Truckers put brakes on Ancram plan for slower speeds

ANCRAM—The Town Board tabled two resolutions related to speed and weight limits in Ancramdale after hearing from several residents who use trucks to make a living.

The two-hour-plus October 18 meeting was preceded by a second public hearing on the 2019 budget in which funding for the Roeliff Jansen Community Library again took center stage.

A wide range of topics were part of the discussion at the regular board meeting that followed.

Councilman David Boice announced that he had received two letters from Ancramdale residents seeking lower speed limits on the roads where they live. In their letters to the councilman, Frank Martucci asked that the speed limit be lowered on county Routes 8 and 8A and Dan Slott asked for a lower limit on a section of County Route 3, northeast of the hamlet. Speed limits on these roads are currently 55 mph and reductions to 35 mph were requested.

A resolution lowering the speed limit through the Ancramdale hamlet from 35 mph to 25 mph was also on the agenda for board action.

Jim Stickle of Stickle Electric and the Ancram Construction Corp., questioned why the board was considering these speed reductions now. He said he lives dangerously close to the road himself and if the board wants to deter speeders, it should get Resident Deputy Joey Kilmer there. “Tickets stop speeding,” said Mr. Stickle.

He opposed the imposition of lower speed limits, noting the additional three minutes it will take him to travel through the area on service calls will amount to “wasted time.” He said Ancramdale will “end up like Egremont, MA, one of the top 10 speed traps in the nation.”

Fred Schneeberger of G & S Excavating said if the speed limits are lowered he’ll have to leave an hour earlier to get where he’s going. He said it’s nearly impossible to keep a truck speedometer at 25 mph and if the limit is lowered to that speed, “you might as well get out and walk.”

Councilwoman Bonnie Hundt said Councilman Boice, who is also the fire chief, gave her a ride in a fire truck, which is roughly the same size as a 10-wheeler, so she could get a sense of how large trucks operate. She said based on her truck ride, 35 mph is too low and 40 to 45 mph would be a more appropriate speed.

Councilman Hugh Clark noted that over the past several months the Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, which he co-chairs, has heard from residents who say that speed is their number one concern. “People perceive a problem, but there may or may not be a problem,” he said, noting that “gradual approach to get people’s attention first” may be advisable “before you go to drastic measures.” He suggested “enforcing what we’ve got first.”

With regard to the weight and axle limits on county Routes 8 and 8A being considered by the board, Mr. Stickle said the amount of fuel he will have to use to go around these roads will make it “not feasible” for his business. He said, “We pay an extra mileage tax” already.

Rick DuBray of RD’s Maintenance said his truck weighs 10,000 pounds. If a road has a five-ton weight limit, the truck would be illegal even if it’s empty, not to mention if he puts a lawn mower in it. “If a truck is legally registered it should have the right to run that road.”

The imposition of weight limits will “punish the whole trucking industry,” said Mr. Schneeberger.

Supervisor Art Bassin said he did some internet research and found that according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks are safer than passenger cars by 3 to 1 when it comes to accidents per million miles of travel.

The board decided to table both speed and weight limit resolutions for now but will install a new radar speed sign and concentrate on enforcement of current limits.

Other discussion topics included:

* The barn fire at Millerhurst Farm that destroyed the milking barn and all but one cow in the dairy herd, and the “hell of a job” done by responding fire companies

* Introduction of Resident Deputy Joseph Kilmer, who was born and raised in Ancramdale

* An update on the Habitat for Humanity two-family house being constructed in Ancramdale

* The inclusion of an additional $10,000 for the library in the 2019 budget, bringing the town’s total donation to $17,500 next year and the need for another 414 library funding ballot proposition soon;

* Town Clerk Monica Cleveland reported a Town Hall mouse problem, noting the critters have deposited “calling cards all over my office.”

The next Town Board meeting takes place November 15, preceded by the third and final public hearing on the budget at 6:45 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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