October 21, 2021

Residents on Bennie Road in C’ville take measures to slow motorists

Kevin Conlon/city editor

A vehicle drives east Thursday afternoon on Bennie Road in Cortlandville, where a resident has installed a digital sign that advises motorists of their speed. Neighbors successfully lobbied the town to add stop signs nearby at Walden Oaks Boulevard.

Cars driving west on Bennie Road in Cortlandville often sped along the hilly, winding road, passing Walden Oaks Boulevard on the right.

As they approach the intersection, they pass a long red barn close to the left side of the road and a handmade wooden sign advertising “Eggs for Sale” on the right. Cresting a hill, two houses appear on the right.

John Conway, who lives in the second house and his grandchildren in the house next door, has waged a battle against speeders for the past year.

“It was dangerous pulling out of there,” he said, gesturing toward their driveway.

He spent $3,200 on a digital sign he placed in his yard that flashed the speed of each passing vehicle going either west or east, depending on which way he turns it. The data from the sign is transmitted weekly to his business, Conway Construction on Route 13 in Freeville, and show the speeds of about 16,000 vehicles each week. Many vehicles were moving at 50 mph or more in the 30 mph zone.

The neighbors lobbied the Cortlandville Town Board to install stop signs at the intersection of Walden Oaks Boulevard — the gateway to Walden Oaks Country Club and a neighborhood of upscale homes.

But the stop signs, which were installed around Nov. 18, aren’t enough and the speeding issue still persists, residents told the town board Wednesday evening. On top of that, people aren’t always stopping at the stop signs and some residents have raised concerns that people may get rear-ended while stopping at the signs.

“Motorists are simply not stopping at the stop sign,” said Tony Dilucci, the president of the Walden Oaks Homeowners Association. He has received calls from residents about drivers exceeding the posted speed limit.

Cortlandville Town Board member Doug Withey said the limit is 45 mph along a stretch of the road before switching to 30 mph, and many drivers use the road to get to Walmart or the golf course.

Withey said that the town highway superintendent said there is a street light near the stop signs, but the town will look at whether the lighting is bright enough.

Withey said that the town is also considering reducing the speed limit to 30 mph along the entirety of the road. That can take a year and a half to get done though, Withey said, because it needs state approval.

However, Withey said he thinks everything will work out and drivers will get used to the stop signs.

The residents in the area are happy the board is trying to fix the issue, though.

“Not just me but the neighbors want to thank the town board,” Conway said. “We built a case and they acted on it.”

He believes the change is due to the new stop signs.