Road safety is the main issue at boards’ meetings

KINDERHOOK–Traffic and speeding was once again the topic of discussion at both the Village of Kinderhook and Village of Chatham board meetings earlier this month.

Village of Kinderhook Mayor Jim Dunham said at his board meeting Wednesday, January 10 that the state Department of Transportation had asked to meet with him, Kinderhook Town Supervisor Pat Grattan and Valatie Village Mayor Diane Argyle on Monday, January 29 at 10:30 a.m. to talk about speeding in the town.

In November and December there we three fatal accidents on state roads in the Town of Kinderhook. Two were on state Route 9 and the other happened on Route 203.

The Chatham Village Board, which met Thursday, January 11, announced that they were sending a letter to the DOT in support of reducing the speed limit on a different section of Route 203, this one in the Village of Chatham.

A Chatham village resident started a petition late last year asking the state to reduce the speed limit on Route 203 in the village. The Village Board endorsed the petition in December and signed the letter to DOT at the village meeting this month.

Chatham Trustee Lenore Packet said at the January meeting that at most of the other major entrances to the village the speed limit is under 55 mph. But on Route 203, the speed limit changes from 30 to 55 mph on a section of the highway in the village. The letter the board is sending to the state points out there is a mobile home park, a seasonal theater and several businesses and homes on that three-mile stretch of the route before it leaves the village. Ms. Packet also said that there have been several accidents on that part of the road.

As for the Village of Kinderhook, last year the Village Board conducted at traffic study on village roads, and has been using a variable speed sign on Hudson Street for several months, recording the speed of vehicles that drive past it. Recently officials have monitored vehicle speeds on Gaffney Lane. Mayor Dunham said at the Village Board meeting that using the monitoring sign has reduced some drivers’ speeds by about 2 ½ mph.

The January 29 meeting between the DOT and Kinderhook and Valatie officials will be at 10:30 a.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building on Church Street in Valatie.

In another automotive matter, both village boards also discussed Electric Vehicle Chargers (EVCs) at their recent monthly meetings.

The Chatham Board signed an agreement with the Town of Chatham to put a charger in the municipal parking lot on Main Street near the Tracy Memorial Village Hall.

The town will seek bids for installation of the chargers. The Village Board was assured that the charger will have its own meter to measure the amount of electricity used. The power will be paid for by the town.

Kinderhook is still in the early planning phases of putting a charger in the municipal parking lot in the village. Like Chatham, Kinderhook is in the state’s Climate Smart Communities program and Kinderhook has a local Climate Smart Communities Task Force that is looking into the EVC. The Kinderhook Village Board discussed the cost of the charger and its location at the monthly meeting.

The village has received a grant from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) that will help cover the cost but there will be some village money required for the project.

Both boards heard from audience members about how EVC this can bring people to the village to shop and dine.

Cara Humpherys, who was at the Chatham Village meeting representing the Town of Chatham, said that the City of Albany had one charging station in 2012 and now has 100.

“If you built it, then they will come,” she said, referring to people driving electric cars.

The Village of Chatham also has an agreement with the Town of Ghent to put a second charger at the south end of the village, which is in Ghent, near Park Row.

Kinderkook resident Jennifer Ose-MacDonald told her village board that she supported investing in an EVC charger, especially for the families and young people in the village. She said more people would be investing in electric cars.

Hillsdale now has EVC and Ancram has a Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Station that was made possible by donations from the Lougheed family and Ginocchio Electric.

In other business:

• As in most villages in the county, snow removal came up as topic at both meetings. Kindehrook DPW Superintendent Dave Booth said that his department had used a lot of salt in the last few snow storms and the village many need to borrow some from other municipalities.

“Everybody else can hold a lot more salt than us,” he told the board

• Chatham is dealing with un-cleared sidewalks in the village. Like in the Villages of Valatie and Kinderhook, Chatham village property owners are responsible for clearing their sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowstorm has ended. Some residents on Spring and Center streets thought the village was responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their properties, according to Chatham Village Clerk Debra Meyers. Ms. Meyers said she sent letters to those residents and that people will be fined if the village DPW has to clear the sidewalks.

The next Kinderhook Village Board meeting will be Wednesday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. and the Chatham Board will meet the next night, Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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