Pin It
Salmon Creek Road

The Lansing Town Board passed two resolutions Wednesday in support of lowering speed limits on portions of Buck and Salmon Creek Roads.  Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said two petitions by concerned residents prompted the resolutions.  But it is the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) that has final say on changes to speed limits. 

"The dynamics of our town are that we have 19th century roads and we have 21st century vehicles," LaVigne said. "Without shoulders it makes it difficult to walk on them, plus the residents of Buck Road want this speed limit reduced."

The Buck Road petition, signed by about 45 residents, requests the speed limit be reduced from the State 55mph speed limit to a minimum of 35mph.  Buck Road goes north from Ridge Road (State Route 34B), east of the Lansing school campus, then curves dramatically to the east, where it crosses Auburn Road (State Route 34), continuing to the easternmost town line.  The petition covers the portion of the road between 34B and 34, asking for both the speed limit reduction and that a center line be painted on the road.

The Salmon Creek petition, signed by about 24 people who live on or near the section of road in question, asks for the speed limit to be reduced to 25mph, which would match the speed limit south of Red Bridge as you enter Ludlowville.  LaVigne noted that rumors said the petition included speed bumps or went as far as Lockerby Hill Road, but Councilman Joseph Wetmore said that the requested change only applies to about a half mile stretch north of Red Bridge.

"This is the area just north of Red Bridge, which is a blind curve that is 55 miles per hour right now, going into a single lane bridge," Wetmore said. "I passed a petition, and people were very enthusiastic about lowering that speed limit.  When they were looking at this residents complained that people weren't slowing down enough in Ludlowville.  That's a real concern in Ludlowville, that the speed limit there is not being obeyed."

Speed limit recommendations are sent to the DOT, which determines whether or not to change the existing speed limit.  Highway Superintendent Charlie Purcell said that villages and cities have more discretion in setting speed limits, but the DOT uses their models to determine speeds.  Even villages and cities are restricted to state determined minimums that insure what the state determines are reasonable through-traffic flows. 

Towns with populations of 50,000 or more also have more authority to set their own speed limits, but with a population of around 11,000 Lansing must defer to the DOT.  LaVigne noted that the DOT often looks for other means to mitigate traffic, denying speed limit reduction requests.

"Some of them, like Ridge Road between the Town Hall to the schools, were refused," he said. "Atwater Road was refused.  They think more of changing the contour of the road .  Brickyard Road used to be straight.  You used to fly right through off of 34B -- zing right down there and pray to God you didn't hit the church, and you were fine.  But they changed the contour of the road.  Hillcrest... go down Hillcrest, there comes Triphammer, there's a Yield, fly right through, pray to God you stay on the right hand side.  They changed the contour of the road, so there are different ways than changing speed limits.  So it's not a given, but all we can do is try."

Almost two years ago Tompkins County legislator Mike Sigler asked the DOT to install rumble strips near the school campus, arguing that traffic by the Myers Road crosswalk poses a safety concern about children crossing the road as motorists, who can not see the school buildings until they come off the bridge, are supposed to be decreasing their speed from 55mph to 45, and again to 30.  But this February the DOT denied the request, but agreed to conduct a formal investigation of that section of road with prompting from town officials and NYS Senator Pam Helming.

DOT regulations suggest warning and/or advisory signs, speed limit beacons, school pedestrian enhancements, and other measures before posting a lower speed limit.  A local request may result in a speed investigation by a Regional traffic Engineer.

According to a DOT traffic directive, "Speed limits must be realistic in terms of existing traffics peed. Reports recommending a certain linear speed limit shall include radar speed data to support the recommended limit. In situations where traffic volumes are too low to allow an appropriate sample of speeds to be collected, trial runs can be substituted far radar speed checks. Radar speed data may also be necessary where reports recommend a speed zone request be denied."

LaVigne said documents will be submitted to the DOT, and townspeople will have to wait for a decision.

Pin It