A handful of Washington Avenue residents turned out for the August 21 village of Saugerties public hearing on lowering the speed limit on the busy road that leads from Main Street to the high school/middle school campus, the Cantine Field complex and the HITS show grounds.
All those who spoke said they were in favor of lowering the speed limit from 30 m.p.h. to 25 m.p.h. in the hopes of slowing drivers down. “It’s a speedway,” said resident Tony Elia.
The village Department of Public Works recently repaved the road. The residents now say the drivers go even faster.
In addition to reducing the speed limit, the DPW has painted crosswalks to let drivers know that kids walk along the road on their way to school. They have painted “Slow” signs on the road, and intend to paint a yellow strip down the middle of the road.
“It’s wonderful what you did,” said resident Mary Frank. “The Slow sign is very cute. But it needs to be enforced.” She said all her neighbors totally support the lowering of the speed limit.
Mayor William Murphy said the village trustees want to create a school zone along Washington Avenue on both sides of the high school campus. That will allow a lowering of the speed limit to 15 m.p.h. during pre- and post-school hours.
“But like the residents said, we need it to be enforced,” the mayor added.
Police chief Joseph Sinagra said that his department ran a radar detail along the road that showed most drivers were only going between 28 and 33 m.p.h. While police would write tickets for those going 33 in the 30-m.p.h. zone, the other speeds were too low to write tickets for.
With a lower speed limit, Sinagra said, the police could enforce 30 m.p.h. and above.
Other residents suggested stop signs at some of the intersections. Sinagra said the state forbids municipalities from doing this. “Stop signs can’t be used to regulate speed,” he explained.
Speed bumps are illegal. However, he said, “education and enforcement will work.”
Making Robinson Street one way running from Washington Avenue to Market Street might help. Vehicles from Robinson would no longer be allowed to exit onto Washington, and would have to go onto Market Street.
DPW supervisor Robert Fanelli said he would also be adding two more speed limit signs along Washington Avenue. There are currently two speed limit signs on each side of Washington Avenue between Main Street and the high school. Soon there will be three on each side.