By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- The state Department of Transportation recently denied speed limit reduction requests for Steadwell, McKay, Golf Course and Midline roads.
DOT Regional Traffic Engineer Linda Lubey wrote to the town in late December and notified officials "the need for a reduced speed limit has not been met," based on studies conducted with State Police.
The agency did, however, recommend that a "stop ahead" sign be placed at Steadwell Road's approach to Lepper Road to increase safety at that intersection.
Lubey said the study includes an analysis of roadside development, roadway conditions, traffic volumes and the prevailing speed of motorists driving the highway. The process includes review of the road's accident history, an on-site speed evaluation to collect the traffic speeds of free flow traffic on a clear, dry day, and a review with state police, which must concur on the enforceability of the proposed speed.
"Extensive studies have shown that the majority of motorists drive at a speed which they perceive as reasonable and prudent for existing conditions," Lubey wrote. "These studies have also shown if there is no apparent reason for driving at a lower speed the posting of signs with an arbitrarily lower speed limit will not bring about a voluntary speed reduction."
Thousands of before-and-after studies have proven that a change in speed limit, either up or down, had little effect on actual speeds, according to DOT.
Speed limits set artificially low will only be adhered to if there is a very frequent police presence, and "the New York State Police cannot maintain a frequent presence at all locations, nor do they favor establishing 'speed traps.' Speed limits set according to long-standing guidelines for reasonableness assist the police in weeding out motorists who drive at unreasonable speeds."
Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said because the roads are county routes, he asked the Montgomery County Department of Public Works to submit the requests in response to complaints from residents.
"We did it because we want to support the residents and their concerns. We didn't want to just not do anything about it."
Though the state didn't heed the requests, DiMezza said it doesn't mean things might not be different in the future.
"This doesn't preclude us from attempting to get the speed reduced on these roads in the future should circumstances and development change on these specific roads," he said.