November 30, 2021

Tompkins County planners collect Rt. 13 comments

Gathering opinions

Travis Dunn/staff reporter

Susan Charland, left, writes down suggestions relayed to her by fellow consultant Jen Topa, as Kelly Daley talks with Anna Lamb during a drop-in session held Thursday at Brewer’s Cafe and Tap House at 1384 Dryden Road. The session marks the beginning of a Tompkins County study of a nine-mile stretch of Route 13 between Lansing and Dryden.

DRYDEN — Route 13 and Johnson and Yellow Barn roads: If a consensus emerged Thursday morning, it was that this intersection presents a safety problem.

Three consecutive people brought up the intersection during a drop-in session Thursday at Brewer’s Cafe and Tap Room at 1384 Dryden Road.

The session, hosted by representatives of Rochester-based Highland Consulting, was intended to collect opinions about needed changes for Route 13 as the Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability and the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council begin a study of a nine-mile stretch of the state highway extending from Lansing to the village of Dryden.

Between 2000 and 2017, Dryden’s population grew 10.1%, double the growth rate of Ithaca, U.S. Census data show. Once Dryden runs low on space to develop, the next stop is likely Cortlandville, which saw a 4.3% increase between 2000 and 2017. Route 13 is the primary conduit between those communities.

Dennis Mix, co-owner of Mix Brothers, a trucking company on Johnson Road, said his dump truck drivers routinely run into problems on Route 13 when they try to make left turns onto Johnson Road when they are heading west. Vehicles behind the trucks go around them on the shoulder without slowing down.

“You have people doing 70 miles per hour through here,” Mix said. “A lot of accidents happen on that intersection.”

Mix would like to a traffic light installed.

But while other motorists also expressed concern about the same intersection, not everyone agreed on a solution.

How to get involved

  • To learn about the Route 13 study and provide input, go to:
  • To offer an opinion online, take the survey at
  • If you would like to get involved with the project, email Susan Charland at or call 585- 287-2755.

Randy Sterling, a former mayor for the village of Dryden, said he’d like to see a roundabout put in. This suggestion is not out of keeping with Route 13, he said — Newfield has one, and Horseheads has two.

“You don’t move traffic effectively by stopping it but by slowing it down,” Sterling said. “That way everybody moves.”

Tompkins County Legislator Mike Lane (D-Dryden) had another area on his mind: the stretch of road right outside Brewer’s Cafe and Tap Room. Lane would like to see Route 13 converted to four lanes for the portion where the highway overlaps with Route 366. He said widening the road might not be necessary, because the shoulders were already quite wide.

“But I’m not an engineer,” he said.

Engineers and planners, however, will be the ultimate recipients of the information collected Thursday, as Tompkins County plans out the future of Route 13.

But motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are the ones giving the input, and consultants will continue to collect more opinions. Consultants said they will continue to drop in on business along Route 13 and would return if they didn’t catch everyone on Thursday.

Lane encouraged anyone who uses the road to take a survey.

“We’re not talking just locals, we’re talking commuters,” he said.