Potsdam Town Council to consider lowering speed limit on Austin Ridge Road
Friday, November 8, 2019 - 6:04 am

BY CRAIG FREILICH
North Country This Week

POTSDAM -- The Town Council will prepare a resolution for their December meeting to examine a request to lower the speed limit on the Austin Ridge Road to 45 mph or less.

Tracey Haggett-Sloan, who lives on the road, presented a petition with signatures from the majority of households on the road to the town board at its meeting Wednesday, Nov. 6 asking the town to begin the steps to get the change.

Sloan said people speeding on the road make it dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and other users of the road.

“That’s a speedway,” said Town Attorney Frank Cappello.

Haggett-Sloan said many drivers are clearly exceeding the current 55 mph speed limit.

She noted that the situation is complicated with several businesses along the road, including a flower shop, a garden shop, and a saw mill, that draw customers who sometimes park along the side of the road and sometimes both sides of the road, making speeding that much more dangerous.

She said she once was forced off the road into a field by a driver as she walked her granddaughter along the side of the road.

During discussion of the issue it was brought up that many roads such as the Austin Ridge Road, which runs north and south just west of the Village of Norwood, are frequently used by people who wish to avoid more heavily traveled roads with lower speed limits in built-up areas like the village.

The consensus of the board was that they would move the issue along with a resolution to be drawn up in time for the Dec. 10 regular meeting.

The process begins with the town approving a resolution calling for study of the matter, which would go for review to the county Highway Department and then to the state Department of Transportation. If they thought it was appropriate DOT would send an engineer to study the traffic patterns and speeds, sight distances and signage to assess the need for a lower limit.

If they determine the limit should be lowered, the DOT can make it whatever they decide.