COPAKE—Some say the four-way Craryville intersection of State Route 23, County Route 7 and Craryville Road is busy and dangerous, but a new traffic study says a traffic light is not needed there.
GRJH, Inc., has an application before the Copake Planning Board seeking site plan approval for a new gas station/convenience store at the northwest corner of the intersection on the 1.7-acre parcel where the old Craryville supermarket once stood. Craryville is a hamlet in the Town of Copake.
The proposed 3,240 square-foot convenience store will have 12 fueling stations and access to the business is proposed from State Route 23 and Craryville Road.
Neighbors and other area residents have expressed concerns about the store, saying it will generate increased traffic at an already dangerous intersection. The site is between the Craryville United Methodist Church on the east and the Craryville Post Office on the west.
A study of the existing traffic in and around the intersection and the traffic impact the proposed store/gas station will have there was ordered by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) as part of the applicant’s Highway Work Permit Application.
The 88-page traffic assessment study was performed by Creighton Manning Engineering, LLP, of Albany (www.cmellp.com), engineers hired by the applicant and was presented at the June 7 Copake Planning Board meeting.
Study data was collected via automatic traffic recorders on Route 23, County Route 7 and Craryville Road near the site, Tuesday, May 1 through Thursday, May 3. Also used was data collected by DOT on Route 23 in April at a continuous traffic count station east of the intersection.
Among the data included in the detailed study are: sight distance analysis, accident assessments, collision diagrams, trip generation, future traffic volumes, capacity and queuing evaluations, signal warrant analysis, counts of various types of vehicles by day and hour, turning movement counts, pages of speed statistics, aerial and ground photographs, diagrams of traffic patterns and volumes headed in all directions at peak hours, the site plan, letters, and level of service criteria for “unsignaled” intersections.
What it all boils down to is that:
• The new convenience market is expected to generate 73 new vehicle trips during the morning peak hour and 78 new vehicle trips during the afternoon peak hour
• Drivers using the intersection after the convenience store is built will experience “a maximum increase of vehicular delay less than five seconds on any movement”
• Drivers using the convenience store driveways during peak hours will experience average delays of 13 seconds or less after the convenience store is constructed.
And finally, intersection conditions do not “meet the minimum criteria for the installation of a traffic signal,” according to the study conclusions.
Alicia Metz, the president of GRJH, appeared at the June Planning Board meeting and read the traffic study conclusions into the record, according to meeting minutes.
GRJH is a Sharon, CT-based, privately-held wholesale gasoline and oil company established in 1995 and is associated with Cobble Pond Farms convenience stores/gas stations.
At the meeting, a Craryville resident took issue with the traffic study data having been collected during the week instead of on a weekend when traffic is heaviest.
Attorney Brian Henchy, representing Steven and Barbara Smith, who live on Craryville Road, voiced concerns that the drive-through window has been removed from the convenience store site plan, but will be added at a future date without the Planning Board’s knowledge.
Both the attorney and others spoke about concerns in connection with the store’s underground fuel storage tanks: whether they met regulations for their proximity to the road and how they will be monitored for leaks.
The public hearing on the application remains open.
The Planning Board’s July 5 meeting has been cancelled.
The Board will next revisit the GRJH application at its August 2 meeting, 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
To contact Diane Valden at