CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Six weeks after petitions with 1,500 signatures calling for a median on the Bear Mountain State Parkway were sent to the New York State Department of Transportation, the Cortlandt town supervisor is calling the department's two-paragraph response insufficient.
In a letter sent to the Town of Cortlandt on Aug. 15, the DOT thanked the town for its concern about safety conditions on the high-speed, winding highway, and said the agency is reviewing its options. The highway connects Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown, and has been the site of several severe and fatal accidents in recent years.
"The New York State Department of Transportation is aware of safety concerns on the Bear Mountain Parkway in the Town of Cortlandt, and we are considering our options as we work toward developing safety enhancements on the parkway," read a letter signed by William Gorton, DOT regional director.
In response, Cortland Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi issued a public statement saying, "What does it take to get the State DOT to recognize that a barrier/ median/ guardrail will stop these serious accidents and fatalities? This response is the same one that we've had over many, many years of lobbying the State to make this necessary improvement. They must agree to do this project and to begin immediately."
Petitions with more than 1,500 signatures were sent to DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald on July 2, after a head-on collision killed 27-year-old Peekskill resident LaMarr Barnes. One week after the town sent the petitions to the DOT, a motorcyclist was killed in a head-on collision on the same parkway.
The town has passed multiple resolutions requesting that the DOT review the situation and construct enhanced safety measures. A $60 million barrier project was slated for the parkway, but representatives of the state agency have said funding cuts after the 2008 financial crisis eliminated the project.