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Parishville man wants town board to look at crosswalk, sidewalk issues

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PARISHVILLE - David Nelson pleaded his case for the addition of a crosswalk and long overdue maintenance on his sidewalk as he shared a number of his concerns in a nearly 30-minute presentation Tuesday morning to the Parishville Town Board.

Mr. Nelson, 1807 state Highway 72, distributed numerous photographs that he took throughout the town recently, showing what he called “possible code violations.”

In addition to the photographs, Mr. Nelson shared some personal frustrations that led him to the town hall yesterday.

“I was downtown taking some pictures of possible code violations, when I saw a young man come down the street going to the post office. ... (After getting his mail) he left the sidewalk and he elected to cross the road. When he got to the side of the road, he looked left and right and there was a vehicle coming. He was holding the mail, the wind blew the mail out of his hands, went over his shoulder and he instinctively turned around, ran, and dove on them,” Mr. Nelson said.

“Well, if the wind had been blowing the other way... there was a car coming. It could have been a very traumatic experience to say the least. It could have killed that kid. ... That boy didn’t have a crosswalk option to cross, going to the post office.”

Mr. Nelson indicated that episodes in the past involving his son and elderly mother-in-law have raised his concerns as well.

“I’ve got another example. My mother-in-law is 84. She’s legally blind and no matter how much I tell her or (my wife) tells her not to go and get the mail, it doesn’t work,” Mr. Nelson said. “She had an experience a few weeks ago. She went to the edge of the road and she listened. She can hear vehicles and their tires on the bridge, so she didn’t hear any tires and she didn’t hear anything coming this way so she started on the road and she heard a car stop.

“She can see well enough to see the car stopped, so she proceeded to cross the front of the car. Another car behind that didn’t stop passed the stopped car. She stepped right out in front of it and that could have been a bad situation,” he added.

“I want to find out what process needs to be done to initiate the procedure to get somebody off their —- that takes care of (Rt.) 72 to put a sidewalk in there with signs that says ‘blind person.’ ... What I am asking is, who here can help? What procedure has to be followed to initiate the people that take care of 72 before something bad happens?”he asked.

Town Supervisor Jerry G. Moore noted that the issue had to be handled by the state Department of Transportation, but he would give Mr. Nelson contact information for the department.

Mr. Nelson continued his litany of concerns, pointing out problems that he was having with the code enforcement department.

“I went to great lengths to look up the building codes. It’s very difficult for people in the area to be aware of these changes and things that need to be complied with. Building codes themselves originally were for the whole area and to protect the public health and safety, but it’s morphed into much more than that,” he said.\

“It’s morphed into state control of other people’s properties. It’s morphed into laws that don’t have anything to do with health and safety but they’re still laws. And there has to be some degree of judgement when enforcing this law, over something that could kill someone,” he said.

“... The Americans With Disabilities Act, they have very specific rules on handicap parking. I think the sign (outside town hall) breaks every rule they’ve got. ... The ADA rules for handicap parking, these indicate that the parking lot across (town hall) should have parking spaces in there so big and for every 24, there should be a handicap parking space that’s (as) close to the main building as you can get it, that those handicap parking spaces have to exit into an access aisle. This handicap parking out here indicates that the parking is right on the sidewalk. That’s illegal. ... I think it’s a definite liability for the town to continue that sign out there.”

Before concluding his presentation to the board, Mr. Nelson addressed what he feels is long overdue maintenance on the sidewalk outside his residence, as well as other traffic concerns.

“The sidewalk that’s by my house, what’s the deal on that? The sidewalk by my place hasn’t been fixed since I’ve lived there, 40-something years. The building codes say sidewalks must be maintained. There’s a certain liability if they’re not,” he said.

“With the upcoming bicentennial, there’s going to be increased traffic in this town, a lot of it. I got pictures of the (Parishville) Museum here. If you look at the museum, there’s a sidewalk that comes out and there’s a step that just drops down. You’re going to have an awful lot of old people, mature people using that museum and I think from a liability standpoint, the town might want to look at doing something with that sidewalk.”

Mr. Nelson added that he realizes the challenges that Code Enforcement Officer Ronald Ferguson’s job entails, but he said he would like the board to look into his complaints.

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