The Town of Bethlehem plans to hold a public meeting for residents of Haswell Farms and the Enclave after receiving new information from the consultants hired to monitor traffic in the area.
Planning Director Rob Leslie first spoke about the issue at an October Town Board meeting, following complaints from residents over the summer who were concerned about speeding in the area. Officials eventually decided to implement a traffic calming initiative to help rectify the situation.
“With regards to speed, the (consultants) concluded that the residents’ observations that speeding is an issue were confirmed,” said Leslie.
Over the summer, a traffic officer was sent down to the location, along with a speed trailer. The police officer at that time agreed there was a traffic problem in the area of Hasgate and Forsten Drives. Police Chief Louis Corsi also said officers had been to the area a lot over the past year.
Leslie, who is also the town representative on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, detailed a 10-month plan to implement and review solutions to the problem. The first step was to have a meeting with neighborhood representatives from the Enclave and Haswell Farms.
One of the major traffic problems for the area is the two neighborhoods have only one exit road. Leslie said more roads are planned, but development needs to continue. He said the planning board would never approve developments with only one access road because it could create a problem for emergency vehicles, but building out took longer then expected.
The town then contracted consultants to install Automatic Traffic Recorders to collect data on vehicle volume and speed. The data was collected from Nov. 4 through Nov. 13 at four points along Hasgate Drive, Forsten Drive and Harvest Ridge Road. Many were found to be speeding on Hasgate Drive between Barrington and Reynolds Court, with the highest speeds of 38 mph northbound and 36 mph southbound. The posted speed is 30 mph.
“Overall, the prevailing speeds are higher than would be expected or desirable for the width and residential character of these roadways,” said the report.
Residents were concerned about the safety of their children playing outside. At the previous meeting, some had said drivers would pass other vehicles by driving onto people’s lawns, while others said school buses had been passed and mailboxes hit.
The study found that the volume of traffic is “consistent with the levels that would be anticipated with the size of these neighborhoods and with the local street function.” This means it is unlikely other vehicles are cutting through the neighborhood, and the majority of issues is likely being caused by neighborhood residents.
The town will now be having an additional meeting for residents on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Town Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. The hope is those in the neighborhood will work together to identify further traffic calming improvements.