Collaborative Effort in Irondequoit to Slow Traffic Near Our Schools
Week of July 3, 2017
David A. Seeley
Town of Irondequoit
1280 Titus Avenue
Rochester, New York 14617
One of the finest characteristics about Irondequoit is that it is a walkable community. We have more sidewalks per capita than any other Town in Monroe County, and relatively few major four-lane roads, compared to other suburbs. Our new Active Transportation plan demonstrates the connection between high quality of life and the ability to walk and bike in our community.
On any given day, Irondequoit’s children represent the largest group of pedestrians walking and biking in our Town. Our primary concern must always be to look out for their safety, something we were reminded of earlier this year when tragic accident took the life of an Irondequoit High School student. It is my opinion, and opinion of many others, that safety always trumps convenience, and that is especially true near and around our many schools in Irondequoit.
In early April, I joined with the Superintendents of both East and West Irondequoit, as well as Irondequoit Police Chief Tantalo, to request that the County authorize reduced speed zones on Cooper Road and East Ridge Road, near the high school campuses. Shortly thereafter, we had a productive meeting with members of County Executive Dinolfo’s administration, and at our June meeting, the Town Board passed a resolution to create the reduced speed zones, during school hours. I thank the County for their partnership in this effort.
This represents progress; however, I argue that more can be done to lower the overall speed on the roads near our schools. State Law proscribes that reduced speed zones, with very little exception, may not exceed a quarter-mile. I will continue to argue that West Irondequoit might be looked at differently given it is a ‘walking district’ and the senior and junior high schools are stacked next to each other. It is the Town Board’s intent to engage our state partners to advocate for a demonstration program on Cooper Road to allow for a longer zone.
Irondequoit is home to over a dozen neighborhood schools, most of which are on Town roads. Many of the stretches of roads leading up these schools are reduced speed zones. However, it is the Town Board’s intent to study whether additional “feeder” roads near our schools should also have reduced speed limits, and if a Town-wide speed limit reduction might be warranted at this time. This study which will include input from broad community stakeholders.
A key part of any strategy to make our streets safer for walking is awareness. We will continue to work with the school districts to ensure both motorists and pedestrians are better aware of one another. I am encouraged by the yard signs appearing at residents’ expense to encourage slower speeds. This is a community issue that requires our residents to work with each other. I am optimistic that we will ultimately do right be our children. They deserve nothing less.
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