all the drawings and maps showing various areas regarding traffic patterns, parking areas, bus routes, bicycle traffic, and where the classes are held at the college. Fran said we have no problem with the Site Plan - we are here for the traffic problems. Fran asked where the easement would come out on 104, and Jeff said where the traffic light is, and again pointed it out on the plan. Fran asked Jeff to show him on the map where the college holds their classes, and Jeff also pointed them out. There are commuter lots - one on 104, and then the one behind Laker Hall; and also one at the Newman Center - so this is where they would go - the purple line. The red line is the bus route.
Greg Herrmann said he took some measurements from the housing to Baylis Street, and to the campus is a mile. He said they aren't going to walk a mile when a bus will be provided for them.
(At this point, all the participants walked over to the maps and drawings and double checked where the roads, walkways, commuter lots, and classes are- everyone talking at once).
Do kids have to get a parking ticket in order to park in those commuter parking lots? Greg Herrmann explained that the students must go to the building where Lincoln Bank used to be and pick up a parking permit ticket. It is strictly enforced. There are residence tickets for those who live on campus; commuter tickets for those who drive to campus; they are different colored tickets. Jeff said he is certain there are other lots that are for employees. Lee Phillips asked how they work the parking lots - is it by distance, or first come, first serve? Jeff said - first come, first serve. Fran asked how much the parking tickets are, and Greg said $120 a year.
Lee asked what the college is doing with that gravel parking lot. Greg said that is just a plain gravel parking lot. It is an extension they did, and they haven't black topped it. Lee said where they park along the lake is residential too, and Greg said it was. The big commuter lots are Romney, and the other by the Power Plant. Fran asked Greg if he sees many kids walking, and he said no. Lee asked Jeff if he had contacted the bus company, and Jeff said he did. Jeff explained the bus company is paid now by the student association, as they are an independent bus company. United Group said they would pay the bus company to expand their service to come into their site, and they designed it so there would be a turnaround. The bus company is willing to do it, if the student association, who pays them, will allow them to do it. Jeff explained the bus schedule which would be from 7:30 to 4:30 every 10 or 15 minutes, and from 4:30 to 11:30 every 30 minutes. Lee said when the school year begins, starting in September and going through the winter, you are not going to see more waiting for the bus. Jeff said they also have the little bus huts to go into while waiting for the bus to protect them from the weather.
Jeff also said the majority of the classes are from 10:00 until 2:00. Most residents drive from 7:00 to 9:00 in the morning commuting to work, there will not be as much traffic. Lee says he sees a lot of students driving from the city to the college, and obviously park somewhere. Jeff said they come into the commuter lots. The student association bus takes them to the city, and all the way to the east end to the shopping centers, etc. Lee said there are a lot of students going up Washington Blvd. from the city. He said he's gone to Raby's a few times, and he has seen the kids driving back and forth through there. Fran said the houses are really close to the road. They don't have much front yard. There isn't even room for a sidewalk at some places. Jeff said at some of the intersections we could designate them as "No Through Traffic". We could have the Sheriff come in and police it. If they get a ticket going down one of those streets, they would pull their parking permit, and they won't have a car. Lee said they won't leave their car in the parking lot all the time. They will be driving downtown. If they come out 104 toward the apartments, they have to cross where it goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. It is still going to be a problem, no matter how they do it. Lee said maybe we had better get an idea of just what the traffic study will do.
Tim Faulkner said he is here to listen to what the concerns are, and then do the traffic study. We would look at a couple of main intersections in the area. You are worried about reducing the capacity of the roadway, and creating severe congestion, which is an issue. We will look at what the existing conditions are at some of the neighboring intersections, and see how much traffic would be generated by this use. When we don't look at schools, we look at the 7:00 to 9:00 periods, and the 4:00 to 6:00 periods, as they are the main commuter periods. When we talk about schools, sometimes we stretch that a little because the school peak fall outside the commuter peak. We have 3 or 4 separate peaks. What we do is take a look at some of the nearby intersections and project how much traffic will be generated by the apartment complex - add that to the traffic that is already on the existing roadways, or can come up with an estimate of what the traffic is going to be like in the future. And then do the analysis to see how it will operate in the future, as to how they operate today.
Lee said you are talking about future - The first building will have 306 parking spaces. Are we talking about both these buildings together, which will be 522? That certainly would be in the future. Tim said under this type of development, we look at two different futures. This is going to be built in two phases. So the first future phase would be the day of opening of Phase I, the one with the 306 parking spaces. Then we look at Phase II, that would be additional traffic caused by those additional buildings that are being constructed. You add that onto the past future. Say Phase I will open in 2008. Let's say Phase II will open in 2010.
Jeff said what they would like to do is build a relationship with Phase I, where everyone is happy with it. What we want to do in terms of the SEQRA and the Site Plan, but we still have to come to you for a Building Permit, and what not for Phase II. If things aren't going well, and we are not doing what we said we were going to do, we will have a pretty hard time building Phase II. We want to make a positive contribution to the community, which I hope is what happens, then I think you folks should be very open with us.
Lee again brought up the issue of where the 4 lanes come into two. He indicated there is only room for one car if someone wants to turn. He is afraid there will be bottlenecks right there. Jeff said that is something they will certainly look at. If there is a concern about safety there, we would certainly talk with the State and we could obtain records for that intersection to see if there have been any amount of accidents there. We could use the median as part of the left turn lane. Lee asked how the State is receptive to something like that. Jeff said he is sure the State would comply if it was making it safer for people. Fran said so far, he doesn't think there have been many accidents there. Greg Herrmann and the Fire Department go to all accident scenes, and he said they don't go there frequently at all.
Tim Faulkner said he has a very good relationship with Region 3 DOT. He said he would talk with Mark Frechette, their Regional Program Planning Manager. He said he would also talk to their Systems Operations which is their nuts and bolts traffic engineering safety people; Mark Granier is one person.
Tim Faulkner said they have, it is almost one of their bibles - it is called a Trip Generation Manual and it has 200 to 300 references pertaining to apartment complexes - it will give an estimate of the amount of traffic that will be generated per unit. That is based on studies that have been done across the country. It is also done for shopping centers, fast food restaurants, etc.
Fran said another thing he would like them to look at, is that there are no sidewalks on Johnson Road, and with anybody walking, that would be pretty dangerous. They travel pretty fast down that road. Tim said it depends on what side of the campus they are going on. (Again, they all looked at maps and drawings and had some discussion). Greg said if they did add a sidewalk, maybe that would encourage the kids to walk.
Lee said there will probably be more joggers than walkers. Jeff said they are going to give the students bicycle storage, because bicycles may be popular. Fran said when it is snowing, they will take the bus. But when it's not snowing, and the bicycle path they pointed out, he thinks it will work out good. Lee said a little over a month ago, his brother got in a wreck at a college, with kids coming out of the parking lot, and hit him right in the side. There were a number of kids in the car. They weren't paying attention to what was going on. He said that age is a dangerous age.
Fran asked if the college is going to expand. Jeff's understanding is they grew about 10% over the last 8 years. They went from 6,000 to 6,600 - these are full time under grads. His understanding is they really don't want to grow larger, they want to grow more competitive. The colleges are in regions, and Oswego is in the Central Region. And this region they expect to grow through 2013 by about 5%.
Lee asked about what students are required to live on campus, and Jeff said Freshman and Sophomores. Lee asked Jeff about their complex, and he said Juniors, Seniors and Grad students. Jeff was also asked how many beds were on campus, and were told 3,500 bed.
Lee wondered when we could expect the study, as we have a meeting on June 12th, and the next meeting, we will have to make the decision, which will be July 16th. Jeff said he would submit it by June 8th to they will have it to review over the weekend.
Fran stated that a lot of the issues have been cleared up with him. That is why we wanted to meet ahead of time.
Lee is still concerned with the traffic - not on campus, but people going back and forth downtown. Jeff said there is a history of events that come to Laker Hall, where a lot of people gather. Lee said they often have the police standing on the corner directing traffic. Greg said the only time the police direct traffic is graduations and major events.
Fran asked Tim if he would include all three in the traffic study - vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle, and Tim said yes. Fran said if they want to get approval, we have to make it all positive. He said we have had a good discussion, and we have some input on some of our concerns.
The Committee Meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:05 PM.
Planning Board Secretary.