The Northern Westchester Examiner

Cortlandt Unhappy with DOT’s Response to BMP Petitions

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Intersection of Bear Mountain Parkway and Locust Avenue in Cortlandt where several fatal accidents have taken place.
Intersection of Bear Mountain Parkway and Locust Avenue in Cortlandt where several fatal accidents have taken place.

Angry Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said the state Department of Transportation’s recent response to a petition effort to install a median barrier on the Bear Mountain Parkway was “not acceptable.”

“What does it take to get the state DOT to recognize that a barrier/median/guardrail will stop these serious accidents and fatalities?” an exasperated Puglisi remarked. “This response is the same one that we’ve had over many, many years of lobbying the state to make this necessary improvement. They must agree to do this project and to begin immediately.”

On July 2, town officials sent petitions with 1,500 signatures to the DOT and other state officials requesting a safety remedy on the roadway where there have been four deaths and several accidents in the area of Locust Avenue.

William Gorton, acting regional director for the DOT, responded on August 15 to the petitions and a letter submitted by Puglisi.

“The New York State Department of Transportation is aware of safety concerns on the Bear Mountain Parkway in the Town of Cortlandt, and we are considering our options as we work toward developing safety enhancements on the parkway,” Gorton stated.

Puglisi criticized Gorton’s short response and the six weeks it took for the state to react to the petitions.

“In the interim there has been another fatality (motorcycle tragic accident) and other accidents,” Puglisi said. “This response letter comprised of two brief paragraphs is not acceptable by the town government and officials, by our community and certainly not by the families who lost their loved ones by accidents on the state highway named the Bear Mountain Parkway.”

Cortlandt has passed several resolutions over the years calling for a barrier. The DOT shelved a planned $60 million capital project to reconstruct the parkway next year because of a reported lack of funds. The DOT has said it plans to reconstruct the interchange of the parkway and Route 6 in 2017, a project that would include the installation of a concrete median barrier on a short section of the parkway.

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