To the Editor,
Proposal 8.B.1. as described under the Kenwood Avenue Potential Solutions Matrix is not captured correctly. I know this because I proposed it. And though I’m no civil engineer, that is the reason I had wished for the community to debate its merits before it was brushed away.
Converting a portion of Kenwood into a “one-way” street included the stretch of road between Adams Place and Elsmere Avenue, not Delaware Avenue. Kenwood was not designed as a modern-day thoroughfare. Though it spans from Glenmont to Slingerlands, the neighborhoods surrounding it were erected when the width of the motor vehicle was a foot smaller. We witnessed this as an unassuming pedestrian was struck while walking on the sidewalk by a pick-up truck’s side mirror. The roadway is too narrow and neighboring homes have little more room to give for expansion. So why not take away from motorists?
CHA Consulting dismissed the idea because it thought it “increases traffic on Elsmere and Delaware, [and is an] inconvenience to residents and businesses along a one-way stretch.” It also stated that the proposal “reroutes busses and would impact emergency services.”
The consulting firm is also connected with the renewed look at calming Delaware Avenue.
Delaware Avenue is a roadway designed specifically to be a modern-day thoroughfare. And, despite its initial construction over 50 years ago, an engineering firm recently said it was under-utilized today. As it runs through our town’s business district, from the Four Corners to Albany, I doubt any business owner will object to increased traffic. As for Elsmere Avenue, it has adequate sidewalks between Delaware and the By-Pass – another modern-day thoroughfare to which more bold changes would divert traffic back towards.
Unlike the Delaware Avenue Road Diet, we are sharing ideas that impact an established residential roadway that is soon to see more traffic with additional housing. Traffic circles, no matter how petite, don’t belong in a residential area. However, I’d be more welcome to see crosswalk signals, raised crosswalks and a reduction to the state minimum speed limit of 25. This should dissuade motorists from Kenwood and encourage them to use Delaware Avenue and the By-Pass – as they were intended.
There’s also the opportunity to add a bike lane between St. Thomas, by Bethlehem Central Middle School, and to the Kenwood/Elsmere Avenue intersection that safely leads to the Albany County Rail Trail. Anyone who travels along this road as school lets in and out can confirm how dreadful motor vehicle traffic is at these times. This could add to much-needed safety for our school children.
As for my idea’s impact on emergency responders, I yield to them. This was concocted based on my layman’s observations: That Elsmere Fire Company uses Herber Avenue and Adams Place, not Kenwood, while responding to calls in Delmar proper. That Delmar-Bethlehem EMS, housed west of Four Corners, travels west to east on this section. Bethlehem Police, too, predominately travels west to east, too.
That was the conversation I hoped to have.