DOT isn’t eager to challenge plan for Main Street in Lake Placid

Lake Placid’s Main Street is seen on Jan. 8. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — A representative of the state Department of Transportation has responded to a letter signed by more than 40 local business owners, employees and residents calling for a “public review” of the village’s proposed Main Street overhaul.

Without explicitly denying the request for a public review, DOT Region 1 Director Patrick Barnes said the department’s involvement with the $8 million project is limited to ensuring the design meets state standards. Main Street is part of state Route 86, but Barnes underscored that this project is being undertaken by the village, not the state.

The letter to the DOT asked that the department initiate a “public review” of the Main Street project. It flagged proposed changes to the Saranac Avenue intersection, which would be altered to allow the village to install a subsurface filtration system to intercept stormwater runoff before it enters Mirror Lake, as a primary concern.

“NYSDOT is supportive of the village’s proposal to realign the Saranac Avenue/Main Street/Mirror Lake Drive intersection, which will clearly define which vehicle has the right-of-way and provide pedestrian crossing enhancements,” Barnes wrote. “The concern regarding the removal of loading zones is one that should be addressed by the village’s engineer and possible local ordinances restricting parking and loading/unloading.

“We have been actively involved in the review of the village’s proposed plans and provided both written and verbal comments to the village’s engineer.”

The village’s projected $8 million overhaul of Main Street would reshape the streetscape and underlying infrastructure of a business district that serves as the heart of the local economy.

The project has been in the works for years, but has come under some scrutiny in the last few months as business owners decry what they say has been an opaque planning process, with little to no opportunity for public input. Some business owners have also pushed back against the plan because it calls for the removal of some on-street parking spaces.

Locals’ letter to the DOT, dated Tuesday, Jan. 21, underscores some of those same issues.

“The meetings of the task force were not published into local newspapers, nor were stakeholders given proper opportunity for their input,” the letter reads. “There are many who will be significantly impacted by the proposed radical restructuring of a critical intersection. We therefore ask the NYSDOT to initiate a public review, and receive input on the proposed intersection redesign.”

The project was initially expected to go out to bid next month and move into the construction phase in May. Now, according to town engineer Ivan Zdrahal, the plan is to put the project out to bid in June, with the goal of moving into construction by mid-September.

Mayor Craig Randall has said the delay is related to the village exploring ways to add more parking spaces to the upper municipal lot across from NBT Bank. Before the Main Street project moves into the construction phase, according to Randall, the village is looking to complete improvements to that upper lot, allowing it to be open during the duration of the construction period on Main Street.

Randall has also said that the volunteer Main Street task force, which “represents a broad cross-section of the community,” will host a public meeting outlining the details of the project. That meeting has tentatively been set for March 5.


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