Traffic patterns around Shenendehowa studied

MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Shenendehowa Central Schools entrance on Route 146 in Clifton Park.MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Shenendehowa Central Schools entrance on Route 146 in Clifton Park.

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — The Shenendehowa  Central School District recently released the results of a traffic impact study that suggested solutions to dealing with some trouble spots around campus.

Late last year, after multiple conversations regarding traffic flow around and near the Shen campus, the district commissioned a traffic impact study to pinpoint exactly where there were issues with vehicles around campus, and possible solutions to either rectify those issues, or manage them. The study analyzed traffic flow on the campus itself, as well as intersecting campus roads, such as Moe Road and Route 146.

There were three main components to the study: the process of identifying existing traffic conditions on campus, the development of an assessment of traffic conditions at campus access points to local roads, and and an analysis of possible future traffic along with possible ways to mediate the issues.

Using traffic analysis software, data was collected on Sept. 21, 2016, from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Peak traffic hours on campus and the surrounding road networks were determined to between 7 and 8 a.m. and 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Using the data, level of service scores based on traffic delays in seconds were given to the areas that were analyzed, which included the entrance at Route 146 and School Drive, the entrance at Moe Road and School Drive, and student parking lots at High School East.

The campus entrance at Route 146 was determined to be the most problematic spot, earning a grade of “poor” both during morning peak traffic times and afternoon peak traffic times, with almost a minute of delay both ways. The Moe Road entrance earned a rating of “very good” with approximately 10 second delays during the morning peak time, and an 8- second delay during the afternoon. The parking areas of High School East ranked high on the scale as well, with about a 15-second delay in the morning and a 5-second delay in the afternoon.

Suggested actions that the district might take to smooth over the Route 146 campus access point included moving School Drive further south away from Route 146, giving drivers more time to see oncoming cars, as well as lengthening the turning lanes at the access point. Another suggestion was to increase the space provided to vehicles at the intersection of School Drive and Route 146 to allow more right turns, which could theoretically decrease the queue of cars that builds up at the intersection at peak times.

At the board meeting on April 25, district superintendent Oliver Robinson said that it will come down to the board, depending both on funding available and nature of one issue versus another, to decide what steps to take in beginning to improve traffic issues around the campus.

The board is waiting to find out whether or not they will receive a grant from the New York State Department of Transportation to help pay for the initiatives.

“The idea would be, if we had appropriate funding, to do all of them,” he said. He added that, should the DOT grant materialize, most of the issues could be fixed in a more timely manner.