New CVS Pharmacy and Five Guys locations planned for the intersection between New York State Route 299 and North Putt Corners Road have stirred up controversy due to their potential lack of compatibility with plans for an upgraded emergency operations center and a bicycle trail in the same vicinity.
The emergency operations center would replace the fire station on Plattekill Avenue, a location that Village of New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers described as “difficult for volunteers to arrive at and respond to incidents when there is downtown congestion.” The center would be funded by part of a $6 million grant provided by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.
The proposed emergency operations center—located on the corner of Henry W. Dubois Drive and North Putt Corners Road—was one of three major projects for which a majority of the funds will be allocated, as per a decision by Ulster NYRCR planning committees. NYRCR, or “New York Rising Community Reconstruction,” is an initiative pushed by the Office of Storm Recovery to bolster the resiliency of various New York communities in the wake of storms like Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy.
David Gilmour, planning consultant for the Village of New Paltz, does not have any direct oversight on the projects due to their being right outside of village lines, but still offered some insight into the process.
“Because [the emergency operations center] is a critical facility, if there’s going to be vehicular loading from the Trans-Hudson CVS project, there need to be assurances that the transportation impact assessment has really considered the turning movements and how people are going to be accessing and egressing the property,” Gilmour said. “And that we’re not creating overloads and conflicts at the Henry W. Dubois Drive intersection with North Putt Corners Road.”
The bicycle path, meanwhile, would connect NY 299 with Henry W. Dubois Drive and provide a safer method for bicyclists to cross between the two roads without having to ride on North Putt Corners Road. The 2011 Walkill Valley Rail Trail and Hudson Valley Rail Trail Link Feasibility Study written by planning firm Barton & Loguidice recommended 12-foot-wide “asphalt paved shared-use path” with a guardrail and two-foot shoulders alongside the 0.3-mile segment of North Putt Corners Road connecting Henry W. Dubois Drive with NY 299.
One of the major roadblocks, Gilmour described, has to do with the specifics of the trail itself.
“Currently, what’s being proposed by CVS developer Trans-Hudson is for there to be an easement provided along North Putt Corners Road, ten feet from the curb line into the property,” he said. “There is a little bit of a discrepancy between that and what the link study prescribes in terms of an area needed for a separated bike path that isn’t part of the road itself.”
Despite conflicts, Rogers expects construction to begin in 2017 and is hopeful that the projects can be completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
“I think with smart planning and good landscape architecture, a project can be designed for the corner of NY 299 and North Putt Corners Road,” he said. “The emergency operations center at Henry W. Dubois Drive and North Putt Corners Road can be sited there, and we can have a bike trail that goes up North Putt Corners Road and then down Henry W. Dubois Drive.”