An engineering firm hired by the city of Hamilton has good news about traffic concerns for the proposed Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, a mega sports complex planned for the former paper mill buildings.
Traffic engineers found that the heavy traffic times at Spooky Nook at Champion Mill will have little conflict with the times Hamilton’s sometimes frustratingly slow traffic is heaviest, according to City Manager Joshua Smith.
“The one thing we’ve been pleased with is the Nook’s heaviest traffic volumes occur after 6 p.m. on Friday, and they’re done most times by 8 on Sunday evening,” Smith told the Journal-News in a recent interview. “That is perfect when you look at our traffic modeling: Our busiest traffic times are from 6:30 a.m. on Monday to about 6:30 p.m. on Friday. So it aligns almost perfectly.”
Traffic engineers went to the Pennsylvania facility of Spooky Nook Sports, where they counted vehicles, videotaped them and watched their turning movements.
“Not to say on a super-heavy tournament weekend that you’re not going to see a lot of cars crossing the High/Main bridge, because you’re going to,” Smith cautioned. “But it should be once our heaviest traffic has peaked.”
Meanwhile, officials say it’s very important to have attractive roadways, sidewalks and street lights linking Spooky Nook at Champion Mill with businesses along High Street and in the burgeoning Main Street entertainment district.
For one thing, a primary goal is to create economic activity in Hamilton from the tens of thousands of out-of-towners who can visit in a single weekend. The goal is to have those people walk — or take pedicabs or trolleys to nearby businesses — rather than getting in their cars and driving elsewhere for meals or entertainment.
“To do that, you need good sidewalks and lighting,” Spooky Nook developer SamBeiler said, “so people feel like they can see where they’re going and they feel safe in getting there.”
The street and sidewalk link “needs to be first and foremost safe,” Smith said. “And that comes from the lighting component of it. It needs to be clean, because people aren’t going to walk if it’s not.”
It also needs to be attractive, with landscaped areas that are well-maintained, he said. Otherwise, people will be “getting into their cars and driving, and creating additional traffic issues,” Smith said.
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