May 27, 2008

Will Route 366 get quieter?

I've been writing a fair amount about garbage-truck traffic lately, both here and elsewhere. That originally interested me because of the politics involved, but it has me looking at - and listening to - the road in front of my house more closely again. I don't have those garbage trucks, but I certainly have noise.

366 between 13 and Ithaca is an old road. It's on the map in W. Glen Norris' Old Indian Trails in Tompkins County, even before Joseph Chaplin cut the Bridle Road through in 1795. Varna was built right along it, in an age when the clatter of horses and livestock were all the noise it had to offer.

For a long while it was Route 13, until the 1960s when the current 13 was blasted into the hillside above Cayuga Lake. That took a lot of traffic off of this road. Unfortunately, traffic overall has since grown, and while 13 is certainly busier (and the 13/366 overlap busiest of all), I believe that 366 today carries a lot more traffic than it did when it was Route 13. (I really need to find old traffic counts. I thought I had them, but don't know where.)

Traffic on 366 seems to me to have grown a little bit since 1999, when I moved here, but the main problems, except when I'm playing mailbox frogger, are noise and speed. On a 45mph road, I shouldn't be hearing truck brakes nearly as often as I do. Concrete and gravel trucks roar by all the time, though there seemed to be fewer last year. Every spring is motorcycle season, a new roar coming from the road.

I've heard that driving is reaching new lows lately, as the price of gas has climbed, but I can't say I've noticed a big change here. Commuters still seem to be using 366 in the morning and evening, and the truck traffic seems to have grown, if anything, over the past few months.

(I've also seen a few more really insane speeders, both cars and motorcycles, mostly during the day.)

Will it stay that way? Or will 366 eventually quiet down? Tonight's traffic's seemed pretty light, actually, though I wonder if that's just because it's the day after Memorial Day.

I look forward to more traffic counts.

And finally, on a different but equally important angle, Jay Gallagher looks at energy issues on the electric side in New York.

Posted by simon at May 27, 2008 12:49 PM in
Note on photos