Canton considering lowering speed limit on Miner Street Road during Route 11 bridge repair project
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 5:40 pm

By ADAM ATKINSON

CANTON — A request by a town resident to lower the speed on Miner Street Road in response to the pending Route 11 bridge repair has led the town council to start drafting resolutions for approval at a special meeting, perhaps as early as next week.

John Casserly, who lives on Miner Street Road, spoke during the public comment portion of the town board meeting Wednesday, April 11 regarding the issue. Casserly quipped that the name of his road would soon be changed to the “Route 11 Bypass,” anticipating the extra traffic which may occur along Miner Street Road, as drivers attempt to bypass delays at the Route 11 bridge to get through Canton.

The Route 11 bridge is something of a bottleneck for traffic in the region and the prediction of delays there as the state Department of Transportation begins its rehab of the span has many residents and town officials concerned and cautious of potential traffic problems.

An extensive Route 11 rehabilitation project through the center of the downtown business district several years ago caused extensive traffic delays for residents, to the point of SUNY Canton administration directing its professors to not penalize commuting students who showed up late for class during the construction hours.

During that construction, several other routes using the town’s back roads to get around the areas under construction became heavily used by commuters, said town board members and town highway superintendent Terry Billings.

The bridge rehabilitation project is expected to commence around April 23.

“My point of my being here . . . is to ask the town board to write a resolution asking the DOT in Watertown to lower the speed limit temporarily from the Jingleville Road to Eddy road, probably even from Eddy road to Route 11, make that whole loop that people are going to take 40 miles an hour,” said Casserly.

“Understand that this is a very multi-use road,” Casserly said. “You can’t imagine what goes on on that road unless you live on it.”

Bikers, bicyclists, walkers, runners, St. Lawrence University athletes from the soccer team and other athletic groups, even members of the ski team doing warm weather ski training on truck skis, all travel along the road Casserly said.

“So when that bypass starts happening and its 55 miles per hour, or 60, right by my house, and the road is 18 feet wide, I just see a potential for disaster,” Casserly said.

Casserly said that Michael Flick, the DOT’s regional spokesperson, had suggested he approach the board and get them to pass a resolution asking the DOT to lower the speed.

The board later discussed Casserly’s request for a lower speed in a wider discussion involving its Complete Streets Program. Town board members mulled the possibility of also striping the roadway to create two lanes which might enhance safety, and requesting that the state DOT pay for the added painting.