September 10, 2012

Cheers and Jeers: Sept. 10, 2012

CHEERS to Jerry Lottie of Plattsburgh State for an innovative idea that helped with traffic flow as students arrived on campus for the fall.

At the start of each semester, hundreds of students and their families flood the lower stretch of Rugar Street to unload possessions into the dorms. It has been a traffic tangle every time. To try to smooth the flow, the City of Plattsburgh makes Rugar a one-way street during that time. Traffic is rerouted on a few streets in the West End, as well. Even though the college warns motorists of the pending crush through local media, plenty of people still get surprised each time by driving into the mess instead of avoiding that area of the city on move-in day. Newcomers to the college sometimes arrive at the wrong end of Rugar — sent their by their GPS devices — and have to find their way around to approach the street from the proper direction. But this year, something was different. For a few days before the return of students, a large message board at the foot of Rugar Street warned passing motorists what day students would return and that the street would become one way so they could anticipate the delays. That idea came from Lottie, who is assistant chief of Plattsburgh State University Police. The campus police made arrangements to borrow the sign from the State Department of Transportation because neither the college nor the city owns a variable-message sign. “We thought it would be a good way to inform and remind folks of school opening and traffic issues,” Lottie told the Press-Republican. “DOT were fabulous. We told them what we wanted the sign to say. They delivered it for us, came back and changed the message on Saturday evening when we went back to two-way traffic and picked the unit up. We received a lot of positive comments.” That, plus smaller signs placed on city streets directing newcomers to the dorms, made the biggest difference in traffic in years. Nice new solution to an old problem.

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