Clarkstown Police Administrative Captain Anthony Ovchinnikoff told the Clarkstown Town Board at Tuesday’s meeting that the breakaway barrier installed on Samuel Road was meeting its goal.
“We think it’s had its desired effect,” said Ovchinnikoff. “The volume is down.”
The town installed the metal gate in August after residents of Newport Drive in Nanuet complained about people who were not residents using their street as a cut-through and driving recklessly. A temporary barrier had been installed in June consisting of two Clarkstown Highway Department plow trucks and barricades.
Police conducted traffic studies prior to Clarkstown blocking access from Samuel Road in Chestnut Ridge to Newport Drive and after the installation of a breakaway barrier. Ovchinnikoff said traffic counts conducted in May on northbound vehicles on Newport Drive monitored 1,007 vehicles at an average speed of 33 miles per hour (mph). Southbound traffic of 979 vehicles was also clocked at 33 mph. The study was conducted over a 74-hour period.
For 96 hours from September 27 to October 1, traffic was again monitored on Newport Drive. The number of northbound cars dropped to 499 with an average speed of 32 mph. Southbound volume fell to 325 vehicles with a typical speed of 29 mph.
Town Attorney Amy Mele acknowledged Clarkstown received complaints about the road closure from the Village of Chestnut Ridge. She said with the information provided by the traffic counts, she recommended the town board adopt the resolution affirming there were no significant adverse environmental impacts as a result of turning Samuel Road into a dead end street.
“... Further resolved, that, based upon the traffic data gathered by the Clarkstown Police Department as well as the input from emergency service providers and residents, deems it in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of its residents that the breakaway barrier erected on Samuel Road remain a permanent installation.”
Mele said, “We believe that the counts performed by the police department bear out our original conclusion that Newport Drive was being used a cut through arterial road.”
The resolution notes Clarkstown’s intention was to force traffic to use South Pascack Road instead of Newport Drive and states, “that there is no demonstrable increase in the traffic volumes on Duryea Lane.” However, residents of nearby Duryea Lane have complained the closure of Samuel Road has rerouted traffic to their street. The Village of Chestnut Ridge and Rockland County have filed lawsuits against Clarkstown claiming the closure is illegal.
Congers resident Steve Levine commented on the town's action as a draconian step.
"It seems to me there have to be other solutions to what is going on over there on Samuel Road," said Levine.