Newport Drive residents pleaded with the Clarkstown Town Board to put a stop to the speeders driving through their Nanuet neighborhood. They said the excessive speed and volume of vehicles puts their children and them at risk each day. About 40 residents showed up for the Tuesday night workshop and most of them asked the board to consider closing access from Samuel Road to Newport Drive.
Residents shared their worries about the situation and spoke about cars knocking down mailboxes, a fire hydrant, cable boxes, hitting trees and winding up on lawns. They talked about cars driving around stopped school buses.
“The speed is excessive,” said one homeowner.
Another said, “I’ve had six cars on my property since we moved there."
“It’s just a matter of time till someone gets killed,” warned one resident.
“Everybody thinks this is a convenient cut-through,” said Jeff Small, adding drivers from Chestnut Ridge and New Jersey use it to gain quicker access to the Palisades Interstate Parkway and other roads.
He cited a traffic study conducted by the Clarkstown Police Department on July 29, 2011 that monitored 1,000 cars a day traveling through the residential neighborhood at an average speed of 43 miles an hour. Small said several people went door to door to ask homeowners their opinion about possible closure of access to and from Samuel Road and that between 80 and 90 percent were in favor of it.
“I cannot walk on my block,” said Maryann Small. “I do not feel safe. That street is unsafe. It is frightening.”
Wendy Slotnick said, “I cannot walk my dog on my street because it is dangerous.”
She noted people are installing fences because they do not want their children playing near the street.
In September, Town Supervisor Alex Gromack had met with residents. A number of recommendations were made to slow speeders and reduce traffic. The police highway department and zoning department officials have worked on the issue but residents said the efforts were not working.
“The signs, the solar sign, none of these measures have stopped the flow of traffic and the speed of people driving down the block,” said Patricia Habas. “It’s been a continuing issue.”
Douglas Caulk said drivers use Newport Drive as a raceway on the weekends and new skid marks are visible on Monday morning.
The town sent a letter to residents and emergency personnel raising the possibility of closing Samuel Road to traffic. Gromack said the Nanuet Fire District, Town of Ramapo and Chestnut Ridge mayor were not in favor of it. The school district had not responded.
Residents supported the idea although questions were raised about how emergency vehicles would gain access if there was a problem and part of Newport Drive was inaccessible. The suggestion was made that a gate be installed and keys provided to emergency services. Convent Road and Loeser Drive also connect to Newport Drive.
Gromack said the town would contact the Nanuet Fire District, Town of Ramapo and Chestnut Ridge again and he thought the idea of a gate with a key provided to emergency personnel was a viable option that would be acceptable to them.
“We certainly do want to talk to the Nanuet School District,” he said. “I would think in the next two weeks or so, we could wrap up discussions with them (Nanuet Fire District) and the Nanuet School District and get back to people.”
Gromack said a resolution could be possible within the next 30 days.