Excited for the holiday season but dreading all the congestion on Commercial Drive in New Hartford, one of the region’s main economic hubs? That congestion symbolizes money going into the town’s coffers, according to some.
According to statistics from the New York State Department of Transportation 26,000 to 30,000 vehicles travel to Commercial Drive in New Hartford daily.
During the holiday season that number nearly doubles: 44,000 to 48,000 vehicles.
While traffic can be tiresome it is a welcomed sight for New Hartford Town Supervisor Paul Miscione. It means money – in the form of sales tax – is coming into the region.
“After being divided up the town typically reels in around $1.8 million in sales tax from the county,” said Miscone. “While shopping can be a bit of a headache it props up our community – it’s all in how you look at it.”
Here are some ways to beat the marketing madness, while keeping your car and goods safe.
A local hot spot
Miscione understands driving along Commercial Drive, especially during the holiday season, can be annoying.
However, when it comes to altering traffic patterns or widening the streets the road is not owned by the town so only the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) could make those improvements a reality.
“At the local level we had reconfigured the parking lot near Applebee’s to accommodate the Starbucks drive-through,” explained Miscione. “We are well-prepared for inclement snow storms this season too.”
NYSDOT plows Commercial Drive to ensure safe driving conditions. Additionally, the town of New Hartford recruits a crew to salt the roads during Christmas break.
The brine that the town does not use for icy conditions it sells to neighboring villages.
New Hartford Chief of Police Ron Fontaine urges civilians to plan their Black Friday route ahead of time. He suggests beating the crowds by shopping on weeknights, as opposed to weekends.
An increase in vehicles yields the potential for an influx in crashes. For this reason the police department will deploy extra patrols along Commercial Drive and its various plazas.
Fontaine provided the following tips for navigating traffic jams:
- Don’t be in a rush; allocate enough time to shop so that you aren’t in a hurry.
- Don’t tailgate; leave an adequate distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you in case you need to take evasive action.
- Pay attention to traffic; do not use portable electronic devices as they divert your attention while operating on the roadway which can cause a collision.
“Patience goes a long way,” said Fontaine. “We ask that everyone travels to and through our commercial corridor be patient with one another if and when traffic becomes congested.”
When it comes to keeping new purchases safe and secure Fontaine suggested using trunk space – as opposed to car seats – to store goods out of plain sight.
“Stay cognizant – drape a blanket or coat to cover your items if necessary,” said Fontaine. “Make sure the vehicle doors are locked as you travel between stores.”
The New Hartford Police Department has a strong relationship with retail partners on Commercial Drive, Fontaine said. Private security surveillance cameras provide a view of the exterior parameter.
“If you see something suspicious, call the police immediately,” encouraged Fontaine. “Oftentimes criminal activity can be thwarted when the public takes notice and reports it proactively.”