DOT looking at closing Mary Jemison bypass

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.

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2 responses to “DOT looking at closing Mary Jemison bypass

  1. Sarcastic Sam

    In the Livingston County News article, college officials voiced concerns of the likelihood of more student and vehicle accidents on the Mary Jemison Pkwy. If this is the criteria for closing roads, then Main Street should be closed as well (remember when a police officer’s car collided with a pedestrian student?)

    While they’re at it,the DOT should consider closing Court St, where the traffic is also heavy with vehicles and student predestrians. Besides, once you get to the top of Court St, you can’t go any further anyway, so closing it probably wouldn’t bother anyone.

    Can you imagine how much traffic would be alleviated if Court Street and Main Street were closed? Add on the closure of Mary Jemison Pkwy and all the traffic could be routed to Mt. Morris where they need it more than Geneseo.

    Perhaps the state could also consider making all of the local state routes (20A, 63, 39)into one way streets, going out of town only!

  2. I grew up in this area, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the road was there first. My father helped to contruct the buildings that went up on the other side of the road.

    If safety for the students is the major concern here, then why don’t the college have courses teaching the students how to safely cross the street by LOOKING both ways before stepping off the curb, no matter what street they are on.

    The safety issue here lies in the ignorance of the students. They have the belief that the pedistrian has the right of way and they think they can just step right in front of moving traffic no matter what. They do not take into consideration where a vehicle is before they step off the curb. They never hesitate and look for approaching cars, they just walk out in front of cars doing 30 MPH and assume they will be able to stop in time.

    And lets consider the increased traffic on Court street now. The road is not very well lit and it is hard enough to see the students when they come running out of the bar or one of the houses to cross the road without looking. When was the last time the college officials and the DOT considered the safety of the students drinking?

    Why is it that there are numerous crosswalks provided for the students to use, and I can get ticketed for not stopping at the crosswalk, however we never see anyone get ticketed for jaywalking? (for those who don’t know, jaywalking is crossing the street while not in a crosswalk)

    Each year the students get worse, they are there to learn but it just seems they get dumber and less responsible for their own actions. Whatever happened to jsut plain old common sense?

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