A road in Bethlehem with a unique speed limit may have it reduced following a request from the town’s highway superintendent.
It’s been recommended that the speed limit along a section of Hudson Avenue in Delmar be reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph. A public hearing will be held to get input from residents.
“It’s the only area with a town street listed at 35 mph,” said Highway Superintendent Brent Meredith. “In my research, I can’t figure out why that speed was chosen.”
The Town Board opted to go forward with the public hearing, with the stipulation targeted mailings get sent to residents in the area so they can attend the meeting.
Meredith said in a later interview there have been few complaints about speeding in that area of town. The section runs from Delaware Avenue to the intersection of Adams and North Streets. He said most of the complaints have been with another stop sign needed at that intersection.
“I’m proposing the change more for consistency reasons,” said Meredith. “I’m sure way back when the area was more rural, the speed made more sense and there was some history there. Now, I don’t think it does anymore.”
In a letter to the Town Board, Meredith did say he was concerned about pedestrian safety.
Hudson Avenue runs perpendicular to the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, with several access points to the trail along that road. The higher speeds can cause issues for those walking or biking the path.
The issue was first raised at the July 9 meeting of the Town Board.
Supervisor John Clarskon said more emphasis was being placed on traffic and pedestrian safety in town because it is a major concern of residents. Along with announcing the installation of sidewalks, this was another project he thought would improve walkability.
Another future project is the installation of additional signs and crosswalks along Delaware Avenue, which is being spearheaded by Planning Director Rob Leslie.
Clarkson said he felt the speed along Hudson Avenue has long been an issue because many people use the road as a shortcut to bypass the Four Corners and reach Kenwood Avenue faster.
“The question is on that residential street, why we would have a higher speed limit than the surrounding streets and therefore encourage its use as a pass through and possibly cause safety issues?” said Clarkson.
The supervisor said the town has received several letters over the years asking why the speed is higher, and they still don’t know. He also noted the town cannot set the speed limit below 30 mph, as some residents from other neighborhoods have asked in the past, but he felt reducing the speed for this one road will help.
The town has the authority to change the speed limit because it’s a town road. To do so, the Town Board would need to change a local law that gives exception to the speed on Hudson Avenue.
The public hearing has been set for Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m. at Bethlehem Town Hall.