Hanover Planning Board considers Routes 5/20 makeover, complete streets

HANOVER – Ideas to make the Route 5 and 20 business corridor more accessible for all users were presented to the Hanover Planning Board recently.

Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller, healthy communities consultant for the county Health Department, attended the planning board meeting to share some engineering ideas on how the street could be made more complete. She stressed these are only ideas and that the town would have to decide what makes the most sense.

She showed the board a picture of the intersection of Route 5 and 20 and Alleghany Road, which leads into Sunset Bay. The intersection currently has a push button for pedestrians to cross the street, but does not have crosswalks, sidewalks or bike lanes.

The engineer’s drawing included sidewalks on both sides, four crosswalks in the intersection, a bike lane and a raised median.

Board member Peter Gibson said he does not think there is enough room for everything in the drawing.

“The only thing I don’t think works is the raised median with the trees. If you keep four lanes I don’t think there is enough room with the restaurant being so close to the road. I like the bike path and sidewalk, I do think there is room for those,” he said.

Board member Ron Brennan agreed about the sidewalks, saying he sees many pedestrians using the shoulder of the road.

“There should be a sidewalk all the way down, even though it might cut into some of the businesses’ parking. In the summer many people walk that road,” he added.

Chairwoman Carol DePasquale brought up that many municipalities require businesses to install a sidewalks. Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Gould said he would like to see driveways between businesses to alleviate some traffic from Routes 5 and 20.

Schmidtfrerick-Miller said these suggestions are complete streets ideas to keep in mind while updating the town’s comprehensive plan. She asked if the board wanted to consider a complete streets policy.

She noted not all streets need to be “complete” depending on if the road is rural and not likely to be used by pedestrians or bike traffic. She also noted complete streets policies give municipalities flexibility in the case of restrictive right of ways and topography and what make sense.

DePasquale asked if the policy needs to be in the comprehensive plan. Schmidtfrerick-Miller said it can be independent and supplied the board with copies of the city of Jamestown’s and village of Silver Creek’s policies.

She also noted there is $50 million in Transportation Alternatives Project funding available through the state Department of Transportation and complete streets workshops are coming up.

The board will meet March 17 at 7 p.m. in the town hall. There will be a public hearing on a proposed subdivision on King Street at 7:30 p.m.