Letters: Woodstockers weigh in on traffic woes

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Mick and the traffic

A few comments on the article “Woodstock seeks solution to summer gridlock.” The reporter should have contacted part-time traffic monitor Dominick Scalercio to get his response to the statement that Scalercio’s handling of traffic on summer weekends “didn’t seem to help with the traffic flow.” When Scalercio was on duty, drivers stopped at the crosswalks. He made sure that all pedestrians — including strollers, free-range kids and dogs — crossed safely. Traffic congestion was alleviated by his systematic way of directing traffic coming from three different directions — Rock City Road, Tinker Street, Mill Hill Road — and his attention to the nearly constant blockage of Old Forge Road despite a sign prohibiting it.

Under the current system of anarchy, traffic rules are scoffed at. Crossing the street has become a near-death experience, as I discovered last weekend when an SUV with out of state plates nearly hit me even though I was midway through the intersection crosswalk.

Traffic problems are exacerbated by inexperienced drivers.

A perusal of the police blotter shows that 97 vehicular accidents, including 17 personal injury accidents were reported in Woodstock between January 1, 2017 and July 14, 2017. One entry was noted “car vs. ped,” but I’m told there were other such collisions that would fall under the personal injury category. Also, there were several reports of “eratic” and “reckless” drivers, three cases of “hit and run” and more parking complaints than I had the patience to count.


Mick, as he is known to his friends, is very conscientious about his work as a traffic monitor for numerous events in the Town of Woodstock. He has worked along with the State Police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

Olivia Twine, Woodstock


The view from my side of the street

I’ll tell you just what it’s like to direct traffic on the Village Green on a busy weekend, when car exhaust is unrelenting. First, it’s necessary to contend with the total disregard of traffic regulations, speed limits (15 MPH by the Mobil station), and “no parking” signs, all while traffic and pedestrians come at you from three different directions. Pedestrians don’t always use crosswalks, and Old Forge Road is frequently blocked with vehicles despite the sign that says “Do Not Block the Intersection.”

Service vehicles stop on Rock City Road, Mill Hill and Tinker Street, causing a narrowing of the thoroughfare. Impatient motorists trying to go around service vehicles encounter on-coming traffic head-on, causing traffic to stop. Should I mention drivers wanting to make a left turn from Rock City Road onto Tinker Street? Pedestrians wanting to get across the street find it necessary to walk outside the crosswalk. How about vehicles running over State Law signs that say pedestrians have the right-of-way when in the crosswalk. Drivers refuse to stop and see what they’ve done. It’s also happened at Bradley Meadows, where we now have a pedestrian sign.

Now let me tell you how I got into all of this traffic stuff. In anticipation of the 1994 Woodstock festival held in Saugerties, former Woodstock police chief Paul Ragonese asked for volunteers to help with anticipated traffic. We would go through 90 hours of Auxiliary Police training held at Ulster County Community College over two weekends. I attended and earned an Auxiliary Police badge issued by the Town of Woodstock, and my uniform. There were 14 of us. It turned out that the town didn’t have a problem at all. In fact, Woodstock was really quiet during the festival in Saugerties.

Eventually, most of the members of the Auxiliary Police disbanded. I was the last one to leave. We had a new police chief, Edwin Brewster, who said I was no longer needed. Since then, I have worked in the capacity of a traffic monitor for different events in Woodstock and other towns. My most recent assignment, July 8, was directing traffic from Route 28 heading east and west into the Basin Road “Y” intersection for the HITS Triathlon Series. Last year I worked in the same capacity at the same station for the same event, also in cooperation with the New York State Police Association. I am a member of the New York State Fire Police Association.

Dominick (Mick) Scalercio, Woodstock


Fining traffic blocking trucks

Anyone who has spent much time driving through Woodstock has seen the delivery trucks that regularly block traffic along Rt. 212. I have often wondered whether these traffic-blocking stops are legal, especially in cases where the driver exits the vehicle, pulls down a ramp, and ties up traffic for ten or fifteen minutes. In any case, it was nice to read that the Town Board considered this problem in its recent meeting. But it was disappointing that they didn’t consider a simple solution that has been used in many places around the world: restrict traffic-blocking deliveries to some fixed time period (e.g., between 5 and 9 in the morning). Of course, there would need to be an introductory phase in which drivers and the businesses they serve are given warnings. Afterward, appropriate fines could be given to the drivers and the businesses. After all, if the Town sanctions fining people $150 for parking illegally at the base of Ohayo Mtn. Road, what objection could there be to fining traffic-blocking delivery trucks on the main road through Woodstock? Just a thought.

Luke Hunsberger, Shady


Comments from the traffic article’s Facebook post

This isn’t too hard. Traffic lights. One at the corner of 375 and 212 and another at the green. By the green it doesn’t need to be an ugly hang across the street–it can be those quaint ones on a post. Oh, and cross walk signs for tourists to safely cross the street. Yes, I am a resident. And perhaps the bus can loop into the parking lot, thereby NOT blocking the street. -Marianna Boncek

There are crosswalks for pedestrians but today people were crossing wherever they damn pleased. This is dangerous. A light at the green makes perfect sense as well as one at 375 and 212. -Alice Graves

Or, for quaintness and all that and to satisfy the no-trafficlight brigade Have a couple of highly expressive traffic cops doing their thing to keep traffic flowing, pedestrians pedesti-ing and everybody happy and quaint.
Yeah, that’s right, one of those real dramatic and HIGHLY VISIBLE traffic cops we’ve all seen here or there, certainly viewed virally on youtube. -Dave Ghent

When I go into town on the weekends I noticed that the crowds and traffic start building up by 11 am. I prefer going to Woodstock during the weekdays. It can be very challenging to turn left out of the Bank of America parking lot. It has gotten harder as the years go by. Maybe a light at the corner of 375 and 212 would help as someone else suggested. -Susan Houldin

No lights! 3 way stop signs should help the snarl at 212 and LH Blvd. Add off street parking and eliminate parking on tinke street. then add bike lanes. Add bike parking. Encourage more bicycles in general. -Billy Jones

There might be a better way but this town already has municipal police, state police, and sheriff vehicles crisscrossing literally every few minutes on weekends and all of them competing for far too small a take of the revenue since there simply are not enough bad guys to go around. TO HELL WITH ANY FURTHER NEW JERSIFICATION OF UPSTATE NY OR WOODSTOCK. The last thing this town needs is someone else writing still more tickets. Stop allowing state police and sheriffs to pull over cars and ticket and arrest while municipal police are on duty on the same stretch of road first. -Paul Escudero