Group wants Rail Trail cross traffic to slow down
NORTH EAST â€” The town of North East received a request from the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) earlier this month to reduce the speed limit on roads crossing the Rail Trail for safety reasons; that written request was read aloud at the boardâ€™s business meeting on Thursday, Dec. 10. A prepared resolution accompanied the letter.
â€œA reduction of the speed limit along with signage along the road should help to insure safety at the crossings,â€ wrote HVRTA Administrative Director Lisa DeLeeuw.
Three North East crossings were referred to: Upper Sharon Station Road, Lower Sharon Station Road and Coleman Station Road. Town Supervisor Dave Sherman told the board the matter had already been addressed before that nightâ€™s meeting.
â€œWe did have a meeting of the Highway Committee this afternoon [Dec. 10], and recommended that we engage the Dutchess County Department of Public Works [DPW] to look at this request and to get their input,â€ he said, adding that a similar request was sent to the town of Amenia as well. â€œSince these are county highways we would like to talk to them first. My office and the superintendent of highways will get in contact with the DPW first.â€
A request was read that same night at the Amenia Town Board meeting. That request was made in identical fashion to the one in North East; likewise it also included a resolution for the board to consider passing to reduce the speed limit legally. That resolution requested that four road crossings of the HVRT in the town of Amenia be posted at 25 mph for the safety of Rail Trail users. Those four Amenia roads include: Sheffield Road, Mechanic Street, Old Route 22 and Dunn Road.
The speed of traffic on cross roads along the Rail Trail has long been an issue for the linear park, which is a destination point for walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters and other outdoor enthusiasts from around the Tri-state region.
The roads that run across the Rail Trail that are not posted with speed limit signs default to the state speed limit, as deemed by New York State law. In the Empire State that means motorists can legally drive at a speed of 55 mph on those roads â€” something the Rail Trail Association clearly worries about.
â€œThe safety of trail users is paramount in our mission,â€ DeLeeuw stated, adding she is hopeful that both towns will adopt the submitted resolutions in a timely and cooperative manner on behalf of all who enjoy the park, which is recognized as one of the Harlem Valleyâ€™s most attractive resources to residents and visitors alike.