Circumventing the bypass

Around 40 years ago, New York State had a proposition for the town of Johnsburg. "Let us build a bypass around North Creek and we will swap you a garage for the town highway department."

The state's reasoning for wanting the bypass is pretty clear. It would expedite the movement of goods and people through the Rte. 28 corridor.

But what are the consequences for Johnsburg, and especially for North Creek?

Four decades past, the implications are easily observable.

On the positive side, North Creek's Main Street is fairly uncongested. Big rigs don't roar through town like they do in other area communities. The bypass has certainly facilitated peace and quiet.

But on the flip side the lack of traffic also translates to a reduction in commerce. While working on a story on the issue, I talked with several tourists who said they didn't even know North Creek existed. Others said it was almost impossible to find.

They had driven right by, unsuccessfully looking for the community for one reason or another. Several had driven all the way to Indian Lake before stopping for directions.

The concept of a bypass is often foreign to Northeastern tourists. As they make their way through the Adirondacks, they pass through town after town - stopping at red lights and passing hundreds of businesses. Why should they expect anything different in Johnsburg?

In many ways the bypass concept - the business loop - is a Midwestern model that doesn't translate well to the downstate demographic which we typically market to.

I think it's fair to assume that the Rte. 28 bypass has cost North Creek businesses and residents millions in lost revenue.

The Ski Bowl Interconnect received funding last month, and this is seen by some as the potential fix to the bypass issue.

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