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Potsdam trustees discuss crosswalk complaints

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POTSDAM - The busy Main Street crosswalk in front of the Roxy Theater was once again a cause for concern at Monday’s village board meeting.

The crosswalk is located on a busy stretch of street, and is frequently travelled by pedestrians trying to get to and from the large municipal parking lot across from the theater, which leads to frequent complaints from walkers who say cars will not slow down or stop for them, said village trustee Eleanor F. Hopke.

She suggested installing brighter lights near the crosswalk to improve visibility.

“Especially in the winter, when we’re wearing black jackets, it’s hard to see,” she said.

Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis said National Grid installed the existing lights, and he could talk to the company to see if replacing them with something brighter is possible.

He suggested, however, low visibility plays a small role in the crosswalk’s dangerous reputation. “That’s a crosswalk that frequently has problems in the middle of the day, in bright light,” he said.

Any changes to the road itself, such as the addition of new signs or flashing lights, are almost out of the question, according to Village Administrator David H. Fenton. Main Street is part of Route 11, a state highway, and the state Department of Transportation is unlikely to approve any changes to the road unless all other options have failed, including increased enforcement, Mr. Fenton said.

“The DOT is very hesitant to make changes to the actual highway until several things happen,” he said.

In 2012 police responded to complaints by cracking down on drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians. The area is still frequently patrolled, and tickets are regularly handed out to those who ignore the rules, but the complaints keep coming in, Potsdam Police Chief Kevin M. Bates said.

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