ANCRAM—Everybody’s in a hurry, but Ancram officials are taking action to slow people down as they zoom through the Ancramdale hamlet.
Recent discussions at Town Board meetings have included brainstorming about what to do in response to residents’ complaints about vehicles, particularly large trucks, speeding through the tiny Ancramdale hamlet, where the speed limit is 35 mph. Three roads, county Routes 3 and 8 and State Route 82, converge in the hamlet.
Residents have told the board they fear for pedestrians, notably children and the elderly, who walk around the hamlet or get on and off school buses there.
Residents complained about the noise generated by large trucks using “jake brakes” as they descend the hill on Route 82 headed south through the hamlet at all hours of the day and night. One resident said the noise wakes her from sleep and causes her windows to rattle.
Supervisor Art Bassin proposed the purchase of two radar speed signs at a total cost of $5,500. The signs digitally display the oncoming driver’s speed. They are only the size of an ordinary road sign, are mounted on posts and can be moved to different places.
The signs will make drivers aware of their speeds and will also record the speeds and the date and time so officials may review the data and determine where and when the services of the town’s Resident Deputy Joseph Kilmer will be most effective in enforcing speed limits.
Even without the signs, Deputy Kilmer has already responded to the problem throughout town and issued 20 tickets in July, officials said.
Ancram resident Jennifer Boice, who travels extensively around town told the board, “He is all over; you never know where he’s going to be.”
“Joe’s making a difference,” noted Councilwoman Madeleine Israel.
Supervisor Bassin said the signs “are worth experimenting with” and can be placed on state, county and town roads.
Councilman Hugh Clark questioned the signs’ maintenance requirements and lifespan.
Mrs. Boice wanted to know if the signs are heat or cold sensitive.
Mr. Bassin said he would investigate the questions raised and circulate the answers to Town Board members via email. In a follow-up phone call Wednesday, Mr. Bassin said the board has decided to authorize him go forward with the radar speed sign purchase.
Also under consideration as a solution to alleviate heavy truck traffic is the imposition of weight limits on county Routes 8 and 8A.
Mr. Bassin said the board could enact a local law imposing a five-ton weight limit, which would require that trucks heavier than five tons stay on state Routes 82, 199, 22 and 23. He added that the town can impose weight limits on town and county roads, but not state roads.
Councilman David Boice said he did not believe five-tons was the right limit because it would include pickup trucks in some cases. He suggested the limit go up to 25 or 30 tons. He said such a limit would likely discourage large trucks from travelling through the center of town because they would not want to make the sharp right hand turn from Route 82 south (downhill) onto Route 82 heading southeast, especially if the road is slippery. He said there is a “big fine” for a weight limit violation.
On the subject of “unintended consequences,” Councilman Clark wanted to know if the resident deputy is stopping trucks for weight limit violations. He said he “is not real keen” on trucks rerouting themselves (illegally) to Poole Hill Road and wants to be sure the town has taken all measures possible to prevent it.
Mr. Boice said in many cases, the GPS picks the shortest route and some trucks are going to take small town roads.
Mr. Bassin agreed that if the town says trucks can’t come through Ancramdale, some will ignore that.
The board decided not to pursue imposing weight limits at this time, but rather to go forward with the radar speed signs and the resident deputy patrol to deal with the situation.
In other business the board:
• Received an update on broadband internet service in Ancram from Gerry Fultz, who presented a map showing the areas in town serviced by Consolidated/FairPoint and those handled by Spectrum/Charter. Consolidated bid to service everything in Ancram, but some sections of town were not awarded to anyone. Despite that, Consolidated is stringing fiber optic cable across un-awarded sections to connect its areas. Mr. Fultz said Consolidated does not know how long it will take to reach everyone, but expects to “start hooking doors up in the fourth quarter” of this year October to December. Theoretically everyone within Consolidated’s territory will be hooked up unless they live more than 300 feet from the road, he said. Currently Consolidated has no “address-look-up-tool” to allow residents to see where they stand. Mr. Fultz said he assumes the situation with Charter/Spectrum vs. the PSC will get resolved and that it looks like those who have “Charter legacy” will get hooked up
• Awarded the contract for demolition of the town-owned Houghtaling house to Cristo Demolition, Inc. The Albany firm was the sole bid received for “total demolition and removal of a fire-wrecked house, located at 2 Town Road, Ancramdale, using asbestos in place controlled demolition methods,” at $29,800. Highway Superintendent Jim Miller said by phone this week that the process will take about two days and is expected to start in early October.
• Heard from Councilwoman Bonnie Hundt that the town should allot more money to the Roe Jan Community Library in the 2019 budget. The town allotted $7,500 to the library in 2018. Ms. Hundt said the town just spent $10,000 on a gazebo and should add $10,000 to the library line in next year’s budget.
The next Town Board meeting is September 20 at Town Hall starting with a public hearing on the 2019 Tentative Budget at 6.45 p.m.
To contact Diane Valden email