Traffic plans need restart
by Randy Capitani
Dec 05, 2012 | 2623 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There had to be a sense of déjà vu for many who attended Monday evening’s meeting about traffic in Wilmington. This was certainly not the first time there had been meetings on the topic.

In fact, there has been much discussion over the traffic issues in Wilmington and the bottleneck intersection in the center of the village over the past 40 years. There have been so many meetings that they are too numerous to recount. Any perusal of back issues here at The Deerfield Valley News office shows meetings discussing bypasses, interstate highways, traffic congestion, and assorted other issues back into the late 1960s.

During that time there have been a number of proposed solutions to solving the traffic issues in Wilmington village, from turning lanes and a wider bridge to bypasses north and south of the village to moving the entire village itself. For a variety of reasons none of those proposals have come to fruition.

Given that many at Monday’s meeting said traffic at the four corners, and in particular traffic backups, is a relatively mild inconvenience, perhaps it is time to leave well enough alone and let drivers fend for themselves. That could certainly be inferred by what many said Monday.

That would be a mistake, and not because the traffic through the village is so unbearable that we can’t stand another week of it.

No, it really boils down to a matter of long-term vision. We need to ask ourselves as a community what we want the village to look like in 20 years. Do we still want tractor-trailers rolling through town at all hours? Or do we want a village center that is pedestrian friendly, an attractive place for merchants to set up shop and residents and visitors to mingle and gather.

That long-term vision concept never really came up at Monday’s meeting, and that’s a shame. Most of the discussion centered on short-term fixes, like more crosswalks and changes in the traffic light timing. Those are all well and good, and deserve to be implemented.

But the big picture about how we want the village to develop and improve over the next generation wasn’t really talked about. It should be, and now is the perfect time to begin that discussion.

We as a community have to decide what it is we want for the village and then pursue it. In essence a decision has been made in a “de facto” way, which has been to do nothing.

Doing nothing, or very little, may have been all well and good up to now, but it seems shortsighted to let yet another decade slip by without developing some sort of plan for the village center and the accompanying traffic, either through or around it. The last thing anyone wants is to have another meeting 20 years from now rehashing the same topics that have been studied, surveyed, and talked about for the past forty years.

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M Gilberg
December 06, 2012
While there are a number of long term solutions to the traffic problems going through the Rt 9/100 intersection at the Wilmington Town Hall, there seems to me to be a basic solution which might bring short term results and address both the issue of tractor trailers roaring to and from Albany through Town on the Molly Stark Trail, a daily event, or seasonal back ups at the light during foliage, ski season or special events. That solution is proper use of the Town's able Police Department and its patrol officers.

For example, I remember years ago during seasonal periods of heavy traffic a police office manned the Rt 9/100 moving traffic through it. Over the years during ski season, the uniformed officer was replaced by a Mount Snow employee and the uniformed officer went with his patrol car and hid in the woods to give out traffic tickets. Eventually, neither Mount Snow, the Police Department or the Selectboard felt any interest to direct resources toward the resolution of the problem. Since the issue is taking place in OUR Town isn't it the responsibility of Town government to address the situation either using existing resources or expanding them with Town funds?

With respect to trucks, I'm sure that everyone wants our highways safe and that trucks using them be properly equipped, in proper condition with a driver who has complied with all safety rules and operational limitations. Can the Town police address these concerns by establishing random truck inspections to enforce these requirements either alone or with the State's cooperation. True a number of truck drivers might be subjected to the delay attendant to the delays resulting from these random administrative inspection, and possibly one or more drivers might get ticketed for violations, but our Town would be safer in the long run.

So maybe we should consider simple solutions while we spend years trying to solved the complex

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