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Mon., Aug. 31
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Potsdam town officials discuss speed limit issues on River Road


POTSDAM - A Norwood man’s petition to slow down drivers in the Potsdam-Norwood area is heading up the governmental ladder.

The Potsdam Town Board this week discussed the petition to reduce speeds from 55 to 45 miles per hour on the River Road, a 7.5 mile stretch that parallels state Route 56 between Norwood and Raymondville.

The document was presented with 66 signatures last month by Norwood resident William Amberman, who lives on the road. It has been forwarded to state officials by Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan.

“If you look at the layout of the road, this is not a road that any of us feel is designed for 55,” Mr. Amberman said the day after this week’s town board meeting. “These days you’re getting more traffic on it. You’re seeing more and more people use River Road as opposed to 56. If you say 45, maybe they’ll slow down to 50.”

There are portions of the road (which goes from Potsdam to Norfolk) that range from a 35 miles per hour speed zone to 55.

“When I went around (collecting signatures), virtually everyone was interested. Many of them had stories about experiences on that road,” Mr. Amberman said. “There’s a fair number of kids and houses along the road too, and it’s like free rein out there. Not everybody goes too fast out there but some of them do.”

While Mr. Amberman’s paperwork was just sent to the state this week, Councilwoman Rosemaria Rivezzi questioned why they would deny the request.

“Why does New York state care about reducing speed limits on certain roads?” she asked.

“The state of New York controls all of the speed. There’s no town, no county that controls it,” Highway Superintendent John A. Keleher said.

“So why do they stop issuing and making those changes at requests of towns and villages?” Ms. Rivezzi said.

“I don’t know,” Mr. Keleher responded.

Ms. Regan said that she recently talked with the Department of Transportation and they were concerned over differing municipality views through the stretch of roads.

“So people would be traveling and it would be 45 and then it’s 40, then it’s 35 - they feel that that’s more unsafe than them controlling it and trying to keep it fairly level,” she said.

“The big problem is there’s nobody to police it,” Town Attorney Francis P. Cappello said. “They’ve done it on the back Hannawa Road - Route 59 is where we got that changed. It was 55 there and I saw trucks going 75 or 80, and they were probably safe, but boy if they ever had to hit their brakes they’re going to run right through a house that’s pretty close to the road.”

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