Accidents happen, but New York State officials have been working hard to see that they happen less. A recent spate of fatalities has occurred on Route 9 between the Annsville Circle in Cortlandt Manor and the southern edge of Putnam County. Assemblywoman Sandra Galef alerted the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), which conducted 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 NYSDOT findings did not indicate greater than normal accident results, the department did notice a pattern of crashes involving vehicles crossing the road’s center line; some of these crashes were clustered near specific intersections. To ameliorate this problem, NYSDOT installed “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 Philipstown. The rumble strips, known as MIARDS, create a loud noise when automobile tires roll
over them, alerting drivers that they are straying from their side of the road. Centerline rumble strips are becoming more prevalent nationally and internationally “as an effective countermeasure for rural roadway fatal and injury crashes,” said NYSDOT Region 8 Director William Gorton. “NYSDOT is optimistic this innovative treatment will reduce the number and severity of incidents along this section of Route 9.”
Additional steps planned by NYSDOT include extending the 45-mile-per-hour speed limit on Route 9 north of the Annsville Circle to the intersection of Route 9 and Jack Road and new signage and installation of flashing beacons on intersection warning signs at the approaches to Route 9 in the vicinity of Susan Lane and Jack Road. NYSDOT will also relocate the “Stop Ahead” sign on the northbound Highland Street approach to Route 9 to a point closer to the intersection and will add new pavement markings and signage at the Route 9 northbound lane drop. Cross-hatching and larger “yield” pavement markings will be placed at the Annsville Circle in order to discourage use of the shoulder on the southbound Route 9 approach to the traffic circle. Larger markings will help to make motorists entering the circle aware that they must yield to traffic in the circle.
Sue McDonnell, who lives in the area along Route 9 where many accidents occurred, including three fatalities in the past 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.” NYSDOT also shared study results, including those indicating unsafe speed, failure to keep right/improper lane use, and evidence of alcohol/drug intoxication, with the New York State Police, 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.”