Those who are concerned about traffic conditions in the Village Geneseo should pay close attention to the fate of a request by SUNY Geneseo to close the Mary Jemison bypass. The road which connects Rt. 63 to Rt. 20A by bisecting the campus is the source of pedestrian safety concerns at the college.
College officials requested that the state DOT, which owns the highway, consider closing it and the state has begun studying the proposal by measuring traffic on the route. This was officially confirmed last week when DOT Regional Traffic Engineer David Goehring came to the Livingston County Highway Board’s monthly meeting for his annual visit.
Goehring said the object of the traffic count is to determine how much of the traffic on the bypass is through traffic compared to local campus traffic. He said he expects the study to be completed by year end and that the DOT will also consult with affected local governments and seek public input before making a decision.
The proposal was met with some skepticism by Highway Safety officials who noted that it would put more pressure on the use of Court Street and other village streets such as Park, Main, North and Lima Road. Traffic on these streets are already raising concerns with the proposed Geneseo Town Center project which is currently under environmental review in the Town Planning Board. (See analysis of former DOT Regional Director Lewis Gurley published in the Preserving Geneseo column on June 8 and June 15 2006.)
College officials have reportedly rejected the idea of a pedestrian tunnel under the road, claiming that it would represent a safety hazard itself, especially for female students. This idea was also downplayed by Goehring who noted that pedestrians will generally take the path of least resistance and avoid a tunnel unless forced to take it by fencing off the road.
This story is based on reporting by Corrin Strong who serves as Geneseo representative and recording secretary on the Highway Safety Board. The proposal is also the subject of a front page story by reporter Howard Appell in this week’s issue of the Livingston County News.