Slow Down

A few weeks back, a couple walking their dog on Washington Spring Road had to literally jump off the road to avoid being hit by a car speeding past them. This is not an unfamiliar story in Palisades. For the last ten years, at every Palisades Community Center Annual Meeting, traffic safety has been the most heated discussion item with speeding at the top of the list. In 2009, a traffic study on Oak Tree Road revealed that 85% of cars were traveling at least 10 mph over the 30 mph speed limit.

In 10964’s 1977 inaugural issue, the first article was about traffic issues on Route 340 and the lowering of the speed limit to 30 mph from Oak Tree Road to the New Jersey state line. Over the decades, people have appeared at Town Board and Traffic Advisory meetings, asking for speed limits to be lowered throughout Palisades, or at the very least have more speed enforcement. But the Town can only do so much. The decision to speed or not to speed is in the motorist’s hands.

A recent canvasing of people from all neighborhoods of Palisades revealed the common wish that people slow down. Here are some of their comments.

All along Route 9W: excessive speed and cyclists make it hazardous for pedestrians and people pulling in and out of driveways, the intersection, and The Market.

Route 340: in New Jersey the speed limit is 40 mph but changes to 30 mph in New York. Most people ignore the lowered speed limit. Especially dangerous is the corner of Route 340 and Muroney Avenue, where children get on and off the schoolbus.

Route 340 heading toward Sparkill: motorists exceed the 45 mph speed limit. Speed, a blind curve, and cyclists make it hazardous for cars leaving the ball field and neighbors pulling in and out of their driveways.

The hill at Oak Tree Road and Route 340: traveling both up and down the hill. Going up, speed and the curve make exiting Horne Tooke Road hazardous.

Motorists are traveling well above the 30 mph speed limit all along Oak Tree Road, making a hazard for people pulling out of driveways, walking, and waiting for buses.

At the blinking light intersection, people are reminded to come to a complete stop at the signs at both segments of Closter Road. At the Post Office, slow down and stop for crossing pedestrians.

Closter Road: the road is narrow, curvy, and without sidewalks. Speeding cars are especially hazardous for pedestrians. Neighbors suggest traveling below 30 mph. Woods Road and Washington Spring Road: narrow, curvy with blind spots, pedestrians, and dog walkers. Travel slower than 30 mph.

A parent noted that their schoolbus driver of 29 years said that Oak Tree Road is by far the worst for drivers passing a stopped bus while the lights are flashing. Last week, I was surprised to see a school bus stop diagonally across Oak Tree Road. Now I understand why. It was protecting children from cars that illegally pass the bus while stopped.

We’ve been on top of Orangetown for safety issues, but this is really about motorists taking responsibility. Most who speed through our hamlet are not neighbors. They are visitors, delivery trucks, service companies and people passing through. But all interviewees requested that we as neighbors think about traveling more slowly through all our Palisades streets. It might have an affect on those who are speeding through, at least to hold them back. As one said, “What is everyone’s hurry? Try