The positioning of stop signs in town sparked some lengthy and fiery discussions at the Tuesday, Jan. 15, Guilderland Town Board meeting.
New board member Warren Redlich, a Republican, voiced his concerns about the intersection of Curry Road Extension and Kings Road, where the town’s traffic safety committee had recommended the installation of a stop sign.
This might be a safety problem, Redlich said, likening the intersection to that at Veeder and Johnston roads. `There is no clear right of way at Curry and Kings. This could be highly dangerous. Let’s have an extensive review of this, not just slap a stop sign there.`
Town Supervisor Ken Runion said that the highway patrol had already been looking at the intersection.
The board discussed the merits of stop signs versus yield signs.
`Maybe a yield sign should be put on Curry,` suggested board member Paul Pastore.
Redlich questioned the usefulness of yield signs, and the board agreed that stop signs are safer.
`If drivers ignore yield signs, then why does New York State allow yield signs?` Redlich asked.
`Do we have real data that says Curry/Kings is dangerous?` asked Mark Grimm, who, like Redlich, is a newly elected board member and the other Republican. The rest of the board members are Democrats. `Are there reports of accidents?`
`Nobody said this was dangerous,` said board member Patricia Slavick. `It’s about who has the right-of-way.`
Redlich’s motion to conduct investigations of Curry and Kings roads, as well as the intersection at Veeder and Johnston, passed.
The board didn’t reach the same unanimity about Penney Lane and DiBella Drive, and Penney and Timothy lanes.
`Timothy is a straightaway, straight mile of nothing; you’re looking at parallel roads. Traffic Control wants a stop sign to slow traffic,` said Town Clerk Rosemary Centi.
Although Grimm and Redlich opposed the measure, Pastore, Slavick and Runion were in favor of it.
In a typical year, traffic control is swamped by stop sign requests, but most are denied.
`Stop signs should only be placed in appropriate places,` said Redlich.
The board spent about 20 minutes discussing open government, after which Redlich proposed that a portion of town board meetings be given over to department head sessions.
His suggestion is that town department heads identified in agenda items be at board meetings to answer questions. Since Guilderland board meetings are televised, he felt this would keep the public informed, and would help monitor departmental activities.
Runion felt that the department heads should be protected. By law, he said, they have the right to an attorney before questioning.
`There needs to be controlling of questioning,` Runion said. `I don’t think it’s been well thought out. We can’t legally order them in.`
`The public should be familiar with department duties. Opposing this is opposing open government,` said Grimm.
`I don’t think department heads are required to appear,` said Pastore. Slavick, Pastore and Runion opposed the proposal.
`I don’t want this turning into a witch hunt,` Runion said in closing.
`I can’t believe my colleagues would oppose open government. I’m in shock,` said Redlich.
In other business, the board unanimously appointed machine custodians and party representatives to work the 2008 primaries and elections. Members also appointed Michael Borges as a member of the economic development advisory committee.“