DELMAR — The Bethlehem Town Board won’t be reintroducing the Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Referendum when it meets again on Wednesday, July 14. It will, however, discuss the roadway’s speed limit.
Much has been discussed over safety concerns regarding the four-lane roadway that runs just more than a mile into Elsmere from the Albany City Line. That same stretch of road has been the subject between two parties arguing over a Complete Streets project that would reduce the lanes from four to two or three traffic lanes, depending upon what design is decided.
The merits of the road diet have been debated through several meetings. The question on whether to reduce Delaware Avenue’s speed limit from 45 mph has not asked as often, which prompted Town Board Member Jim Foster to ask that it be added to the night’s agenda.
“Any decent person wants safer roads for our pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, alike,” said Foster on June 23. “That should be just a given we can all agree to.”
Foster proposed reducing the speed limit on Delaware Avenue from the city line to Elsmere Avenue limit last month before resorting to a road diet. He made the suggestion at the board’s last meeting on June 23 following a similar plea two weeks before. VanLuven rebuffed the comment at the June 9 meeting. The supervisor said reducing speed is already included in the road diet plan, but he added that speed limits alone won’t change driver behavior.
“Personally, my goal is not just lowering the speed limit, it’s lowering the speeds,” VanLuven said, arguing that changing speed limits don’t necessarily change driver behavior. “Changing the signs, that’s nifty. … That’s why I personally believe we have to have a more comprehensive approach to safety rather than an overly simplistic approach; which, time and time again, has been demonstrated across the state — and the DOT backs us up — doesn’t work.”
The plan described in the Crieghton Manning report suggests reducing the speed limit, along with additional crosswalks, relocated bus stops, a gateway feature, raised pedestrian refuge islands and potential rectangular rapid flashing beacons.
Robert Leslie, the town’s director of economic development and planning, is expected to attend and assist with the presentation.