LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid village Board of Trustees has amended local law to create a four-way stop at the intersection of Mirror Lake Drive and Parkside Drive.
The board voted unanimously to approve the amendment following a public hearing at the North Elba Town Hall Monday morning. The law will take effect immediately upon filing with the New York Department of State.
Two people spoke during the public hearing: Scott Monroe and Dick Smith.
The new stop sign at the corner of Mirror Lake Drive and Parkside Drive as seen Monday.
Photo/Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
Monroe, a retired village police chief, said he reviewed letters from school officials at the National Sports Academy and found that, instead of asking for additional stop signs as Mayor Craig Randall said at a June meeting, they had requested that crosswalks near the intersection be repainted.
"I wonder how we got to the stop signs," Monroe said.
The village's code enforcement officer, Jim Morganson, said he began discussing traffic issues on Mirror Lake Drive with Randall about a year ago. He said there are issues with traffic moving through the intersection.
Randall said there has also been public comment about school children gathering in the area of the tennis courts and NSA.
"There are safety issues: You can't see everybody out there," he said. "The vision, when you're turning left or right, whether you're turning from Mirror Lake onto Parkside, or Parkside onto Mirror Lake Drive, you cannot always see oncoming traffic, let alone individuals who may be in the street itself."
Randall added that the main entrance to the school "dumps right on the street."
The mayor said there had been discussion about repainting the crosswalk and setting up a crosswalk sign in the middle of the road, "but given the activity there right now, there's barely enough room for two cars to pass.
"So it was deemed that the stop signs were perhaps the alternative that would allow traffic to begin to slow up," Randall said. "If we were to do crosswalk signs, I think the general feeling of the board is they would be placed on the curb on either side (of the road)."
Randall said that could create trouble for school parking.
"It's trying to make the best out of the situation," Randall said. "It's a very busy intersection, especially considering its location off Main Street."
Monroe also asked what guidelines or standards were used come up with the four-way stop. Randall said there was a discussion with police Chief Bill Moore and officials at the village Department of Public Works.
Monroe said the village should have consulted the state's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. He said that according to the manual, the village should have conducted an engineering study, that there need to have been at least five car accidents within a 12-month period, and that minimum traffic volumes must reach nearly 4,000 vehicles - including pedestrians and bicycles - over an eight-hour period.
"That's all well and good, but we've got kids crossing the street, and I don't think we need to wait for five accidents to happen in order to correct the problem," Curtis said.
"Well you've only had one since 2006," Monroe responded.
Curtis said one accident should be enough to act.
"I don't care what the national rules are; we've got an intersection here with the school behind it, and an issue with kids crossing the street," he said. "We need to slow the traffic down, and we need the stop signs."
Monroe recommended the board set up crosswalk signs, while Smith, a village resident, said the board could consider a school speed zone.
Smith also said the board acted hastily in putting up the stop signs, before holding a public hearing. Village attorney Janet Bliss said the board acted in the interest of safety and acted reasonably to address a problematic situation.
Bliss said if the four-way stop doesn't work, the board can change it.
Monroe also asked the board to consider holding future public hearings in the evening. He said he spoke to two people who wanted to attend Monday morning's hearing but couldn't because they had to work.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.