New curbs and stop signs at Cayuga and Cascadilla will improve driving and walking

Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike should benefit from changes this week to the intersection of North Cayuga Street and Cascadilla, where Downtown Ithaca blends into Fall Creek. The intersection has improved curbs with bump-outs to improve pedestrian safety, and all-way stop signs to make turning and crossing easier.

Intersection improvements in the works on Cayuga Street near Gimme! Coffee. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.

The new stop signs will be in place this Friday, December 1st, and will require vehicles heading north and south on Cayuga Street to stop, as well as vehicles approaching the intersection heading east on Cascadilla Street or west on Cascadilla Avenue.

“Some of the changes are in conjunction with the rebuilding of the creek walls along Cascadilla Avenue,” says City of Ithaca alderperson Ducson Nguyen, who represents the 2nd ward. That includes the curb “bump-out” for the pedestrian crossing, giving pedestrians a safe place to stand where drivers will be more easily able to see them, and giving them a shorter distance to travel in the crosswalk.

“I live several houses from that intersection and see on a daily basis how difficult it is to walk across Cayuga Street,” he adds. Nguyen isn’t sure how the effort was funded, but believes it might have come out of ,000 per year that’s budgeted for traffic calming measures. Superintendent of Public Works Michael Thorne did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Ithaca resident Armin Heurich, who took it upon himself to add pedestrian crossing signs at this and other intersections before they were removed by city crews, says he’s “delighted” by the changes. “This intersection redesign will dramatically improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience, making it safer and more civil.”

“I do not think that motorists will see the new stop sign as an inconvenience,” Heurich tells us. The intersection is just a block from the downtown core where every intersection has a traffic light, so drivers are used to stop-and-go traffic in the area already. Turning at the intersection should also be much easier.

“I look forward to more intersections in Ithaca getting a similar treatment that makes crossing safer,” Heurich says. “This is a really positive development.”

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