Saratoga Springs

Spa City Council to host public hearings on bike lane and noise

The city is looking to add a bike lane on Lake Avenue and amend the noise ordinance during the week

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 1:39 p.m. on June 21, 2018. An earlier version included an incorrect date for the next City Council meeting. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The City Council is holding two public hearings at its next meeting on July 3 regarding proposed bike lanes along Lake Avenue and changing the city noise ordinance. 

At the June 5 City Council meeting, more than 50 people voiced their support or concerns about the city looking to add a bike lane to Lake Avenue — from Regent Street to Henning Road.

The Lake Avenue bike lane is one of 10 that may be added throughout the city as part of the Complete Streets Plan, which City Council adopted in December 2016. 

Commissioner of Public Safety Peter Martin said a bike lane on Lake Avenue would provide safer  access to East Side Recreation and Lake Avenue Elementary School.

He said studies have proven that bike lanes slow vehicle speeds. 

More than five people spoke at Tuesday’s City Council meeting about their concerns over the Lake Avenue bicycle plan. 

Among them was Lake Avenue resident Michelle Torres, who said she would like to see a bike lane added on a different route. 

“Lake Avenue is extremely narrow and I’ve seen five cars be hit or totaled while parked on the street,” she said to the council. “A drunk driver landed on my neighbor’s lawn and bicyclists have been hit. 

“We’re not saying we don’t want this in our neighborhood, we’re witnesses on how unsafe this will be.”

Saratoga Springs resident David Morrisette also expressed concern about putting a bike lane on a busy road. 

“Putting a bike lane on a busy highway is insanity,” he said. “I’d like the city to look at other solutions.”

Morrisette added that Lake Avenue residents, like Torres, should be solicited for their input on the plan. 

“You have to get people on board first,” he said. “There are other ways this can be done.” 

Martin said while a majority of people have expressed their support for the Lake Avenue bicycle plan, he does plan to address the concerns.

He said the Saratoga Springs City School District has expressed interest in working with the city to make parking safer at East Side Recreation in order to alleviate traffic concerns along Lake Avenue. 

The city is looking into applying for a state grant that would provide up to $50,000 if the city agrees to participate in a survey and engineering study for the bike plan. 

Also on Martin’s agenda is amending the city’s noise ordinance Sunday through Thursday. 

“The department received complaints from east side and downtown residents about noise in the evening,” he said at the June 5 meeting. 

Martin said the limit for noise downtown is 90 decibels until midnight on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends. 

He is looking to lower the limit to 85 decibels on the weeknights and maintain 90 decibels on the weekends. 

Johanna Garrison, who lives one mile from downtown off North Broadway, said at the June 5 meeting that she can hear noise from downtown establishments nearly every night. 

“The noise starts Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day,” she said. “I have to close the windows especially during track season.

“It makes me want to leave town.”

Garrison added that downtown establishments compete with each other by raising the noise level. 

“There’s no need for the noise,” she said. “I support lowering it, and I’d like to see it lowered even more.”

Public hearings on the Lake Avenue bicycle lane and amending the city’s noise ordinance will be held on July 2 starting at 6:10 p.m. at City Hall, 474 Broadway in Saratoga Springs. 

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