Traffic coming off Route 32 to a proposed Holiday Inn Express could present problems, especially during ski season weekends, members of Saugerties’ town planning board said at the board’s regular meeting on February 16.
The plan shows an egress onto Old Route 32 and a short loop behind the historic Wynkoop house and the Sunoco gas station. The problem is that Old Route 32 meets Route 32 near the Thruway exit, exacerbating existing traffic problems, board members said.
When the plan was changed from three buildings – the hotel and two freestanding restaurants – to two buildings, with the elimination of one of the restaurants, the state Department of Transportation asked for a new traffic study, project engineer Kattah Elmassalemah said. Based on the hotel alone, no modifications would be needed, but there had been some discussion with the state’s engineers. “The study came up with that 60 degrees is very nearly the equivalent of 90 degrees, so they did not need modifications on that side [the south side].”
Board member Ken Goldberg said the 60-degree rule was general in nature, and the right angle would be safer where the entry comes out on a busy highway. Elmassalemah asserted that the engineers doing the study evaluated the entry as it was, not just on a theoretical view based on the plans.
The board questioned the timing of the traffic study, noting that traffic is heavier during the ski season, especially on weekends, than at other times. The day of the week of the study was not apparent from the report.
Goldberg asked Elmassalemah to check to be sure that the traffic study was actually based on counts take during the ski season, not just a reinterpretation of earlier counts.
The northern end of the driveway is more problematic, Elmassalemah acknowledged. Following discussions with highway superintendent Doug Myer, he agreed that something should be done to slow traffic down as it comes in, possibly adding plants to narrow the throat of the driveway. Further information about what is needed at the intersection will be forthcoming from Myer and the state DOT, Elmassalemah said.
Alternate board member Dan Ellsworth suggested that signage at the hotel exit could direct northbound traffic to the left and southbound to the right – forbidding left turns off the southbound end of Old Route 32. Elmassalemah said he could suggest this to the developers, but that implementation would be up to them.
The board voted to override two recommendations by the county planning board on plantings and alternative signs. Recommendations on access issues were postponed pending further information.