Windermere leaders mull traffic options

Town leaders heard recommendations on how to reduce the large amount of cut-through traffic in Windermere.

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  • | 6:20 p.m. January 31, 2019
  • Southwest Orange
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To set up road barriers or to remove stop signs – that’s the question the town’s residents and council need to answer after hearing from traffic engineering experts during the Jan. 22 workshop held in Town Hall.

The recent workshop started with a presentation by Mike Woodward from Kimley-Horn and Associates and was followed by a discussion and an open forum session. 

Woodward presented the results of a cut-through traffic study conducted in September 2018 and offered potential options aimed at reducing the town’s cut-through traffic on local roads.

According to the study, about 76% of the town’s traffic is cut-through traffic – traffic generated by vehicles that are passing through the town but are not stopping in town. 

“Seventy-six percent of traffic that’s coming into town or out of town is not staying in Windermere – they’re just passing through,” Woodward said. “That is a very high percentage. A whole lot of traffic that comes here isn’t stopping. They’re not from town; they’re just passing through because this is the most convenient way for them to get between work and home.”

Woodward added that an average of up to 13 vehicles per hour are vehicles that are cutting through the town and the local roads experiencing the most cut-through traffic are Oakdale Street, Second Avenue and Seventh Avenue.

To reduce the amount of traffic on the local roads, Woodward suggested the town consider one of two approaches. One approach would be to use curved and/or straight road barriers to redirect traffic back to the main roads. The idea is that the roads with barriers would receive less traffic because motorists would learn they’re there and stop using those roads.

The other approach would be to make it easier to travel on the main roads by improving traffic flow, which would create less incentive to travel through the local dirt roads. Alternatively, the town could pursue a hybrid solution that uses both approaches. 

“The whole point of these barriers is to redirect traffic that’s trying to cut through back to the main roads,” Woodward said. “There are several locations where we could place the barriers, and we identified these locations based on where we saw the most cut-through traffic on local roads.”

The intersections proposed for barrier placement are:

• Main Street and Chase Road;

▪ Oakdale Street and Ninth Avenue;

▪ Oakdale Street and Seventh Avenue;

▪ Magnolia Street and Fifth Avenue;

▪ and Ridgewood Drive and Lake Street

One of the negative impacts of using barriers is that they would create longer distances from Point A to Point B and increase traffic circulation, which would inconvenience residents who’d need to drive longer distances to get where they need to go in town, Woodward added.

The other option – to make moving through town easier – would require the removal of a stop sign at Main Street and Chase Road, as well as Maguire Road and Windermere Road. The stop sign removals would allow traffic to exit town with fewer delays, and create more natural gaps in traffic.

However, it would also make it more challenging for motorists coming from 12th Avenue, Windermere Road, and Schooner Way to turn onto Main Street/Maguire Road.

“The other approach would be to improve the efficiency of the main roads,” he said. “There are two locations: the four-way stop at Maguire and Windermere (roads), and the other is down south at Chase (Road) and Main (Street). You’d have to improve the intersection a little bit by adding some pavement, signage, a guardrail at some locations, and remove some stop signs so that you wouldn’t have to stop on the main road, but you would have to stop on the local road.”

Town council members directed staff to research the cost to rent a few road barriers to see if it would be feasible to conduct a 90-day trial period and install barriers at certain intersections. The council’s discussion on which roads/intersections the barriers might be placed will take place during the Feb. 12 town council meeting.


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