The Town of Ithaca and Tompkins County are announcing that a previously drafted Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two municipalities and Cornell University regarding the Pleasant Grove Road (County Road 122) and Cradit Farm Drive intersection in the Town of Ithaca is concluded following the determination of a “null alternative.” A “null alternative” means that the existing intersection is the preferred design and was arrived at based on analyzed traffic patterns and safety considerations.
The determination followed the assessment of traffic flow at the intersection, completed by the Tompkins County Highway Department and including assessments during May (including Cornell Graduation Weekend) and June (typically a slower time with less area traffic). The assessment found that the current alignment is preferred by most motorists, meaning that they continued on Pleasant Grove Road rather than entering the university through Cradit Farm Drive. Motorists continued on Pleasant Grove Road rather than Cradit Farm Drive by a ratio of 3.5 to 1 during May and 5:1 during June.
The MOA was initially developed with the planned buildout of the Cornell University North Campus Residential Expansion project with the initial goal of directing more traffic destined toward Cornell’s campus and away from the Forest Home neighborhood, though it was found that no redesign options would have that desired effect. Although preliminary designs were proposed in recent years, those have ultimately been determined as not preferable due to pedestrian and motorist safety following the 2023 assessment.
Cornell University has indicated to Town officials that they are developing a Wayfinding Plan that would include new signage before the Cradit Farm Drive intersection encouraging campus visitors to turn there though it has not yet been presented to the town and would be subject to an approval process. Additionally, the Town has authorized a study of truck traffic signage around Forest Home to see what changes to existing signage may further deter truck traffic through the hamlet.