Arterial, the Route 9 interchange could be modified

The three lanes of Route 44/55 in the town of Poughkeepsie pass homes, yards and a handful of businesses.

Traffic is generally smooth, with around 20,000 vehicles per day traveling along the thoroughfares that separate the north and south sides of the city. However, the volume or traffic and the speed at which cars often travel can be difficult for a pedestrian or cyclist to navigate, creating something of a barrier in a city where many residents do not have their own vehicle.

That could change, however, as part of a design overhaul proposed by the Dutchess County Transportation Council. Each direction of the thoroughfares, which sandwich Main Street, would be converted into two vehicle-only lanes. The remaining space would be used for a bike path, parking, bus stops, loading areas or green spaces.

The proposal is part of the council’s Poughkeepsie Final Report 9.44.55, which suggests long-term redesign concepts for Highway 44/55 and the Highway 9 interchange with Highway 44/55 near the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

Proposal: Here’s What Route 9, 44/55 Interchange Could Become In Poughkeepsie’s Proposed Redesign

Emergency accommodation: Dutchess Legislative Assembly delays vote on homeless shelters in Poughkeepsie; See next steps

Housing affordability: How to fix Dutchess in 2,155 steps; What the “catch-up” plan entails

Earlier, the council published its recommendation to replace the “bow tie” traffic pattern with roundabouts. The council noted that both sets of changes have possible negative impacts with the positive changes, including saying that the conversion of Route 44/55 is likely to add congestion.

Together, the two projects were estimated by the board at over $50 million, although construction costs have risen significantly since they arrived at the totals.

The aim of the study was to improve safety conditions, traffic flow, provide access for pedestrians and bicycles, anticipate future traffic patterns and provide a plan for moving forward. .

Traffic drives on the westbound thoroughfare in the town of Poughkeepsie on May 11, 2022.

The state Department of Transportation, the project sponsor, has not yet provided funding sources or a construction schedule, Dutchess County said. The report suggests using both state and federal grant opportunities, with cost being a determining factor between the options.

“Neither solution is ‘easy,’ so they will take time and resources, and they can happen simultaneously or separately as opportunities arise,” said Mark Debald, program administrator for the Dutchess County Transportation Council. “But the conversation will continue, and the study provides us with the analysis and insights needed to leverage future funding.”

A two-way artery

The county had considered two possible scenarios for the thoroughfare, which includes sections in the town of Poughkeepsie, before settling on what it calls the “3 to 2” plan.

The other choice, called the “two-way” option, would have two lanes of traffic going in opposite directions with a turning lane in the middle. Market Street, which connects the two thoroughfares, would be turned into a two-way street, and the intersection of Washington Street and Columbus Drive at the west end would have to be reconfigured.

While both concepts can improve safety “for all road users”, they can also increase traffic flow since the freeway can “operate at or near capacity for drivers during typical morning commute times. and late afternoon”.

Traffic on the eastbound thoroughfare in the town of Poughkeepsie on May 11, 2022.

The council recommended that the “3 to 2” concept be tested with temporary lane configurations “before investing in long-term infrastructure improvements”, as it recognizes that the concept “should operate at full capacity or above capacity during peak periods” and there is “the potential for traffic diversions to alternate routes.”

The state would be tasked with launching a pilot program, which the report said should be completed within three to five years.

While the bike path is a “potential” addition to the thoroughfare, the county is already working on a bike path through the town of Poughkeepsie. The urban trail will traverse the city, primarily north to south, repurposing railroad tracks formerly used by railroad service company CSX.

“As the thoroughfares do not directly connect to the urban pathway, improving access between the two would have to be on local streets, which would certainly be considered if the thoroughfares were redesigned,” Debald said.

Traffic drives on the westbound thoroughfare at Civic Center Plaza in the town of Poughkeepsie on May 11, 2022.

About 70% of respondents to an online poll for the study preferred the “3 to 2” option, which last year was estimated to cost around $23.3 million. The survey also asked respondents to rank the use of extra space. Parking, buses, and green spaces were ranked highest in downtown, residential areas, and areas of Arlington.

The arterial redesign considered the following issues, according to an online public outreach presentation: accident rate about twice the state average; drivers exceeding the speed limit; and a demographic analysis, which showed that 40% to 65% of households along the thoroughfare do not have access to a car, and the thoroughfares separate residential areas from commercial areas.

Changes to the interchange

The report suggests a design concept that would use two roundabouts for the interchange between Routes 9 and 44/55 – one south of the Mid-Hudson Bridge and one north; remove the good merges without changing the general alignment of Route 9. It was estimated to be around $25 million in 2020.

While the concept would alleviate some of the congestion and confusion felt by drivers during the merge or Route 9, the council acknowledges that the plan has drawbacks.

Drone image of the Route 9 and 44/55 interchange in Poughkeepsie on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

Debald at the end of last year noted that it “achieves most of the project’s objectives, appears to be the simplest and most feasible to build, and can be built at a lower cost than other concepts.”

But that would still involve left-side ramps, forcing drivers to merge left to enter a roundabout and right to access Route 9. Left-side ramps have been credited for traffic delays, unpredictable mergers and crashes. and some key roads, such as Main and Laurel streets, do not have direct access to the proposed arterials and bridge.

“Now that Poughkeepsie 9.44.55 is complete and has given us an enlightened picture of what is possible, the (County Transportation Board) is coordinating with (State DOT), County, City and Town to advance the study recommendations for both the interchange and arteries,” Debald said.

Saba Ali: [email protected]: 845-451-4518: @MsSabaAli.

Comments are closed.