Accidents happen. But New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has been working hard to see that they happen less. When community residents who travel on Route 9 between the Annsville Circle in Cortlandt Manor and into Putnam County approached the assemblywoman about a recent spate of fatal accidents, she listened. Galef alerted the State Department of Transportation (DOT) to this area of the road, and they followed up by conducting a detailed traffic study of the area.
“The State Department of Transportation has taken significant action on this patch of road in my Assembly district. I am grateful for local residents who came forward to bring this to my attention, and to the Department for their action to create safer roadways in the state,” said Galef.
Although the DOT’s findings did not produce greater than normal accident results, they did notice a pattern of crashes involving vehicles crossing the center line of the roadway, and some of these crashes were clustered near specific intersections. As a result of these findings, the DOT developed an action plan which included placing rumble strips on the center line from the Route 9 split near Jean Drive to a point just north of the Putnam County line, in the Town of Philipstown. Placing rumble strips, known as MIARDS, on the center line is a new and innovative approach to road safety. They create a loud noise when automobile tires roll over them, which alert drivers that they are straying from their side of the road. The rumble strips were recently installed.
"Centerline rumble strips are gaining momentum nationally and internationally as an effective countermeasure for rural roadway fatal and injury crashes. NYSDOT is optimistic this innovative treatment will reduce the number and severity of incidents along this section of Route 9," said William Gorton, NYSDOT’s Region 8 Director.
Additional actions the DOT is working on include extending the 45 mile per hour speed limit on Route 9 north of the Annsville Circle to a point north of where Route 9 intersects Jack Road, replacing existing warning signage along Route 9 with new signs, as the study noted that the current signs were worn and in need of replacement, and installing flashing beacons on intersection warning signs at the approaches to Route 9 in the vicinity of Susan Lane and Jack Road.
Other improvements include relocating the “Stop Ahead” sign on the northbound Highland Street approach to Route 9 to a point closer to the intersection, placing a new sign on the northbound Highland Street approach to Route 9 which will read, “Be Prepared to Stop,” and adding new pavement markings and signing at the Route 9 northbound lane drop.
Crosshatching and larger yield bar pavement markings will be placed at the Annsville Circle in order to discourage the use of the shoulder on the southbound Route 9 approach to the traffic circle. These larger markings will help motorists entering the circle identify that they must yield to traffic in the circle. These markings will also be part of the annual pavement marking contract.
Sue McDonnell, who lives in the area along Route 9 where many accidents, including three fatalities in the last year said, “Not being able to make any difference in the situation was unacceptable to the 165 residents who signed a petition asking for traffic calming measures. Assemblywoman Galef was a great help in getting the cooperation of the NYSDOT. Thank you!”
The DOT also shared the results from their study with the State Police, including those indicating unsafe speed, failure to keep right/improper lane use, and evidence of alcohol/drug intoxication so that patrols would be on heightened alert to drivers exhibiting any of these behaviors.
“This is a terrific example of the state responding when constituents advocate for something that is within our responsibility to address,” said Galef. “I applaud the work of both parties.”