As is their usual practice when considering new laws, Village of New Paltz trustees held the public hearing on making a stretch of Huguenot Street into a one-way road open at their February 10 meeting, after receiving one more comment. They also discussed some of the testimony already offered as they consider if they will modify the proposal, which calls for Huguenot to be one way northbound from Broadhead Avenue to Mulberry Street; this is the section adjacent to the part that’s already been completely closed off to motorized traffic. This scheme would advance the mission of minimizing heavy vehicles passing by the delicate foundations of historic stone houses.
Resident Annell Presbie wrote in to suggest that, instead of making the stretch a one-way road, it might be better just to limit the flow to local traffic only. However, Mayor Tim Rogers does not see that idea as enforceable and doesn’t believe in passing laws unless it’s clear who is going to make sure they are followed.
The mayor noted that another suggestion was to conduct a traffic study before moving ahead and observed that no such study was conducted before fully closing the section from North Front Street to Broadhead Avenue; that move, Rogers recalled, was enthusiastically supported by the late Tom Nyquist, who expressed at the time that it was finishing work not completed during Nyquist’s own tenure as mayor.
Other questions raised had to do with one-way roads generally. Would the snow all be plowed to one side? (No, snow is always plowed from the center to both sides.) How would this impact garbage pickup? (Residents would probably have to agree to put their containers on one side of the road.)
Deputy mayor KT Tobin feels that waiting until the traffic impact of a fully operational Zero Place are understood might make sense, but Rogers is not as sure. The mayor noted that proponents of this idea have argued that the potential increase in traffic is a reason why this should be put into place. Rogers feels that more pedestrian-focused decisions should be made in general in the village.
In one resident’s testimony was the suggestion of reversing the flow, because it’s difficult to exit onto North Chestnut Street at Mulberry given the speed of traffic and that problem could be exacerbated by planned development at that corner. Trustees showed no clear preference, but discussed how the increased development could serve to calm traffic and promote the pedestrian focus that is central to their thinking. Reversing the flow might also create the sort of increased traffic from Zero Place that some proponents of a one-way stretch find troubling.
Neighbors are encouraged to talk among themselves and all residents will have more opportunities to comment during the public hearing.