Sometimes what is asked for manifests in unexpected ways. Drivers along Route 299 West in New Paltz were surprised last Thursday to discover that a new four-way stop sign had been installed at the intersection of Albany Post and Butterville roads. Locals, who had been complaining about the frequency of crashes along that stretch for years, ratcheted up their efforts in the wake of Gabriella O’Shea being struck and left to fend for herself last September. In particular, they and town leaders wanted to see the speed limit reduced to 45 mph, but state transportation officials denied that request. In response, county workers were directed to put up the new stop signs.
While it’s a shock to discover a stop sign along a 55 mph road, it’s not unprecedented. Four years ago one was installed on Lucas Avenue in the Town of Rochester at the intersection with Kyserike Road. Requests to reduce the speed on Lucas had also been ignored by state officials, who have all the authority on such questions.
New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez said at the town council meeting held that night, August 17, that he was only advised about the new sign at about 5 that afternoon. County planning department head Dennis Doyle advised in a letter that the intersection would be studied to determine if more safety measures need to be put in place. Additionally, $4.5 million has been secured to continue the shoulder-widening that now ends at Butterville Road to the western end of Route 299.