December 1, 2021

Speed limit changes proposed in C’ville, McGraw

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Traffic heads north along Pendleton Street Extension toward Cortland on Tuesday in Cortlandville near Ahrens Road. The Cortlandville Town Board is asking the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on a span outside the city to 30 mph from 40 mph.

CORTLANDVILLE — People who live on Pendleton Street Extension and Clinton Street Extension in the city said Tuesday the town may lower the speed limits on their streets, but that’s only one part of an equation that includes enforcement and the realization that other factors play into speeding.

The Cortlandville Town Board voted Jan. 3 to request the Cortland County Highway Department to ask the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on the roads. The requests are for Clinton Street Extension outside of the village of McGraw to be 30 mph, and a 2,675-foot section of Pendleton Street Extension between Saunders and Ahrens roads, to be 40 mph.

The section of Pendleton Street Extension is 55 mph. Clinton Street Extension is 40 mph, and lowering it to 30 mph will bring it in line with the 30-mph section in the McGraw village limits. To change a speed limit, a town must petition the state Department of Transportation with the support of the county highway superintendent. The state DOT would then do a study to see if a reduction is warranted.

Pendleton Street Extension and Clinton Street Extension are on steep hills heading into a municipality, with Clinton heading into McGraw and Pendleton going into Cortland.

Steve Gulini, 54, has lived in the same house just outside the McGraw village line on Clinton Street Extension his entire life. As the years have gone by, more houses have been built and traffic has increased. And to Gulini, about half of the cars he sees go by his house go in excess of 40 mph.

Gulini has not seen any speed-related accidents near his home and to him, enforcing the speed limit in place is more important than reducing the limit.

“There’s no way you’re going 30 when you reach the village limit,” Gulini said.

Mike Chiano, and his wife Tresa, live near Clinton Street and Spring Street in McGraw, at the base of the Clinton Street Extension hill.

“It’s fine with me,” Mike Chiano said, though he still expects people to speed. “There is still no compliance with the law.”

Last winter, two accidents happened near the Chiano’s house — the only crashes in their 18 years there — both from cars going downhill into McGraw. One car knocked over the Chianos’ mailbox due to icy conditions while the other car hit a lightpole, which the Chianos were not sure was because of ice or speed.

Leon Gucwa, who has lived near the Pendleton Street Extension and Saunders Road intersection for the past six years, said the speeding in the area has not bothered him, as people need to go fast to get up the Pendleton Street hill. But when winter comes around, cars going downhill can end up in a ditch.

“Three to four times a year, people crash going downhill. No one was hurt,” Gucwa said, but they’re only during winter. “The rest of the time, people go about their business.”

Cortlandville Highway Superintendent Glenn Bassett said the town has received complaints about speeding from residents living on the roads. The town previously requested a speed limit change on Clinton Street Extension in May, along with several others, though the town has not heard back from the state yet. Gene Cilento, the public information officer for the state DOT in Syracuse, said this morning he did not know if those requests have gone through.