Smoothing out the bumps

I t came down to two new bumps in the road.

Residents from Kirtland Street in the village of Whitehall were pleased to see the bumps, which they felt were a way to deter people from speeding along their street.

However, others saw them as a nuisance.

In the end, it came down to how the pair of speed bumps were put in that led to their removal after the Nov. 1 meeting of the Whitehall Village Board.

At the meeting, Mayor Francis “Fra” Putorti said that he had authorized the creation of the speed bumps, but had done so without board approval.

“I have to apologize for acting outside the rules,” said Putorti. “It was something that I thought needed to be done, but I didn’t get approval from the board. We will have to go back up there and take the current speed bumps out and I will take the blame for that.”

As part of the “blame,” Putorti said that he would not burden the taxpayers with the bill for the bumpy duo.

“I will take my checks that I get as mayor and put them back in to pay for the black top and the work,” said Putorti. “I think that we need to start this process all over, and make sure that we do it the right way.”

“As far as I am concerned, they need to come out,” said trustee Kenneth Bartholomew, who then responded to claims from the audience that he was not concerned with public safety.

“I’m not against public safety,” said Bartholomew. “I am against doing something that has not been fully looked into by the board.”

“I think that there are steps that need to be taken by the whole board prior to a decision like this,” said trustee Walter Sandford. “I think that we need to make sure that they are needed, and then we need to ask ourselves if this is something that we can do for all residents. If we can’t, then we are not being fair.”

Sandford also said that putting the speed bumps in without proper authorization and specifications could lead to a liability problem on the part of the village.

“I’m not saying we can’t put one or two speed bumps up there,” said Sandford. “But we have to make sure that everything is in the proper place and that the board has put any needed laws into place that govern that situation.”

Putorti also said that he had to take into consideration a petition that was delivered to the village asking for the bumps to be removed.

“There are over 100 names of people on the petition who do not want the speed bumps,” said Putorti. “So what we have is the 10-12 people on the street that are in favor of them, but 100-or-so people saying no to them.”

“How many people how live on the street signed that petition,” questioned Francis Affinito.

“Two,” replied Putorti.

The issue that the majority of the residents who attended the meeting expressed to the board was the increase in residential and commercial traffic, including large trucks, during the period of time that Green Mountain Marketplace has been at the end of the street.

“That corner there is a safety concern,” said Ralph DeSimone. “I have been keeping an eye out more now that I am retired and around the house more, and there are a number of times when people come around those corners without looking and there could be a bad accident.”

“It has been going on for years,” said Affinito. “I have been living here 76 years and we haven’t had problems like this until the store came in up there. There have been a number of close calls, and something disastrous is waiting to happen.”

The board said that they would monitor the street using patrols and the speed trailer from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. If they find that bumps are needed, they will then re-install them.

“That’s fine, but you can tell that these cars are going too fast on that road,” said Affinito.

The board also adopted a motion to lower the posted speed limit on Kirtland Street to 20 miles-per-hour.

“I am pleased that they lowered the speed limit and are looking to control it,” said DeSimone.

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