Village of Pawling Pedestrian Plan, Pawling, New York
At its core, Moving Dutchess Forward sets a vision for our role, as the MPO for Dutchess County, in improving transportation planning, policy, and practices over the next 25 years. While we provide recommendations for our County and municipal partners, we have the most control over how we do business ourselves. This section outlines the many ways we intend to incorporate the goals of Moving Dutchess Forward into our future work.
1. Adjusting Our Processes
a. Project Selection – Restructure our project selection process:
- Align the project selection criteria used for our capital program with Moving Dutchess Forward’s goals: prioritize projects that improve safety, reliability, and access; pursue transformative investments; focus investment in established centers; and incorporate a complete streets perspective.
- Provide additional priority for projects that improve access (especially for walking, bicycling, and riding transit) to basic needs destinations, improve safety at high-crash locations, improve reliability at our most congested corridors, or reduce emissions (such as transit, park-and-rides, and walking and bicycling projects).
- Embrace a transportation equity focus: provide additional priority for projects that improve access and/or remove barriers for focus populations or residents of areas with high housing cost burdens.
- Prioritize federal funding awards (federal transit funding, Community Development Block Grants, etc.) to projects that achieve Moving Dutchess Forward’s four goals.
b. Planning Work – Realign our planning work:
- Align our future planning programs with Moving Dutchess Forward’s goals: prioritize planning tasks that address safety, reliability, and access for our high-crash locations, most congested corridors, and focus populations; and, prioritize tasks that improve access to basic needs or reduce transportation costs, especially in areas with high housing cost burdens.
- Promote smart land use policies (housing for mixed incomes, mixed uses, walkable communities, development near transit, etc.), in partnership with County Planning, to reduce vehicle travel and congestion, support transit, walking, and bicycling, and reduce climate impacts.
- Provide and seek training to improve our skills and knowledge:
- Ask municipal partners what training they need.
- Coordinate with the County Planning Federation to educate municipal staff and Board members.
- Consider developing a Citizens Planning Academy in partnership with County Planning.
- Train DCTC staff on transportation planning best practices and tools.
- Foster coordination between the DCTC, County, State, municipalities, and other partners, through DCTC meetings, our planning studies and other activities, topical forums, and the region’s TMA.
- Develop relationships with community-based organizations that work in identified focus areas or with focus populations and leverage those relationships to help inform culturally sensitive practices and policies.
- Protect identified focus areas and populations from any disproportionate impacts from our transportation decisions by further refining our equity analyses, incorporating the results into our decision-making, and readjusting our public outreach process.
2. Improving Safe Access
a. Continue our ongoing safety work:
- Regularly assess high-crash locations, with priority for those near our most congested corridors, basic needs destinations, transit centers, and focus areas or populations.
- Continue our safety assessments with local partners, focused on identified high-crash locations.
- Regularly assess high-end speeding and identify locations for potential speed limit reductions, design changes, or enforcement programs.
- Develop a local road safety action plan that includes a focus on reducing road departure crashes and reflects a Safe Systems approach.
- Support projects that accommodate Automated Vehicle (AV) technology (consistent lane markings, sign retro-reflectivity, etc.); monitor trends in autonomous vehicles (including freight), understand best practices, and identify potential locations for AV testing.
b. Incorporate a Complete Streets approach in our planning work:
- Continue to implement the County’s Complete Streets policy and use our checklist to improve planned, funded, and permitted projects with County and local partners.
- Encourage Complete Streets approaches with local, County, and State partners.
- Work closely with County Public Works on their Universal Accessibility program to improve walking connections on County roads.
- Continue our pedestrian plans in coordination with local municipalities.
- Assist with developing a County ADA transition plan, and promote ADA transition plan best practices to municipalities.
- Use and promote bicycle planning best practices (all ages & abilities, Level of Traffic Stress analyses, etc.).
- Continue to work with County Health, Traffic Safety, and other partners on pedestrian safety education, including the Watch Out for Me program.
c. Gather better safety data and refine how we analyze crash data:
- Continue and improve our vehicle and pedestrian/bicycle count programs.
- Develop countywide average crash rates and update on a regular schedule (e.g. 3-5 years).
- Improve our GIS data capabilities, including the development of a method to calculate intersection crash rates.
- Work with NYSDOT and local partners to refine crash data reporting and analysis.
3. Improving Reliable Access
a. Right size our infrastructure:
- Consider reducing excess road or bridge capacity in future planning studies through road diets or strategic disinvestment; prioritize maintaining existing infrastructure in a state of good repair and making it work better, before adding capacity.
- Monitor the impacts of telecommuting on our transportation system (particularly commuter rail), and work with partners to adjust capacity as needed.
b. Address congestion hot spots and priority locations:
- Regularly update our Congestion Management Process (CMP) and assess high-congestion locations, especially those near high-crash locations, job centers, and other basic needs destinations.
- Work with road owners and local partners to develop improvements for high-congestion locations.
- Work with municipalities to manage traffic and parking, particularly in centers, through our planning studies (e.g. corridor plans, redesign studies, parking plans, and safety assessments).
c. Improve access to transit:
- Work with County Public Transit to evaluate and improve transit service and access to transit, develop alternate transit models, and focus on access to basic needs.
- Analyze train station access, including bicycle parking, sidewalk access, bus access, and parking.
d. Address local and regional freight:
- Develop a regional freight plan with our TMA partners, which could include a regional or countywide freight summit.
- Monitor pavement and bridge conditions on truck routes and local streets used for delivery and prioritize needed improvements.
- Analyze travel time reliability on key truck routes and recommend potential improvements.
- Gather and analyze data on local delivery trips and traffic to help municipalities plan for local delivery and manage curb space.
- Factor local delivery and freight needs into our planning work (e.g. corridor plans, redesign studies, parking plans, and safety assessments).
e. Incorporate Climate Resiliency into our work:
- Work with County Public Works, NYSDOT, MTA, and local partners to conduct a transportation infrastructure vulnerability study, measuring the risk of flooding and other climate-related hazards to our roads, bridges, and culverts.
- Work with partners to incorporate climate change in bridge and culvert replacement projects by designing infrastructure to withstand projected flood levels and other hazards.
- Map the impact of future flood events and other hazards on our transportation system.
- Use DARTE data to monitor emission patterns.
- Support technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including electric vehicles, automated vehicles, and cashless tolling.
- Monitor trends in electric vehicles (EVs), advertise EV funding opportunities, and promote EV infrastructure, including EV charging stations.
f. Gather better pavement data:
- Implement an automated, uniform scoring system to measure pavement conditions on county and local roads.
4. Improving Access to Basic Needs
a. Address transportation equity gaps:
- Promote and expand transportation options for identified focus areas or populations in coordination with partner agencies and community organizations.
- Reduce safety, reliability, and access barriers in identified focus areas or places with high shares of focus populations, to include the following:
- Address transportation equity barriers in the City of Poughkeepsie by reducing safety, reliability, and access barriers on Route 9, the Route 44/55 arterials, Main Street, and other high crash or congested roads in the city.
- Address transportation equity barriers in the Village of Wappingers Falls by reducing safety, reliability, and access barriers on Routes 9 and 9D.
- Address transportation equity barriers in the City of Beacon and Town of Fishkill by reducing reliability barriers on I-84 and Route 9D and removing safety barriers on Main Street in Beacon.
- Address transportation equity barriers in the Harlem Valley by expanding transit access and reducing walking and bicycling barriers in centers on or near Route 22.
b. Promote low-cost transportation options:
- Encourage our partners to provide low-cost transportation options (walking, bicycling, transit, ride-hailing, ridesharing) to basic needs destinations (housing, jobs, goods and services, education, and recreation), particularly in communities with high housing cost burdens.
- Pursue Safe Routes to School studies to identify and prioritize walking access improvements.
- Pursue a countywide trail access study to identify and prioritize rail trail connections.
c. Promote economic opportunity:
- Work with our partners to identify and implement transportation improvements to support local economies, including small businesses.
- Prioritize transportation investments that improve access to permanent, living wage jobs.
As with all levels of government, competing needs and priorities can make it difficult to focus on what should happen immediately and what can perhaps wait. Societal shifts, changing political climates, and available resources often dictate what’s possible. The actions identified above set a roughly five-year course for the DCTC, but the big ideas of improving our planning and programming processes, and improving safety, reliability, and access to basic needs will stay with us for many years.
SAFETY, RELIABILITY, & ACCESS TO BASIC NEEDS GO TOGETHER
When we improve the safety and reliability of our transportation system, we also improve people’s access to basic needs. Although we may list many of these actions under one heading or another, they all strive to remove barriers and expand access to the essential building blocks of life: housing, jobs, goods and services, education, and even recreation.