The problem is everywhere
The River Reporter asked members of the Upper Delaware community for comment on the dangers of speeding.
People from all over the area reported issues with dangerous …
The problem is everywhere
The River Reporter asked members of the Upper Delaware community for comment on the dangers of speeding.
People from all over the area reported issues with dangerous drivers, indifferent pedestrians and poorly-designed roads. And one commenter had a completely different take, which is also well worth reading.
Answers have been anonymized and were lightly edited for clarity.
“It's not just the walking public, it's cars, trucks, pickups and ATVs. We live on a twisty windy road, and more than once I've arrived home with my heart thumping wildly because of a close encounter. They drive very fast right down the middle of the narrow roads. Going around a corner is scary. You never know what's heading right at you. We have had too many close calls.”
Commenters mentioned older people and people with disabilities, who might not be able to move out of the way of speeding cars quickly enough.
“It was recently brought to my attention that the RR was seeking local input on traffic and walking.
“Our beautiful area has been a destination for decades, even centuries, as an escape from the busy streets of the nearby cities of New York and Philadelphia. In recent years, there's been an impossible-to-miss explosion, both in numbers of recreational visitors, and also in the prices of land and homes which many of those visitors use for a second home, and may eventually transition to full-time residency.
This dramatic influx of new friends and neighbors has had the predictable impact of increasing traffic on local roads, and filling up local bars, restaurants, shops and hiking trails. Fortunately, out in the country the roads are longer, the shops and houses are spaced further apart, and as a result, the impact of a double-sized summer crowd is still fairly marginal.
“However it's still worth reminding drivers, cyclists and pedestrians of a few basic rules which, when followed, can improve both the safety and enjoyment of our beautiful area.
“1) Cycle with traffic. A bicycle should travel on roads and with the flow of traffic. Never on sidewalks and never against traffic.
“2) Pass bicycles with care and courtesy. In nearly all instances, a motorist passing a cyclist should cross the center line to allow ample room. If oncoming traffic does not allow for this, the motorist who is facing the obstruction should yield to oncoming traffic until it is safe to pass the cyclist. This rule also holds true if a parked or disabled vehicle is occupying part of the roadway
“3) Walk against traffic. Pedestrians should walk so they can directly see oncoming traffic. This way, they will have sufficient time to react should an oncoming car fail to see them and meander too close.
“4) If walking, cycling, or working near an active roadway, wear bright colors. Walking down a forested road, in the dim light of an early morning or late evening, while wearing earth tones can easily create a situation where a pedestrian is invisible to even a fully-alert driver. Bright colors help ensure you are seen by everyone on the road.
“5) Use crosswalks whenever available. Although a crosswalk does not extend a magical shield around its users, a crosswalk does heighten visibility and awareness. In many municipalities, a crosswalk also creates an airtight legal defense for a pedestrian who is struck while crossing. This alone is often enough to encourage motorists to generously stop and allow foot traffic to safely cross busy streets
“A few more thoughts on the issue:
“Living so close to a state border seems to lead to a decline in policing. In my 10+ years living in the Catskills and in northeast PA, I've seen only a small handful of cars pulled over on the major roads near the NY/PA border. This most certainly does not indicate that nobody is speeding on 97, 652, 371, or 17B. Instead, it is a sure sign that local and state police tend not to spend much time patrolling near the Delaware River. As unpopular an opinion as this might be, I believe an increase in speed patrols will have a dramatic and noticeable effect on traffic behavior.
“Finally I believe that it is not the increase in vacationing families that is leading to more danger on our roadways. It is not the increase in second-home owners. It is not the uptick of campers, kayakers, Hasidim, or any other group of people. It is the deer.
Local deer populations have skyrocketed, and every time a motorist slams on their brakes to avoid a deer standing motionless in the road, the deer are being taught that the Big Bright Boxes that careen down the Hard Black Ground are actually frightened of THEM. Imagine being a deer, walking out onto a roadway, and watching traffic STOP for you. Would you learn to avoid the traffic? Of course not.
“I therefore feel strongly that an expert organization needs to be brought into the NoPoSoCa (Northern Poconos Southern Catskills) area to effectively and humanely deal with an out of control deer population. This in turn will dramatically improve conditions on our local roadways for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
“Finally, I need to let you know that I take exception with the phrase "We're putting together a list of roads that aren't safe to walk on anymore." The phrasing of that sentence is stupefyingly sensationalistic. All roads are safe to walk on if you are alert and aware. No road is safe to walk on if you are distracted. At the end of the day, our safety is our own responsibility and encouraging your readers to take steps to maximize their safety when walking, driving or cycling is something I hope you'll do.”
County Road 114
“Parts of the road are pretty curved, so the long stretch [where people live] is a death zone. Cars and trucks accelerate the second they get off the curve, and they might be going as fast as 80 mph. It’s insanity! When I see people run or ride their bike I literally fear for their lives.”
Mitchell Pond Road East, Cochecton
“There’s a FedEx driver who speeds on the road in Cochecton, and it’s scary! Many individuals and families walk, jog and bike on that road. One time my partner and I were walking, and were run off the road—we jumped to the shoulder; the driver did not slow down or even look in our direction.”
“We drive to the transfer station (aka the dump) on Mitchell Pond Road East, coming from Mueller Road on 17B. Before you make the left, there’s a steep hill, and you can’t see the traffic coming from the opposite direction the closer you get. It’s potentially a dangerous spot.
Obernburg Road, Obernburg
“It’s a beautiful walk between Route 95 and the Hankins Road, but cars speed there and you certainly can’t walk two abreast. They also speed on 95, going in both directions near the Obernberg Post Office.”
New Turnpike Road, Cochecton
One major problem is “the very young kids (7 to 15 years old) driving at crazy speeds on their ATVs on New Turnpike Road and in the vicinity. It is extremely dangerous for them and also anyone who happens to be walking on the road. Not only that, but it is actually illegal for them to be driving ATVs on these roads. The noise is a huge nuisance as well.
“Even more importantly, their parents should not even allow them to be driving these ATVS on the roads as it is extremely dangerous.”
“It’s supposed to be 30 mph from the town for about two miles, but someone stole the signs. The road is very narrow and curvy and the houses are close to the road, and the traffic drives 60 mph and [some go] even faster. Young children play in front yards along the road, and it’s just a matter of time before something bad happens.”
"I too am frustrated with the reckless and dangerous driving behaviors. The sound is deafening as these drivers speed past. I have contacted the state police and they informed me that one of the culprits was caught and heavily fined. Unfortunately that has not deterred them. As late as 1:30 a.m., they fly past, waking my household and I am sure anyone else who is in listening distance. It is my opinion that there needs to be a noise ordinance that is enforced as well as increased patrols to catch these speeders before someone is killed.”
“Noticed in the last few years that there are more cars and trucks, and they’re driving much too quickly.
“Once a road that was mostly used by residents, it seems to have become the thoroughfare for travel between Glen Spey and Eldred.
“Lots of vehicles driving way too fast on a 35 mph road.”
“People are driving too fast on these windy mountain roads and are coming at me on my side of the road. Driving too fast and can’t stay in their lane. Also lots of tailgating—if the speed limit is 55, apparently 60 isn’t fast enough.
“Yesterday two people did not stop at the stop signs, just did the roll-through. They think that no one will be in the road, so why stop? I live in a 30-mile-per-hour zone, and lots of people are driving through, doing 50. This behavior reminds me of when I lived on Staten Island. Rude, reckless drivers.”
Many pedestrians. Drivers need to slow down, but several respondents questioned whether that would happen.
Right outside of Hankins. The speed limit is 55 and people’s doors open close to the road.
“[Plus] there are definitely loud, fast and obnoxious four-wheelers as well to add into the mix.
“On Sunday morning, I was about to tie my dog on my porch. A jogger came by; [the dog] went to chase the jogger, and was struck by an oncoming truck that didn’t even stop. She has a broken nose which I am dealing with. Sad to say, I would never feel safe walking down my road.”
"I've been in Callicoon a little more than 10 years. I think there's plenty more car traffic, and it’s definitely time for some zebra stripes. I'd like to see the entire T-intersection in front of the pharmacy have zebra stripes. I’ve crossed one, sometimes two streets to get to the stores on Lower Main. Zebra stripes on the whole intersection, from maybe the Kitchen Table to the 1906 building, and then up a bit towards the Western, would really help. Cars need to have the visual to know that pedestrians have the right of way.
"I also think a stop sign on Upper Main, in front of the Western, heading south from the movie theater, would help. I still don't know who has the right of way there.
"My real fantasy would be to make Lower Main one-way from Dorrer Drive to the library, heading north, with Dorrer Drive going the other direction. Cars coming down from 97 by the Brewery could only turn right towards Bridge Street. If they wanted to go to Pecks or Agway, they would have to go past the library and turn on Dorrer Drive. Cars coming from 17B would not be able to turn left to Dorrer Drive, but would have to go straight through town. And cars coming from PA would have to go to 97 via Dorrer Drive and then up past the Western. So Lower Main and Dorrer Drive would be a circle going counter-clockwise. "
“Close to the stop lights that head into town, people speed like crazy on this stretch. When I'm crossing the street with or without my dog, I've noticed people do not stop or even slow down.”
“Walking up the hill by Provisions and the Brewery, some drivers step on the gas and go speeding past me in the wrong lane. If I'm crossing on top of that hill, no one will stop for a pedestrian.
“We need more crosswalks, speed bumps and stop signs, children at play signs, not to mention a speed limit reduction to 25 mph max on 97 through town.
“I do think the hamlet of Callicoon would benefit from-one way traffic flow.” Commenter added that after asking for stop signs and a reduced speed limit, officials said that no one would be interested in taking up the issue. “There are now many hotel rooms and wedding guests staying at the Seminary Hill Boarding House and lots of pedestrians.”
County Route 164, near the Villa Roma
“The amount of traffic, speeders and dirt bikes with no license plates has increased so much over the years that we cannot even hear ourselves talking.
“Road traffic is very loud. If the speed limit was lower it would help a lot. There was a time that I could take walks on the road, and my kids could ride their bikes on the road, but those times are long gone. It is also dangerous just to get in and out of my driveway.”
Multiple complaints. Homemade signs have been posted: "Slow down or get gunned down" and "Gabel Rd Drag Strip."
“So many people walk, and SUVs come up behind you on the road, going so fast—why is everyone in such a hurry?” It’s especially dangerous at night, the commenter said. “No lights on the roads—such a risk with animals. I’ve had some near misses.”
The road “is getting more unsafe every year. It's a narrow country road with a good amount of traffic. It's an access or pass-through road for The Center for Discovery and the hospital. It's all blind hills and absolutely no shoulder for a pedestrian. (Actually, summer pedestrians and cyclists are also a big problem on that road, due to the lack of a road shoulder). But, it's a year-round issue for driving, with too many drivers wanting to be too far over into the center of the road. So much fun popping over a blind hill and having to honk the horn to get the oncoming driver's attention. Distracted driving is so often the reason.
"Otherwise, on my regular driving route, the—mostly summer—pedestrians are the issue, not the drivers. It's the pedestrians who insist on walking abreast no matter what, meaning some of them are out in traffic, making us swerve around them.”
“It has become treacherous. The speed limit should be around 30 mph, but there are no speed limit signs. Despite the winding road and blind spots, cars race by like it's a speedway. I have three small children, and I worry about their safety.
“My neighbors have also expressed their concerns about the increase in speeding. We've discussed contacting the county about this. I think speed bumps and new signage should be installed.”
Route 52, where some houses open out very close to the road.
“There are several local factors that make traffic a particular hazard:
“The village sits in a dip and traffic entering it from either the east or the west is traveling downhill which tends to aggravate the speed problem, particularly trucks.
“The highway was resurfaced a few years ago and when they repainted the stripes they moved the lanes of travel very slightly towards the north side of the highway, leaving a very narrow shoulder there, to the point that where there is a gully in front of the Methodist Church and adjacent apartment building pedestrians must walk in the lane of travel.
"The building housing the post office and Running W Pit Stop deli also predates the highway widening, encroaching on the shoulder of the highway, and the access steps are only a couple of feet from the lane of travel. If you stumble on the steps you stumble into oncoming traffic.
"The post office building is on a slight curve, limiting the sightlines of westbound traffic which, when it is speeding, comes into conflict with vehicles emerging from the post office parking lot or making a left onto Shore Rd.
"There is enough of a dip in front of the Methodist Church to create a blind spot. There are a few seconds where lower cars traveling eastbound are not visible to shorter people crossing the highway in front of the post office, a spot where people cross quite often because they park on the shoulder across the street to go into the post office or deli. If those drivers are speeding, they have very little reaction time.
“The entrance to the Dollar General is immediately opposite the firehouse driveway and sufficiently close to the junction of 52 and White Sulphur Rd to create a conflict with traffic turning at either of those locations. There have been minor fender benders which likely are too small to turn up in any statistics anywhere.
“The Dollar General opened maybe two years ago since when there has been an increase in pedestrian traffic walking to it from different parts of the hamlet, exposing more people to traffic hazards, including unaccompanied minors who likely have less traffic awareness.
“Because there is no shoulder on the north side of the highway people tend to walk on the south side regardless of direction so a significant number of people walk with their back to traffic; as the proportion of people driving distracted increases, so does the proportion of drivers straying out of the lane of travel onto the shoulder.
“Nothing terrible has happened, but sometimes I think that it’s only a matter of time.
“If I want to take a walk, I have to walk on 52 or drive somewhere else, which is a bit ironic for living in the country."
“The speed limit is 40. Trucks, cars, buses all go way too fast as they round the curve.” There are mailboxes right at the curve “and it’s an accident waiting… I told the county and they put a flashing speed sign there for a few months then took it away.
“Sometimes when the mailman is stopped, loading the boxes, people whizz around. One day someone will be coming in the other direction.”
“It's not just the increased traffic, but the speed at which they drive; mostly the younger drivers with modified vehicles. We have pedestrians, dog walkers, cyclists, etc. During one of my walks, I was almost struck by a speedster; I had to jump into the brush/drain to avoid being hit. It was quite rattling.”
“It is a major problem. Everything everyone else has noted.”
“Coming down Conklin Hill toward Galilee Road, just before the slight left for Route 371. There's a concern for the driver coming from 371, making the left-hand turn to continue on Galilee Road. Very dangerous.”
“You can’t see over the blind corners. People speed and don’t seem to understand the concept of keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front.”
“I think we need speed bumps. Especially in small towns. Milanville! River Road from Milanville to Damascus is very dangerous now. People go 50-60 miles per hour. It is marked as a 25 mph road.”
“River Road between the Callicoon Road and the boat landing.”
“Crossing the bridge from Callicoon into PA and making that left hand turn. I always felt there should be a stop sign before the bridge on the Callicoon Road.”
“Speeding cars, loud cars, modified cars, ATVs, trucks with and without bouncing utility trailers… we are experiencing it all. I see walkers, runners, bikers, people with strollers and small children, people with dogs. All are at risk from the above. The road itself, has no shoulders, nor enough pavement surface for people to get out of the way. The turn down our road from the Callicoon Road is very dangerous, because coming from Callicoon Road, the drivers are going way too fast around the approach to the bridge on the curve. This situation has intensified over the past two to three years. We are plagued with illegal ATVs on weekends. Some are traveling in large groups and the noise level is increasing.
“State troopers are too far away to come when the need is great. Appealing to local government might help if they prevail on the state and [can get] more local police. But I don't see a real solution on the horizon other than getting some law enforcement to come out and watch what's happening, especially on weekends.”
“Almost every time I am either driving, walking or running on the road, a vehicle speeds by in the middle of the road, while going over a blind hill or curve.
And in other cases, while they are speeding and in their lane, they have come very close to knocking me off the shoulder. A reason for running against traffic. An accident is bound to happen sooner or later.”
“I am deaf with cochlear implants, so hearing cars is a challenge. I walk a lot in the Narrowsburg area from River Road on the PA side. Just pulling out at the stop sign or crossing the road is scary. Cars are speeding both ways across the bridge. Cars fly down the end of River Road, so last year I put up signs to slow down. It did not help.
“Our mail driver now refuses to go into our driveway to deliver our packages. I was told to pick them up at the post office instead. The post office said it was too dangerous for them to pull out with the cars speeding by. For over 16 years they used to bring packages right to our door, but not now.”
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