Fatal curve prompts plea for lower limit

VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town Board heard this week from several residents who live along the southern section of state Route 203 in Kinderhook near the Chatham line. All the residents asked for a reduced speed on that part of the highway.
In response the board passed a motion at the August 10 meeting asking the state to reduce the speed on Route 203 from 55 mph to 45.
Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said that since it was a state route the state Department of Transportation (DOT) would have to review the request and approve the change.
He also said the request would go to the County Traffic Safety Board for review. Councilwoman Deb Simonsmeier, who said she had cont acted the DOT about the speed limit, reported that the agency “said they’d take a look.” But she stressed the board and the neighbors had to keep the
pressure on the state to get anything done. “We’ll keep on it,” she said of the board.
Residents said there had been several accidents, including fatalities, on the road in recent years. Pamela Strousse, owner of the house on the corner of Routes 21B and 203, said she had had her fence replaced 11 times due to cars destroying it. She said she was currently having it replaced due to a drunk driver crashing into the fence and knocking it down.
“We’re looking at a deadly racetrack,” said resident Jane Fulton. She lives at the intersection of Mason Road and Route 203 and said that exiting her driveway is very dangerous. “Cars go over 60 mph,” she said.
Another neighbor said that the current speed limit needs to be enforced. This resident said that even
with the posted limit set at th55 mph people drive much faster.
Also at the meeting:
•The Valatie Free Library is collecting signatures to put a public funding proposition on the November
ballot to increase the library’s budget. Representa tives from the library board said that the library
had not increased its budget since 2009
•The board is reviewing two motions about climate change given them by Ed Simonsen, the town’s
representative on the county Environmental Management Council. The first resolution is to
acknowledge climate change and is similar to resolutions adopted by the Towns of Chatham and
Hillsdale. The other resolution would see the town become a Climate Smart Community, participating in a state program that helps municipalities convert t o cleaner energy sources. The board tabled voting on the resolutions until the next meeting so members have time to review the measures
•There will be a public hearing next month prior to a vote on a proposed local law on Value Added
Bidding. The public hearing on the law will be at 7 p.m. before the next meeting
•Councilwoman Patsy Leader, the board’s representative on the Neighborhood Watch Committee, said that there had been several robberies of homes and businesses in the town. “We have to start watching one and other,” she said of reporting suspicious behavior. She also thanked the Niverville Fire Company for helping after the heavy rain storm last month that left the people in Niverville without power for 23 hours
•The Town Board went into executive session to discuss three separate issues: one was described as a personnel matter, the second as having to do with contracts and the third involving litigation. Although
the sessions were not public, the board met first with the town recreation director; then, separately,
with the mayor of the Village of Kinderhook, Carol Weaver and village Trustee Dale Leiser; and finally
the board met with county District Attorney Paul Czajka among others. There was no town business
conducted after the executive sessions and nothing was reported about what happened in the sessions, which are closed to the public and press.
The next Town Board meeting is September 14 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building on Church Street.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale @columbiapaper.com

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