Residents on both sides of a gap in pavement about the length of a car are speaking out about whether it should be open to traffic.
But the issue might already be moot. The dirt and gravel patch between Deepwood Drive and Red Barn Road in Nunda Township was opened Monday, four days after a public meeting on the matter that those in the surrounding neighborhoods called contentious.
The unpaved patch separates the Crystal Springs and Curling Pond Woods subdivisions from the Deerwood subdivision. In a public notice, the Nunda Township Road District said having a barrier delays emergency personnel, and hurts the efficiency of school buses, postal delivery and road maintenance.
But neighbors – specifically those on the east side of the barrier – raise concerns with Road Commissioner Mike Lesperance’s decision.
“My issue is the proximity of the high school,” said Judi Masini, who lives at 6419 Deerwood Drive. “What they’re going to create is a speedway from the high school [Prairie Ridge] to the northside neighborhoods.”
Lesperance didn’t return repeated calls for comment.
While some determined the road opening would create an atmosphere unlike what they’d signed up for in their usually quiet neighborhood, others simply wanted to see evidence to back a change.
Gwen Salvi, of 3503 Deep Wood Drive, on the east side of the barrier, said she could see advantages and disadvantages to connecting the subdivisions. But she raised issue with the fact neighbors haven’t been presented with the results of any sort of study that signifies the opening meets engineering standards.
“Everyone wants to get through to their place fast,” Salvi said. “But if it’s not safe, it’s not safe.”
Residents who went to the public meeting said there was a strong showing from those both for and against removing the barrier.
Tom Weiss, who lives at 6817 Red Barn Road, just west of the barrier, said he was happy with the decision to open it.
He said the barrier has caused confusion for those coming to his house using a GPS. But he said his main concern was the time it takes emergency vehicles to get to his house.
“It takes them an extra five minutes to come around this way,” Weiss said.
But some say that issue could be solved with an emergency vehicle pass gate. Nunda Township Fire Chief Bill Hoover said that would suffice for improved emergency personnel access.
“From where we stand at this point, we will work with either way that it comes out,” Hoover said. “We support more access to the area.”