Philipstown Seeks Speed Reductions

Wants state to slow cars near Manitou School

The Philipstown Town Board on Nov. 7 passed a resolution asking the state Department of Transportation to extend, for a quarter mile, the 30 mph speed limit on the state highway that passes by the private Manitou School.

Founded in 2014, the school is on Route 9D, just south of Cold Spring.

The board also voted to request that the state lower the 30 mph speed limit on Winston Lane between Route 9 and Sprout Brook Road in Continental Village.

In its first resolution, the board noted that studies may not reflect the increased traffic around Manitou School or the number of pedestrians who walk to it or other 9D sites such as nearby Boscobel.

According to Supervisor Richard Shea, “DOT is always the last one to get their head out of the sand and recognize” a problem, such as speeding and the need for a sidewalk between Cold Spring and Boscobel, which hosts the farmers’ market in summer months.

Shea said residents have reported that “drivers are flying through” Winston Lane; he also noted that speeds seem to have increased since the town Highway Department repaired the lane. “It’s turned into a race course,” he said.

The trolley

Members of a trolley committee created by the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce briefed the board on its efforts to “get the trolley to be more functional and useful to the community and visitors,” as Chamber President Eliza Starbuck put it. She outlined several goals, such as increasing ridership; connecting residents and visitors to cultural, scenic and historic sites and businesses; and including the trolley on websites and social media mass-transit lists.

Funded by the federal government with assistance from Putnam County, the trolley cannot be restricted to Cold Spring but must serve multiple jurisdictions, Starbuck said. Before its 2019 season ended on Nov. 10, its route took it around Cold Spring and to Beacon as well as to Philipstown destinations such as Manitoga, Boscobel, Garrison and state hiking trails.

“We see it as a valuable resource that our county funds,” Starbuck said. “We want it to be useful for everybody, including residents.”

After meeting with the Cold Spring and Nelsonville Village Boards and soliciting feedback from the public, Starbuck said, the Chamber has been updating an earlier trolley report. Suggestions have included making the route a continuous loop, offering a $5 day pass instead of charging for each ride and installing signs at trolley stops.

“It’s sort of astounding it’s taken the county this long to get an idea you need to put up a sign at a bus stop,” Shea remarked.

Difficult lots

Councilor Mike Leonard mentioned that apparently some buyers have unwittingly purchased land where the terrain makes construction difficult or impossible.

As an example, he referred to a house proposed for a parcel in Garrison on which “the majority of the property is not buildable.” The plans had to be revised after the Conservation Board raised questions about the project in September.

While the town government seeks to accommodate owners, “there are limits,” Leonard said. The challenge is, “there isn’t a lot of easily buildable property left” in Philipstown, he said, so prospective buyers need to consult the building and wetlands inspectors and “seriously think about reining in some of their wants,” reducing the size of intended homes and garages, and studying local laws, which “are there for reasons — to protect the environment.”

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