Concurrent with the development at Collegetown Terrace, the City of Ithaca is redesigning the intersection of State and Mitchell Street. With 589 additional bedrooms being added to the immediate area, the chosen design for the intersection will remove the traffic island, widen State Street by nine feet, add a bike lane “jug handle,” and traffic signals. The cost of the entire project is being split equally by the City of Ithaca, Cornell University, and Novarr-Mackesey, developers of Collegetown Terrace. Final design plans are below.
The crossing lights and automobile signalling lights have been installed on each of the poles, but the signalling sequences have yet to be programmed, and thus, the intersection is still an all-way stop- however, both lanes heading into the City on Mitchell Street have been opened-up for a few weeks now. The project contract sum is $342,677, awarded to Binghamton Road Electric, LLC (Bothar Construction), out of Binghamton, NY. $150,000 of the cost is being paid for by Cornell University, through the Cornell/Community Transportation Initiative.
The State & Mitchell Intersection now has poles installed for the future traffic lights at this crossroad of over 17,000 vehicles per day. The temporary all-way stop has generated some backed-up traffic for the past few months, especially during rush hours, but it looks as if the lights will be installed within a month.
The State and Mitchell intersection light pole concrete bases have been set, poured, and anchor plates are in, as well as what looks like the utility service to each future traffic light. Traffic up there has been Stop All Way since the new curbing work began, so I bet there will be a sigh of relief from many commuters once the lights are up.
Western curb was put in about a week ago, and now the eastern curb, eastern sidewalk, and most of the new western sidewalk is in place. Next up we should see finished hardscape, decals and pop-up for the lanes and bicycle jug handle, some prep work for running electric service, and the raising of the new traffic light poles.
The western curb and lane of the State & Mitchell Intersection has been dug-out, filled-in with asphalt, and the new curb put in place. The sidewalk along the new curb is still open for pedestrians, so you can get a good glimpse at the work going on. The traffic flow is clearly a lot more jammed than usual, but when the work is all done it will be a much more efficient and safe intersection than it was before. The planned traffic lights will form an “L-shape” along and perpendicular to East State Street, allowing for turning traffic flows from the West and North, and traffic flow from East to West and vice versa. See the plan overlay on an aerial image in this previous post, along with traffic data.
Apologies for the spectacularly bad photos here, however, the State and Mitchell Intersection has begun work, as the Ithaca Journal noted a few days ago. Just in time for students coming back, so hopefully the traffic flow will be well-directed.
Here’s the final design for construction documents for the State & Mitchell intersection. This will surely be a major transit enhancement for this area, and I hope to continue to see more civic transportation projects that account for pedestrian and cyclist safety (noting the recent cyclist fatality on Warren Road). Ithacans tend to walk, bike or ride public transit to work at drastically higher rates than the State and US averages, so taxpayers should expect to see their money spent on projects that benefit their transit choices, especially since these transit options are less polluting and resource-intensive.
The bids for this project were due-in back on July 3rd, so we should probably be hearing some news on timing soon.
Out of all the intersections in Ithaca, this is probably one of the most commonly misunderstood. The yield sign applying to traffic inbound from Route 79 is often mistaken as applying to inbound traffic from Mitchell, and inbound traffic from Route 79 often mistakes left-turning traffic outbound onto Mitchell as not having the right-of-way to turn.
Congestion is a clear issue during rush hours. Take a look at the plan overlay and the traffic count data. Over 17,000 automobile trips per day occur at this intersection, so it’s becoming vital to redevelop. In addition, cyclists and pedestrians have a tough time fighting traffic at this section. The sheer amount of traffic makes crossing the street as a pedestrian a challenge, and although there’s a bike route, taking the left turn at Mitchell on a bike is dangerous. The bicycle “jug handle” is a common design to separate cycling traffic for the purpose of turning. The idea is to separate bikes that are turning from bikes that are not turning, as well as from automobiles. See the last image in this post for a high-capacity example.
Final design (Plan 2B) approved back in February has been posted, but here were the alternative designs for this project. The Ithaca Times article from January has a discussion about the plans, noting the significance in moving this forward due to the Collegetown Terrace project.