SOMERS, N.Y. Jamie Mandel knows first-hand the safety hazards on Mahopac Avenue, having lived on the busy roadway for 11 years.
"It's really been a source of frustration for 11 years," she said. "I just can't deal with the speeding. It's out of control. I can't even back out of my driveway. It's really a mini-highway and it isn't."
During one morning rush in early December, Mandel's husband Paul Mueller counted the vehicles traveling on Mahopac Avenue and recorded 336 vehicles per hour, including 36 trucks and eight school buses. Police have also determined motorists drive nearly 20 mph hour above the 30 mph speed limit.
About a week after those counts were taken, Mandel appeared before the Somers Town Board with a petition signed by approximately 280 residents online asking for safety improvements, including stop signs at intersections and a guide rail on the north side of the roadway at Stonewall Farms, where several fatalities have occurred.
In November, 7 year old Madison Bookall was killed when her mother lost control of her vehicle on Mahopac Avenue.
It appears the town board was listening carefully as Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy outlined several improvements that have been discussed with the highway superintendent, traffic engineer and police chief and will likely be implemented in the near future.
One of the major improvements is constructing a partial guide rail at the steepest shoulder drop off point and filling in the shoulder to reduce the pitch. Placing flexible stick reflectors on the outer edge of the roadway is also being considered, along with purchasing another mobile speed radar indicator, Murphy said.
In the area of the bicycle path, Murphy said adding stop signs there "could create a more dangerous situation." However, she said that more detailed signage indicating the location of the bike path and yellow warning signs advising of the 20 mph limit in that vicinity are under serious review.
Mandel was happy to hear about the swift action of town officials. "I really thank them for listening and taking our concerns seriously," she said. "That's what the Democratic process is about."
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