Ithaca, N.Y. — A range of measures — from a simple review of existing road signs to a sophisticated restraint system, similar to what’s used on aircraft carriers, to snag runaway trucks — are among a baker’s dozen ideas contained in a memo that will be discussed publicly for the first time Monday.

Mayor Svante Myrick directed city engineers to brainstorm a number of ways that safety on the roads sloping down into the heart of Ithaca could be improved after the fatal crash June 20 of a tractor-trailer into Simeon’s on The Commons.

(Earlier: Could better signs have helped? A look at two similar Ithaca roads)

City transportation engineer Tim Logue collected the fruits of that brainstorm process into memo form and sent it to the Board of Public Works, which will meet at 4:45 p.m. Monday in the Common Council chambers on the third floor of City Hall.

“Hill and truck safety within the City” is listed on the agenda under “discussion items,” not “voting items.”

Logue’s writes that the memo is “a way to begin a City conversation about the fact that we have steep hills, that not all drivers or vehicles are prepared to negotiate their way safely to the bottom, and what, if anything, the City ought to do about it.”

You can read the full agenda, including Logue’s memo, here.

The 13 ideas are presented in question form, underscoring the fact that it is a brainstorm list, not a set of recommendations or proposals. No price tags or next steps are attached to any of the ideas. The engineers will look to the Board for guidance as to where and how to focus their efforts next.

“Most of these ideas are just that,” he writes; “I don’t claim that they are all feasible, effective or cost effective.” Many would require collaboration with other agencies or “significant engineering.” Most would need a budget approval from the Council to pay for them.

He arranged them in the memo generally from the simplest, such as a review of signage, to the more complex and, presumably, costly.


1 — Start by looking at existing signs

2 — Consider adding more or different signs

3 — Fuss with GPS apps to keep trucks off the hills into downtown

4 — Lower speed limits for trucks

5 — Consider changes to the state’s truck route system

6 — Install pull-off or truck stations to weigh vehicles, check brakes; or even fancier detection systems triggering messages to truck drivers

7 — Think about canceling a request to upgrade Route 79 to a “principal arterial”

8 — Tighten enforcement of local, state and other rules related to trucks. Bolster Ithaca Police Department’s truck enforcement detail

9 — Transform Eddy Street into a runaway truck ramp? “Probably not.”

10 — Install raised islands or a berm as crash buffers

11 — Install bollards or other devices to stop or slow vehicles

12 — Reverse traffic flow from northbound to southbound in the 100 block of North Aurora Street, and other measures to make it less likely a truck would end up at State Street and Aurora trying to make a turn

13 — The aircraft carrier restraint idea


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.