New Paltz Bike/Ped Committee recommends safety precautions after near-fatal

New Paltz Bike/Ped Committee members (L-R): Dan Lipson, Judy Mage, Bill Weinstein, Justin Dates. (photo by Rich Corozine)

New Paltz Bike/Ped Committee members (L-R): Dan Lipson, Judy Mage, Bill Weinstein, Justin Dates. (photo by Rich Corozine)

All it ever takes is a tragedy. Or a near tragedy. In this case the New Paltz Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee was reacting to the near-fatal accident to a well-known New Paltzian who was severely injured out on the flats (Route 299 near Wallkill View Farm) a couple of weeks ago. She lost control of her bike riding along the shoulder of the heavily-traveled road and was thrown off, suffering a serious head injury. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. She is recovering, but the accident has spurred the Committee to issue its Rules of the Road recommendations to the town and village.

“It only points up the fact that everyone should wear a helmet,” says Bike/Ped Committee chairman Bill Weinstein. “But it also points out the fact that there should be bike lanes out there and at many other places in the town and village.” The committee (born out of the Transportation and Land Use Committee — consisting of Weinstein, Judy Mage, Justin Dates, Dan Lipson, Peter Kaufman, Pamela St. John and Alan Stout, with outgoing village liaison Ariana Basco and incoming liaison Rebecca Rotzler, plus Village Planner Kurt Lavalla — are all on the same page on this. “Unfortunately, regardless of this, there is no emphasis on the bicycle in our town,” adds Weinstein, “there is quite simply no room for bikes on the main roads in town. And we never see the Town liaison. You see, New Paltz and the county are behind other places in implementing pro-bicycling policies.”


So, outside of setting recommendations for Rules of the Road, what else does the Bike/Ped Committee look at as their “turf”?

“Well, we created a sidewalk master plan for the creation of new crosswalks,” says Weinstein. “And we got the South Putt Corners project — to put shoulders on both sides of the road — going again in 2010. Judy got 850 signatures for that one, sent them to Mike Hein (county executive), with Ken Wishnick (Ulster legislator) and Tom Weiner (Department of Transportation) finding Fed money for it. Working with Dennis Doyle (Ulster Planner) to also add a left-turn lane into the high school. It’s still in the design phase.”

Other projects are a crosswalk by the Mulberry Square Apartment complex off Henry DuBois Drive. “Shirley Warren and Sheyda Eversley brought it to our attention the number of senior citizens who live there and need a crosswalk. They petitioned the village and town to get this done. We’ll get it done.”

Other ideas floated and acted upon by the New Paltz Bike/Ped Committee is a letter through State Senator John Bonacic to the governor protesting the lack of clarity concerning bicycles or pedestrians in the State’s Draft Capital Planning Document for Transportation. “We called and sent letters, but there was no response from Albany until Bonacic got involved. Both the mayor and the supervisor and their boards have been supportive of this effort. But, as it is, it’s still open-ended.”

“Our main purpose is to figure out how to bring safer biking and walking into the community,” says Weinstein. “The Southern Ulster Alliance (of Town Supervisors) created a feasibility study back in the 1990’s about the ‘golden linkage — linking the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to Highland and the Walkway Over the Hudson, which will help, but we need even more involvement from the town and village to better promote biking and walking and to institute changes. One of our main concerns is making safe routes for kids to bike or walk to school. Installing new and/or better sidewalks and a biking infrastructure, especially as regarding the schools, but we need the school district to be interested. [Police] chief Joe Snyder has also been very supportive in this, especially in setting up the electric sign at the entrance to New Paltz (by the Thruway) to stop for bikers and pedestrians and not to use cellphones while driving.”

“What we want here in New Paltz are safe bike routes around town, safe routes to the schools, more bike racks around town and committee involvement when road changes are discussed by the town and village,” adds Weinstein.


There are 3 comments

  1. Ron Turner

    It was me, Ron Turner, chairman of the Public Safety Committe of the Town 10 years ago, who photographed the broken, bent and busted guard rails over Tributary 13. The committee submitted those photos of mine along with a letter to the highway authorities, who came in and dropped down the concrete bumpers, and then left. One, two, three. The fact that the roadway was narrowed seemed to the powers that be a trade off for keeping the 18 wheelers from going through what was left of the steel guard rails into Tributary 13. Imagine that? Well, I did, anyways.
    So what happens, the committee of public safety turned into, well you. And what, in your great collective wisdom, do you execute? You actually put up a sign inviting pedestrians and bicycle riders into a confined area with 18 wheeler trucks rolling in both directions, just because you found out you could get a free sign saying “Share The Roadway.” Whatever happened to “Stop, look and listen.” Anybody with a brain in their cranium would get off their bike and portage around this most dangerous area. Not you? So the steel guard rails have replace the concrete bunkers, and the road is wider again, but no less dangerous. So keep that “Share the Roadway”sign there, so when you have to use it as a stretcher for the injured who have tried to squeeze in between the traffic on their bikes and didn’t make it, it will be at hand.
    If you want to do something intelligent and useful, you know where Moriello Park and Pool are. Church and Mulberry Streets? There is not a single sign yet that says “Children Ahead”, “Wheelchair Crossing”, “5 MPH”, “Traffic Hazard” as Mulberry street is 15 feet wide and there is no room with a car going in each direction at 30 mph? And the handicapped entrance only sign has been removed by Supervisor Zimet, it is laying thrown over on the side of the fence, and everybody and their brother uses the handicapped only entrance? Well, once the town and village took away the public picnic area with gate fence and locks and privatized it for the pool people, what did you expect.
    But mulberry and church is a traffic hazard, and there is not a single sign even saying “Caution”? And that is just for the drivers who are not on cell phones.

  2. ron Turner

    And if you need money, remember, the Village of New Paltz has not charged recreation fees to a developer since before Mulberry Square on Henry W. went in. Get it? If you need money for Mulberry Square, the developer paid no recreation fees for any of those apartments, nor anywheres else, anybody else, since then. There is your money for public safety.

    You know that little triangular patch of land at Church and Henry W. on the Southeast corner, the one parcel that has no sidewalk in either direction? That parcel of land belongs to the Village of New Paltz. The Village of New Paltz owns the triangular piece of land on the southeast corner of Church and Henry W. Why no sidewalks? Well the house at 66 Church Street is an illegal rooming house that needs the sidewalk area for its illegal tenant parking. (Why illegal? It is a commercial lodging service that the assessment books say is “non-commercial”. Look it up.) If a sidewalk was put in on Church and Henry W next to this illegal rooming house, the sidewalk, obviously would have to be continued past 66 Church Street to connect in front of Briarwood apartments sidewalk. Well, you can’t have that for rooming house owners, legal or not? So the village forces pedestrian into the dangerous streets there in order not to upset the owner of number 66, who would have no place to park his tenants. Can you fix that, Pedestrian Committe and get in a sidewalk and to hell with the landlords.

  3. ron Turner

    I looked up two of your members in the assessment roll books, andfound this:

    1) Alan Stout, owns a 483 on North Front that pays no commercial property tax rate on the business there. The tax rate for an income producing property he owns pays the same property tax rate as anybody living in a house with their wife kids and dog. It is the same property tax rate for both, which doesn’t help the residential property taxpayer at all.

    2) judy Mage owns a “280” on Huguenot street, multiple residences with 4 beds and 4 baths, and gets a STAR exemption as well. That is fraud.

Comments are closed.