Camillus officials respond to county's proposed Route 5 revamp

Since this story was first published, the date for the Onondaga County Department of Transportation's public information meeting was changed to 6 to 8 p.m. May 31 at Camillus Town Hall.

The Onondaga County Department of Transportation has proposed changes to West Genesee Street in Camillus, spanning three miles from Onondaga Road going west to Munro Road. The proposal, penned as a resurfacing project, would narrow two stretches of the corridor from four lanes to three.

Town Councilor Bill Davern said that from the town's perspective, the project came out of nowhere.

"I really felt that that came out of the blue to us," he said. "It was not publicized, we were never brought into the picture ... to discuss what we thought about it before it was semi-cast in concrete."

The town board expressed its concerns, prompting county officials to schedule a public informational meeting for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday May 26 at the Camillus Municipal Building courtroom. Davern said he's heard concerns from many constituents, who he is encouraging to attend.

If enough people show up, the location will move to the gymnasium to accommodate for space. Davern, who is also the town's public safety chair, said he unfortunately will not be attending the meeting, since it was scheduled for the same night as West Genesee High School's Kaleidoscope concert held yearly at the Civic Center. Davern's son, also Bill, is the school district's director of fine arts.

Davern said he agrees with the changes targeting pedestrian safety. As part of the project, traffic signal timings will be improved, sidewalks installed where deemed necessary, and bike lanes are being considered.

"I like the concept of the sidewalks, we badly need these extended sidewalks for pedestrians and for students constantly walking back and forth between the school and towards Fairmount," he said, adding praise for the county's plan to install "true pedestrian crosswalks" at the Whedon Road, Hinsdale Road and Vanida Drive intersections. These will include audible signals for blind residents.

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