Getting ahead of a likely sharp rise in traffic in the area, the City of Ithaca has plans in the works to revise the intersection of Mitchell Street and East State Street. A public information session is being held at the second floor conference room at City Hall this Tuesday afternoon, January 15th, from 5-6pm, to discuss planned changes.
Planned changes at the intersection of East State Street and Mitchell Street. Photo courtesy of Svante Myrick.The intersection, where New York State Routes 79 and 366 merge, offers confusion and frustration for area drivers who have to wait for a break in traffic, or dodge visitors who don't obey the Stop and Yield signs. The situation is likely to worsen as developers complete more units at Collegetown Terrace, adding additional drivers and pedestrians to the mix.
Plans include a traffic signal at the intersection, and a dedicated left-turn lane for drivers coming up the hill from downtown and turning left onto Mitchell Street (Route 366). Adding the turn lane would necessitate widening the south side of East State Street (Route 79) by approximately ten feet, from Eddy Street east to the Mitchell Street intersection. City engineers say the final design will take pedestrian and cyclist needs into consideration.
Different versions of the plan would alternately leave the existing traffic island in the intersection in place, or remove it. At times, the traffic island has been covered with flowering plants, though volunteer gardeners have gotten carried away to the point of blocking drivers' view occasionally.
The City says written comments will be accepted until January 18th in care of Tim Logue, City Transportation Engineer, at 108 East Green Street, Ithaca, New York 14850, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board of Public Works will approve a final design later this month or in early February, with construction to begin later this year.