New Main Street shuttle begins
LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid’s new shuttle service started rolling on Thursday, July 1.
The shuttle, which brings riders from the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society’s History Museum on Station Street to Main Street and back, was launched in an effort to entice construction crews to move their vehicles off Main Street and open up parking spaces to visitors. Local officials also hoped the shuttle would act as a replacement for parking spaces that will be displaced by construction work in municipal lots along Main Street over the next few weeks.
The shuttle is free, can accommodate up to 18 passengers at a time and will operate seven days a week. Service is expected to stop just after Labor Day.
The Essex County Transportation Department, which is operating the new shuttle, is working on launching a cellphone app that will show riders the location of the shuttle and how long it’ll be until it circles around again. As of Thursday, the county hadn’t launched the app, according to county Transportation Coordinator Doreen Abrahamsen.
“We have a little more work to do with it before it’s put in place,” she said.
Regardless, riders can expect the shuttle to circle around in 15- to 20-minute intervals, with set stops at the historical museum, the Olympic Center complex, the municipal parking lot across from NBT Bank, and the north end of Main Street near One Main Park and Players sports bar.
Riders can catch the shuttle between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Placid Xprss, Lake Placid’s existing shuttle service, is operating this summer as usual. Riders can catch that shuttle between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, there’s an abbreviated schedule and the Placid Xprss runs from only 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Abrahamsen.
The Placid Xprss route circles between the Olympic Jumping Complex and Price Chopper off Saranac Avenue. It stops at multiple hotels along the way, the Greenwood apartment building, Cascade Acres, the Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center and at several locations along Main Street.
The Placid Xprss has what’s called a deviated route, meaning there could be more stops depending on where people want to go along its route. The new shuttle will have a set schedule and should be faster, according to Abrahamsen. After the new shuttle stops service at 6 p.m., riders should be able to catch the Placid Xpress back to the historical museum parking lot.
Riders on both shuttles, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask, according to Abrahamsen. That’s a federal rule that remains in place despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent lifting of many other state COVID-19 regulations.
Both shuttles are handicap accessible.
Abrahamsen said the county hopes riders will start using the new shuttle service.
“We want to be able to alleviate some of the traffic on Main Street,” she said. “We’re hoping it’s a success.”
Two weeks ago, there were massive, gaping holes along Main Street as construction crews continued replacing water lines and laterals below the surface. There were swaths of the road that were unpaved. But last week, for the first time since April, Main Street began to look somewhat normal.
Main Street has been patched up. Traffic detours have been removed, a temporary traffic light at the intersection of Olympic Drive and Main Street has been turned off, and two-way traffic along Main Street has been restored.
In the next few weeks, construction crews will be working on installing a bioretention basin and a new Redi-Rock retaining wall at the lower parking lot across from NBT Bank, temporarily displacing about 20 parking spaces; then installing a bioretention basin near the intersection of Main Street and Olympic Drive, temporarily displacing about 50 spaces in the large municipal lot. Work will also continue at One Main Park by the Saranac Avenue intersection, displacing seven permit parking spaces.
Mayor Art Devlin said last month that most of the construction should done by the end of July, but some parts of the construction will go into the first week of August.
“Really, the only thing that goes into the first five days of August is some work in One Main Street park,” he said.
By allowing the construction company to continue for a few more weeks, Devlin said they may be able to shave off a year of work from the project timeline and complete the Main Street project by fall 2022 rather than fall 2023.
Lake Placid’s Main Street project is a multi-million dollar, multi-year project that will change the aesthetics, water infrastructure, environmental impact, pedestrian experience and on-street parking availability of this region’s busiest business district. As part of the project, old water pipes are being rebuilt, the storm drainage system along the street is being redesigned to better protect Mirror Lake from stormwater runoff, and the street’s look will change with new sidewalks, more visible crosswalks and green space.
The village has a Main Street project page on its website at http://villageoflakeplacid.ny.gov/content/generic/view/141. Locals and visitors can sign up for daily construction updates there.