February 9, 2006

Ithaca Studies Transportation Effects

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Throughout next year, members of the Cornell community will start to see equipment set up at various intersections on campus and the town of Ithaca. This equipment will collect information as part of a broad hypothetical study intended to evaluate the impact of Cornell’s population growth on the area’s changing transportation situation over the next decade.

On Tuesday, the Town of Ithaca Planning Board approved and accepted the draft scope of the study, titled, “Transportation-focused Generic Environmental Impact Statement” or t-GEIS. The study will eventually culminate in a document called a Ten-year Transportation Impact Mitigation Strategy.

The Town of Ithaca and Cornell have recently discussed transportation-related challenges, and agreed that t-GEIS was “the next logical step,” stated the project’s website.

“Cornell University and the Town of Ithaca Planning Board agree that potential impacts on the transportation system associated with campus population growth are important. There is a high probability that significant impacts would occur unless appropriate mitigation strategies are identified and implemented,” stated a notice of determination of significance released by the Planning Board.

The document that will arise from this study, TIMS, will outline ways to mitigate adverse transportation impacts of potential population growth. It will include recommendations for “transportation demand management, multi-modal transportation strategies including pedestrian, bicycle, transit and parking, safety, access and circulation modifications.” TIMS will be updated in five-year cycles.

“[Among other analyses,] we’ll do traffic counts