CORTLANDT, N.Y. – After years of resolutions and 1,500 signed petitions, the New York State Department of Transportation says it is reviewing potential safety enhancements on the Bear Mountain State Parkway and is preparing to make an announcement.
"We are aware of the town's concerns and we're evaluating our options toward developing safety enhancements on the parkway," said Bill Reynolds, spokesperson for the DOT. "It's just premature for us to say exactly what our approach would be, but the DOT will be making an announcement soon."
The verbal response from the DOT comes after two fatal head-on collisions on the parkway in the space of nine months, and after repeated resolutions requesting safety enhancements, letters from elected officials and 1,500 signed petitions collected by relatives of LaMarr Barnes, a victim of a fatal head-on collision in December.
Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said she was pleased to hear the DOT was reviewing safety measures, but, "Unfortunately, I cannot report they've responded," to the town's letters or petitions, she said.
"As a member of the Hudson Valley Hospital's emergency staff, barely a week goes by that there isn't an accident on that road," Cortlandt council member Richard Becker said Tuesday evening.
"I have been requesting a guardrail-median-barrier on the entire stretch of this state highway in Cortlandt to the City of Peekskill for many years, and now decades, to no avail. The state DOT has always responded by saying, 'we don't have the funds,' or 'it's under review.' However, these answers are no longer acceptable due to this fatality, many others over the years and the injuries resulting from the accidents that have occurred when cars cross over the double yellow lines without a barricade to stop them," wrote Puglisi in a letter sent to the DOT commissioner July 2 and filed Tuesday evening.
Before the DOT responded Tuesday to recent lobbying efforts by the Town of Cortlandt, the DOT said a $60 million project on the parkway scheduled to begin in 2012 was significantly scaled down and postponed to 2017 due to the "national economic downturn."