Green road designed to curb speed
It's a new approach to solving an old problem. A Tompkins County road gets a paint job, in an effort to get drivers to slow down. Our Tamara Lindstrom has more on how the project might work.
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DRYDEN, N.Y. -- It is a problem as old as the roads themselves.
"I've gotten more complaints in my years as a legislator about speed and traffic than about anything else. And obviously it's a public safety issue," said Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislature Chair.
The stretch of Ellis Hollow Road in the Town of Dryden is no different. And the problem of lead-footed drivers only increased after the road was re-paved and the shoulders widened last year.
"It was really falling apart and of course a lot of people think that's the best form of traffic calming. Just let the potholes slow people down," Robertson said. "That's not really a good alternative."
"In Tompkins County we pride ourselves in looking for solutions that both won't cost us more money than we need to be spending, but work for the majority of the people in the community," said Carol Chock, Tompkins County Legislator and Chair of the facilities committee.
Since speed bumps weren't an option and increasing patrols wasn't in the budget, leaders looked to a more colorful solution, painting a mile and a half of roadsides green. The new color of the asphalt doesn't exactly match the surrounding greenery, but Robertson says that's not the point. The effect is meant to impact drivers on a much deeper level.
"So much of this is about perception," Robertson said. "The state of the art says that if you can narrow the look of the road, then that does slow people down. So we'll see."
The span of green paint cost about $17,000 dollars, and is expected to last five years. So far, reviews on the new look have been mixed. But the green space has an added bonus, giving pedestrians a safer feeling on a road without sidewalks.
"Especially since the road has been paved, a lot of people have been biking, walking, and running on the shoulders. And I've heard from some of those folks who like to get out on foot or on bikes that they're really pleased with the color. That they feel safer. They feel that zone is for them," Robertson said.
As for whether or not the color has the desired effect of slowing down drivers, leaders consider this an experiment and will continue to study speeds on the road.
Another coat of paint will go down before the project is finished. Officials say if the new look works to curb speeding, they will consider using the method in other areas.