The Examiner

Residents Charge That Rumble Strips Are Worsening Their Quality of Life

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Residents of a New Castle street are appealing to the town that the introduction of a rumble strip late last year along the double yellow line has made their lives unbearable.

Several Croton Lake Road residents said after placing the device on the road in the vicinity of Lois Place that is designed to keep people in their lane, motorists ride over them so frequently that they experience constant noise which is ruining their quality of life.

One of the residents, Mary Nicolich, said the noise is so loud it is “untenable” even with windows closed for most of the winter. She said speed is the main culprit and drivers don’t seem to care if they veer a little bit to the left and go over a piece of the rumble strip on a stretch of road where there is a curve.

“I know the strips are supposed to slow people down, but this, to me, is noise pollution and you know what, lets look at human nature,” Nicolich said. “Human nature doesn’t change, let’s face it, and I’m not being a cynic, but there have been people driving this road for years and years and years and still speed up.”

The most difficult time is in the morning from about 7 to 8:30 a.m. when area residents are leaving to go to work and the noise is constant, said another Croton Lake Road resident, Joe Buetti. Plus, the street is not just used by local residents but by other motorists who use it as a shortcut.

“A lot of people, it’s like they take the back road to avoid going through the town or getting into town from where we are,” Buetti said. “When they go over it, it wakes you up.”

Nicolich added that it’s also a problem at all hours. She recently had her son and daughter-in-law stay overnight and the room they were in faced Croton Lake Road and they were awakened repeatedly.

New Castle Police Chief James Carroll said the stretch of road has captured the town’s attention for nearly 15 years. In 2008, one of the long-term recommendations of a traffic study was to put in rumble strips because of the number of complaints and accidents that have been recorded in that location, he said.

There have been eight accidents recorded in that location in recent years, which is frequently enough for safety measures to have been considered, Carroll explained. Most of the accidents have occurred in bad weather.

“It means that you’re in the middle of the road, and you can find the road in inclement weather,” Carroll said of the purpose of the rumble strips. “That’s the reason for the installation.”

Since the strips were put down by the town’s Department of Public Works on Dec. 20 for about 150 feet in each direction, there was one accident in January, which was caused by slippery pavement in bad weather, Carroll said.

The chief said he has received five letters from neighborhood residents – three against the rumble strips and two supporting the move.

Longtime resident Anthony Giardina said initially he thought the strips would be a good idea, but given how much his neighbors have complained he’s wondering their effectiveness. Although not as impacted by the noise because he’s further down the street, Giardina said that when residents’ windows are open regularly in warmer weather, their problems will increase.

“My poor neighbors who live down the street from me, it goes right in front of their house,” Giardina said. “They’ve been complaining that the rumble strip is so loud, when the cars hit it, it wakes them up at night and it disturbs their tranquility.”

Carroll said the town has been monitoring the impact and is likely to reassess the rumble strips shortly.

“The town is trying to do everything it can to look at that intersection,” Carroll said. “In fact, the Engineering Department is in the process of doing another engineering study there to see if anything has changed.”

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