Letter: Flashing Light Needed

Almost as soon as we moved from Brooklyn to Cold Spring in February 2016, I noticed the busy and dark intersection at Route 9 and East Mountain Road South did not have a flashing light.

A representative from Central Hudson agreed that the intersection could use a flashing light but said he would need approval from Philipstown. The town sent my request to the state highway department. I also wrote the agency myself. Three months later, it responded that (1) there had not been enough accidents at the intersection to justify a light, and (2) it was the town’s problem.

The intersection of East Mountain Road South and Route 9 (Google Maps)

I contacted Supervisor Richard Shea and Councilor John VanTassel without success. It was like playing a game of ping pong. Now they ignore me.

In the meantime, my daughter and I have both witnessed near-accidents at the intersection. The intersection is dark, so it is hard to identify where to turn. The turn is sharp. It puts homeowners under constant danger. We refuse to become the statistics the state apparently needs.

We are talking about a single flashing light. How long should it take?

Saleh Shoua, Philipstown

6 thoughts on “Letter: Flashing Light Needed

  1. Thank you for your letter. While I’ve lived in Cold Spring for nearly 17 years, we moved to East Mountain Road South a year ago. This intersection is ridiculous. I was about to write letters just as you’ve done after witnessing two accidents with the car flipped over in the past week. After reading this, I will definitely be writing mine.

  2. I, too, live on East Mountain Road South. I have lived in this neighborhood for most of the past 25 years. There have always been a lot of arguments about traffic lights on Route 9, but lights are not always a solution — sometimes they are actually a problem.

    Some things to note:

    Route 9 is a state highway, and so the New York State Department of Transportation is the primary agency in charge of lights on that road, not the Town of Philipstown. The DOT uses a number of criteria to decide whether a light is needed at an intersection (see dot.ny.gov).

    The last time a new light on Route 9 was added was in 2011, and it was the one which is just a few hundred yards north of East Mountain Road South, where Fishkill Road intersects with Route 9. The Highlands Current reported on the plan and potential problems with this new intersection and light in 2011, and many of the concerns voiced at that time became true.

    The new, poorly designed intersection with a three-sided light has created traffic backup problems during morning and evening rush hours, caused accidents at its own intersection due to the three-sided light and other issues, and in fact seems to have made a bad situation even worse. It’s often almost impossible to make a left turn onto Route 9 during the evening rush hour because the traffic from the light backs up past East Mountain Road South and it’s impossible to see if there are cars coming in the southbound lane.

    I’m wondering what the writer thinks having a flashing light at the intersection would actually accomplish?

  3. Yes the level of traffic on Route 9 (the major north/south arterial in the region between 684 and the New York Thruway) has grown significantly in recent years. The whole area is tricky as a consequence. However, if the difficulty is truly much due to darkness at this intersection, perhaps a street light, not a flashing light, would help and would be easier to get approved.

    On a related note, the Route 301 and Route 9 intersection needs an upgrade, including adding right-turn lanes, better paving and painting, and maybe better timing for the signal.