CLINTON — Everyone speeds at some time or another, but the side street named New Street, between Brimfield and Kellogg streets in the Village of Clinton is becoming not so much a nuisance, but a safety concern according to area residents.
New Street homeowners went before the Town of Kirkland Council to voice their grievance on Wednesday, March 11, bringing the board a drafted letter with their complaints spelled out.
“There are no sidewalks on New Street so people are forced to walk in the street,” said Michael Zielinski, who resides in the 3900 block of New Street.
Drivers use the side street to avoid Route 12B ( Utica Street) and since there’s no stop signs or other speed enforcement device drivers ignore the speed limit signs and drive down the road at breakneck speeds.
We believe a three-way stop sign at the T-intersection of Beatty and New could resolve the problem.”
Town of Kirkland
Highway Superintendent Jon Scott said it’s not that easy.
“You cant just drop a stop sign into a roadway,” Scott said.
“You have to conduct a traffic study and all that has to be performed by a civil engineer. The town or village or perhaps both,would have to support it because the street runs through both the town and the village, they would need to hire a firm to take care of that before anything could be done,” Scott added.
Scott offered a statement in a passage from a report filed February 2005 from the Office of Legislative Research on behalf of the Standards Governing Use of Stop Signs of Municipalities.
“STOP” signs and other types of signs, traffic lights, road markings, and any other device that is used to regulate, warn, or guide traffic are “traffic control devices.”
Several decades ago, Congress determined that uniformity in the use and display of traffic control devices was an important federal interest and passed laws requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop and adopt uniform standards for these devices. These standards currently exist in a document known as the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The U.S. transportation secretary has decreed under authority granted by the Highway Safety Act of 1966 that traffic control devices on all streets and highway open to public travel in each state must be in “substantial conformance” with the standards issued and endorsed in the manual.
The posted speed limit on New Street is 30 mph.
Zielinski said he’s stood on his front porch and watched people begin to brake in front of his house in order to stop at the intersection at Brimfield Street which is about 500 feet from his front door.
Zielinski and fellow resident Gena Hasburgh came up with other proposed solutions.
*Reduce speed to 25 m.p.h.
*Install permanent or temporary speed bumps
* Install a permanent radar speed sign
*Have the police sit in their driveway to monitor the traffic.
*Install a traffic counter
“I’m very surprised there hasn’t been an accident on that street,” Zielinski said. “Especially at the intersection of Beatty Ave and New Steet which is right in the middle of New Street. People from Beatty Ave. have to cross New Street to get to their mailboxes and sometimes, especially at night, in the winter, it just isn’t safe.”
Town of Kirkland Supervisor Robert J. Meelan said he’d have to confer with Mayor Steven J. Bellona, but perhaps a speed reduction on the street could help with the problem.
Bellona said he’s aware of the problem and asked Kirkland Police Administrative Officer Shawn Occhipinti to investigate the thoroughfare for speeders and reckless drivers. Also, what the number of vehicles is on that stretch of road during peak times.
“I wish I could just drop the speed limit trailer up there,” Occhipinti said. “ But with the ground so soft just now I cant put it on anyones lawn, even if they’d let me. The other thing is the road is so narrow it could obstruct traffic.”
Occipinti said New Street is so narrow that sometimes it only seems as if people are speeding. Thirty-five m.p.h. on a small road can seem like 50 m.p.h. if you don’t have a speed gun.
Village of Clinton Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Rockwell agreed with Bellona in the fact that at least a local study by law enforcement of traffic patterns and driving habits would certainly need to be conducted before any further action could be taken.
New Street resident Kathy Palazzoli said the speeding problem on her street has been a problem for years.
“It’s a street that’s used to get from one side of town to the other,” Palazzoli said. “Especially when they don’t want to go into town. it is a problem and we’ve had it for years. Residents walk their dogs on this street and it can be dangerous. Kids walk to school on this street and right across the street from me is a 6-year-old boy named Stevie, so yes, there are kids on the street with no where to walk because there is no sidewalk. And the kids from Brimfield Street use our street to ride their bikes- so there are children out there. It is a problem.”
And Palazzoli said the problem has gotten worse over the years she and her family have lived there, which is over 40 years now. And is afraid it’s not going to get any better until someone gets hurt or worse.
“I think it’s because there are more people with cars,” she said. And with the development of communities up Kellogg and Brimfield streets There’s definitely more cars.”
Hasburgh made her point pretty succinctly by saying she heard one of neighbors refer to the street in a way that truly brings the point home.
“They called New Street the Autobahn,” she said. There are families with children, and elderly residents who live on this street and it’s become a speedway.”