November 10, 2008

Infrastructure possibilities in Dryden?

As the economy continues to slide and everyone speculates on what the government will do next to stem the tide, there's been a lot of discussion about infrastructure spending, public works on a scale similar to the 1930s.

Always trying to connect the national to the local, I was pondering what infrastructure needs might be especially critical in Dryden, and addressable through one-time assistance. A few of the key ones I came up with were:

Village of Dryden sewage treatment plant replacement

I keep hearing numbers like "$5 million" for that one, and they always seem to go up. This plant serves both the Village and Town residents in the Cortland Road Sewer District, including Dryden High School/Middle School and TC3. While we're at it, it would be great to include Freeville and George Junior Republic in the plant.

Recreation facilities

The Town's Recreation Master Plan meetings talked about a lot of facilities, from buildings to fields. New parks would be great, though even some of our existing parks could use attention. I wonder if there's more that could be done at Dryden Lake, too.


There is still a lot to do on the rails to trails conversion, and some key components - like crossings at highways - that are worth contemplating. (No, I don't want a "Bridge to Nowhere" like Ithaca has - let's please build the crossings only when the trails are in place.)

Bus shelters and bike storage

It's great that we can flag down TCAT buses anywhere, but shelters at key pickup points would reduce the number of stops and make it more comfortable to use the system when the weather is less than ideal. Bike storage would make it easier for people to connect to the bus system even if they didn't live right along its main routes. (And no, hauling the bike downtown isn't always what riders want.)

Facilities in our state forests

They don't need to become state parks, but a parking lot for Yellow Barn State Forest and more marked trails would be great. In Hammond Hill, I'd mostly like a lot more trail markers.


I'm not sure we need new roads, though there was that long-ago Route 13 bypass that never happened. I wonder, though, if there might be ways to improve our existing road system so that future maintenance costs will actually be lower.

Community Centers

Dryden's community centers are looking brighter than they did before thanks to the Town investing time, interest, and money in them. I'm not sure where to go next, but they clearly serve a public purpose.

Sidewalks in Varna

and maybe elsewhere as warranted.

Any other ideas? I'm sure I've not thought this through far enough.

Posted by simon at November 10, 2008 8:24 AM in , ,
Note on photos


Brian Weis said:

Hi, My girlfriend and I just moved to Freeville and I have to say I agree with all the improvements you mentioned. Especially in regards to Yellow Barn Road. We moved right down the road from it and I have been trying desperately to even find an entrance to the forest without crossing posted property. This area is among the most beautiful areas to be found upstate New York, it really should be easier for people to take advantage of that. Another good point of yours was on the bus stops. I didn't even realize there WERE bus stops here until I saw someone on the side of the road get picked up by it. even so, I believe I heard that there are only 4 times a bus goes through (twice in the morning and twice in the evening) I own a car but there are times I would prefer to bus it down there, but I don't for fear of missing the one bus I need to catch and being stranded.

Mike Sylvia said:

I find it curious that we must pump up the economy and we must control greenhouse gases. These objectives seem to oppose one another in the extreme.

Nathanael Nerode said:

This is a fairly radical and extreme idea, and I doubt anyone will pick it up, but I think rail (single self-propelled railcars, probably) should be reintroduced, from Ithaca to Dryden to Cortland, running in the mornings and evenings. That route is just a continuous line of cars at commute hours, in *both* directions (Dryden to Ithaca, Ithaca to TC3, Cortland to TC3, Dryden to Cortland). And it's only going to get worse.

[Cortland is also the natural location for future trains to Syracuse (incidentally connecting with the rest of the nation's trains) and Binghamton (which, incidentally, hopes to connect to NYC via Scranton).]

But in the short term, putting signs at the bus stops would be a great help.

Nathanael Nerode said:

"I find it curious that we must pump up the economy and we must control greenhouse gases. These objectives seem to oppose one another in the extreme."

Clearly we need to shift to a non-fossil-fuel economy. Period. If all our power, including transportation and heating, was from hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal, and our farms used crop rotation instead of fossil fertilizer, we'd be set.

We'd have somewhat less energy to work with in the medium run -- so energy efficiency measures like switching from cars to high-occupancy trains, and building well-insulated buildings, are valuable too.

So it's simple if you think about it the right way.