First off, let me say how much I love New Paltz. I’ve spent four transformational years here, I’ve met hundreds of new people and I’ve grown exponentially from my first day on campus. It’s a wonderful place, filled with unique restaurants and cafes and my beloved P & G’s. Additionally, the college is a great public institution for learning and academic development and I wouldn’t change my choice even if I could. That being said, I hate driving in New Paltz more than both of my heart surgeries. The congestion is unusual for such a small town with a seemingly never-ending line of drivers that always jam-pack Main St. to a standstill. Over the years, I have learned to not share my shortcuts with others because they’ll get overrun with traffic. So for this week, I decided to utilize my top 10 list in my ongoing crusade to rid New Paltz of traffic once and for all.
1. North Front St. and North Chestnut St.
This stop has a very reliable light and it has access to two Mexican restaurants, remaining the easiest intersection around. That’s true whether you’re going to Huguenot St. or Main St. and the lower part of the village. Only thing that could make it better is if North Front St. was a two-way street.
2. Tricor Ave. and Mohonk Ave.
It’s a small intersection right by van den Berg Hall, and it’s pretty steep coming down from Tricor. There are a few wannabe Speed Racers here or there that make it an annoying spot, but it’s one of the more tolerable crossings.
3. Cherry Hill Road and Main St.
Going to the Tops Plaza is generally hassle-free but more times than not, it is impossible to cross. I often find myself wondering why getting groceries is this hard, or why my occasional trip to Dunkin’ Donuts or Pasquales has to take so long.
4. South Manheim Blvd. and Main St.
Surrounding the parking lot that houses such iconic businesses like Convenient Food Mart, Dedrick’s and La Bella, it is the ultimate hit-or-miss location and can be great or terrible depending on the day or the direction you are going. Eight out of 10 cats say bet on it being terrible.
5. Plattekill Ave. and Hasbrouck Ave.
Its weird, almost three-way design leading to Village Hall is typically very difficult for pedestrians, most of whom are students. It’s also hampered by too many abrupt stops and casual rolling stops, a.k.a California rolls, that lead to tickets from the cops patiently waiting nearby.
6. Southside Ave. and South Chestnut St.
You could pay me to walk across the street here and I wouldn’t. Not a chance in hell. Too high of a risk of getting hit by a car as a pedestrian or getting t-boned or rear-ended while driving or stopping for pedestrians. People see that hill and immediately feel like Jimmie Johnson.
7. South Oakwood Terrace and Main St.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Russo’s and brave this intersection for a great many sandwiches and cheap gas, but I hate that corner. There’s never enough parking and the traffic flow on Main St. is an unstoppable force of nature. Good luck turning left onto Main St. from that location.
8. Pencil Hill Road and Plains Road and Water St. and Mohonk Ave.
I don’t even try with this warped four-way design, one that is equally dangerous for cars and pedestrians, since the roads are too tight and made even riskier with its many blind turns. Especially avoid at night or after dusk.
9. Plattekill Ave. and Main St.
Trying to cross to North Front St. or P & G’s or turning either way onto Main St. is damn near impossible. Add in the numerous pedestrians, many more on the weekends, moving up and down town and you can be sitting there awkwardly for an extended period of time.
10. South Chestnut St. and Main St.
This is the worst intersection in New Paltz. I cannot tell you how many times I have waited for an endless 20 minutes, slowly creeping my car up past Bacchus just so I can stare at the now-vacant Neko Sushi building. That light is why I have trust issues.