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NNCS to request speed study in vicinity of school campus


NORFOLK - Norwood-Norfolk Central School officials plan to petition the state Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit on state Route 56 in the vicinity of the school.

The current speed limit for the area is 45 miles per hour.

Scott L. Freeman, a landscape architect with Keplinger Freeman Associates LLC, East Syracuse, is working with the district to reconfigure the campus parking lot as part of the project. Mr. Freeman told board of education members during a work session this week that he and Superintendent James M. Cruikshank have already met with a Department of Transportation representative to talk about their concerns.

“Two weeks ago Jamie and I had a meeting with the Department of Transportation” to discuss stopping distance and sight distance, Mr. Freeman said, noting those two issues were “problematic.”

Mr. Cruikshank said among the problems was slowing down to turn right into the school parking while northbound on Route 56.

“If you don’t go off the shoulder, traffic is on your tail,” he said.

“The entrance to the elementary is right at the crest of the hill. You have sight distance problems at 45 miles an hour,” board member David Flint said.

Mr. Cruikshank said he had spoken with Norfolk Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice, who said he would consider supporting the move if a change in speed was necessary. The decision will rest with the Department of Transportation, according to Mr. Freeman.

“There’s some things that need to happen,” he said. “The reason we had an early meeting with the Department of Transportation is because it cannot happen without Department of Transportation involvement. The door is open. This could happen, but it’s going to take some work.”

Michael R. Flick, public information officer for DOT Region 7, which covers the north country, said each request for a study is taken on a case-by-case basis and given similar consideration.

“They are all looked at with equal merit. None of them are dismissed. Typically, if we have a request for a speed zone change, traffic light, those types of things, they all go through a similar process,” he said.

The request will come into the department’s Traffic and Safety Office initially, Mr. Flick said.

“At that point, our Traffic and Safety folks take a look at it,” examining areas such as the location of the primary entrance, if it’s on or off a state highway, the proximity to intersections, sight distance and the overall geometry, he said.

“All those things get weighed in,” he said.

DOT representatives also consult with the New York State Police to get their thoughts on whether the request should be granted or studied further, according to Mr. Flick.

“If it’s on a state highway, they’re going to have to enforce it,” he said. “If it warrants reduction, we typically grant that.”

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