Ulster County Drafts New Transportation Plans

The 15-day public comment period for the Ulster County Transportation Council’s drafted 2017-2018 Unified Planning Work Program ended at 5 p.m. on March 2. The draft covers “everything from routine administration work to really important and innovative transportation projects,” according to Brian Slack, the council’s principal transportation planner.

“It’s one document the public should turn to that provides an overview of all the projects we’ll be working on,” he said. 

The draft’s budget is currently $1,048,987, although this and all other figures in the document are subject to change. Eighty percent of the budget was federally funded, while 15 percent was provided by the state. Ulster County taxpayers are paying for five percent, or $52,449, of the bill.

Most of the programs targeted Ulster County in general and did not outline concerns specific to one town or city, although some did. 

The town of Ulster would receive a program designed to address the safety of the intersection at Seremma Court and Neighborhood Road, costing $18,400.

The town of Marlborough, including the hamlets of Milton and Marlboro, would be the subject of a $122,500 study focusing on its stretch of Route 9W. Data gathered during the study, which Slack says would be started in a matter of weeks, would be used to make more efficient and economic use of the highway.

The city of Kingston would be the focus of a study on cost-efficient use of traffic signals ($57,737), and the focus of a plan to create distinctive signage to aid navigation and ultimately “support tourism and economic development throughout the city” ($105,000). It would also kick off a tour of area schools aimed at educating teen drivers about distracted driving and road safety, which is part of a $28,200 plan.

Area public transportation systems, specifically Kingston’s Citibus and Ulster County Area Transit, were addressed in a $42,600 proposal which also suggested integrating the two systems in the future.    

New Paltz was specifically mentioned in one study, which would examine how to better connect the SUNY campus and the village to the Wallkill and Hudson Valley Rail Trails. The trails themselves would also be examined for ways to connect them to each other. Currently, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail runs through the village of New Paltz along the Wallkill River for less than two miles, while the Hudson Valley Rail Trail’s closest connection is in Highland. If approved, this program would cost $106,000.

“There’s also a land use component,” Slack said. “There would be recommendations to consider revising the zoning code. The Village of New Paltz would be a major partner in the study, as would the Thruway Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation. Other landowners like Mohonk would also need to be a part of the study.”

The UCTC’s Policy Committee, which includes New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez, plans to meet at the Rondout Municipal Center at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14. The committee will address the feedback received during the comment period and debate whether the draft should be adopted.

The meeting will begin with an open call for further public comment.