Thursday, 08 June 2017 22:50

Malta Residents Petition for Safer Roads

A weight-restriction sign on the eastern side of Old Post Road. A weight-restriction sign on the eastern side of Old Post Road. Photo by Larry Goodwin.

MALTA – In response to petitions from residents, the Malta Town Board voted Monday in favor of a state law that would allow the town to set speed limits on local roads.

State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) is proposing a bill specific to Malta that would bypass a process normally handled through the state Department of Transportation.

A summary of the bill says simply that it “requires department of transportation to defer to Malta town board requests for speed limit, signage and signal changes.”

This week, a spokeswoman in Woerner’s office could not confirm if the measure had received enough support from other lawmakers. Previously, the Malta town board had passed a resolution calling on Woerner to make the effort.

“This was a response to an awful lot of petitions that we’ve been dealing with,” explained Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia. He declined to say what town roads seem to have problems with excessive speed by drivers.

“We do not have the authority to just arbitrarily change speed limits, even on town roads,” DeLucia added, noting how that process involves both county and state agencies.

At the June 5 town board meeting, DeLucia was informed about a separate petition drive among residents of Old Post Road who claim that dozens of tractor trailers per day are violating a 4-ton weight restriction for the roadway.

Its eastern end connects to a busy stretch of Route 9 near Exit 13 of the Adirondack Northway, which poses challenges for the most effective placement of signage.

Rick Weiss, an Old Post Road homeowner who is gathering petition signatures, told the board that law enforcement appears to be making minimal efforts to ticket 30 or 40 truck drivers daily who violate the weight restriction.

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said that particular problem on Old Post Road “is not new to us,” and vowed to step up patrols.

“The board has chosen to concern themselves with big issues in the downtown area and ignore long-time residents,” Weiss wrote in an email. “We are tired of it.”

“We want government to do its job,” he concluded. “The approach being taken by local, county and state officials is a laughable example of the ignorance everyday citizens see daily. It’s a classic case of ‘pass the buck.’” 

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