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North Salem Board Acts to Slow Speeders

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — Residents of North Salem have long complained about cars speeding along residential roads, especially ones that head into and out of Connecticut.

At last week’s town board meeting, Deputy Supervisor Peter Kamenstein cited dirt roads in particular, where there is both equine and pedestrian traffic.

“We’ve petitioned the Department of Transportation (DOT) to lower the speed limit, and we’ve asked our state representatives to pass a local home rule law, which would give the town the ability to lower local speed limits, and have still received no satisfaction,” he said.

“We checked with our insurance carrier, and they had no problem with our installing speed humps, not bumps, as long as proper signage is put up,” Kamenstein continued.

Speed bumps are the shorter and more abrupt obstructions often seen in parking lots, according to the DOT. Speed humps are usually 12 to 15 feet long and four inches high and are sometimes painted.

“We want to try it on Wallace Road to see how effective it is,” Kamenstein said. “All the residents have said they’re tremendously in favor of it.”

He pointed to the use of speed humps in other towns. “Guard Hill Road in Bedford has them, and they are very effective in slowing people down,” he said.

Supervisor Warren Lucas blamed the speeding on the increased population. “When I was a kid, Ridgefield had the same number of people as North Salem — about 4,000. Now they have 25,000 to 27,000,” Lucas said. "I get emails and correspondence from people over there asking me to pave the roads so they can go faster.”

Speaking of the transition sites between Connecticut and New York, Kamenstein said, “It’s very bizarre. The speed limit in Ridgefield on the paved road is 25 mph, and as soon as they cross on to the dirt road in North Salem, it goes up to 30.”

The town board has authorized the highway superintendent to put up signs warning motorists of the humps ahead.

“We hope it’s going to be the next best answer to the problem, and we will continue to pressure our state representatives to get a home rule law passed so we can adjust our own local roads,” Kamenstein concluded.

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