QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – You would be hard-pressed to find many differing opinions on what the busiest road in Queensbury is, with two strong candidates intersecting each other. One, Route 9, runs north to south, connecting the town to Lake George and Glens Falls. The other, running east to west, connects schools, businesses, and as many parts of the greater community as its y-axis counterpart.
It’s that second one that the town is interested in. On Monday night, Queensbury heard the results of a traffic study looking at Aviation Road and Quaker Road, also known as Route 254. The busy road connects neighborhoods to Queensbury Union Free School District, the Aviation Mall, and many of the chain stores that populate south Queensbury.
Consultants from Barston & Loguidice and AKRF were hired to analyze congestion and traffic flow across just under four miles of road, starting from the school buildings and running as far east as where Queensbury roads bumper Glens Falls and Hudson Falls. Their study, presented Monday night, has analyzed traffic signals and crosswalk placements at three central congestion areas along the road – and made recommendations for a more flexible future.
The study presented is officially known as an Adaptive Signal Control Technologies Feasibility Study. Its goal is not only to identify places where traffic signal infrastructure isn’t doing enough for vehicle flow, but to suggest better ways using newer, adaptive traffic technologies.
The study analyzes three specific “signal clusters.” The first follows Aviation Road for a mile, from Queensbury Union Free School District, past Northway Exit 19, and down the mall-adjacent hill to the intersection with Glen Street – after which point Aviation Road becomes Quaker Road. The second runs for a mile and a half from Quaker’s intersection with Lafayette Street to where it meets Ridge Road, encompassing some of the main arteries leading into Glens Falls. The third and final cluster runs under a mile, following Quaker Road through its intersection with Dix Avenue, and eventually to a terminus at Lower Warren Street.
Aviation road expands to four lanes by the time it crosses the northway, and stays that way until past Ridge Street. Those first two signal clusters encompass seven and six traffic signals, respectively, with the third adding five more. The study found that many of those traffic signals aren’t well-optimized, with some lacking any kind of vehicle detection technology. That means more time spent at red lights, and more traffic held up going one way, regardless of whether anyone is headed in another. Some of those intersections lack crosswalks or walking signals in directions where pedestrians walk anyway.
So, what to do about the problematic road segments? The study recommends new, ADA-compliant curb ramps and pedestrian signals where needed, as well as new, high-visibility crosswalks. Where Aviation Road meets the mall’s lower entrance and Starbucks, for example, crosswalks would be added in front of both parking lots, and existing sidewalks would be given a safer barrier from traffic.
The other recommendation is to upgrade some traffic signals to ones that utilize Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) systems. These systems are designed to adjust the timing of red, yellow and green lights based on current traffic patterns, in order to lessen congestion. ASCT lights are used in many larger cities and other states, and ones used in Queensbury would be maintained by the state Department of Transportation.
Times in the above presentation vary by location, but the survey estimates improvements in travel time and reduced stop counts across points where adaptive signals would be put into use. Other signals would remain town-operated but would get coordination upgrades.
The report projects that drivers could see a collective 46,500 fewer hours spent on the corridor in a given year, across the three segments. That includes 27,800 fewer hours of delay, nine fewer crashes, 5,200 saved gallons of gas and 47 fewer tons of emissions.