Several steps still need to be completed before law takes effect
By Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston on Tuesday voted unanimously to amend local law 3-2022 and lower the municipal speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. They sought to take advantage of legislation signed last month by Gov. Kathy Hochul (A.1007-A/S.2021-A) permitting municipalities to implement such a change.
Board members did not set a start date for the new law to take effect, however, as several steps still need to be taken.
First, there remains a question about Center Street, which is under the Department of Transportation’s control.
Mayor Anne Welch said she spoke with DOT Region 5 Director Francis Cirillo, who was “going to check on the requirements … and get back to me.
“All the other streets are fine; it’s just Center Street we have to wait to hear from DOT, to see if we’re going to make that 30 miles per hour. I’m sure he’ll get back to us shortly, once he finds out what the requirements are – if there is any.”
In addition, village Department of Public Works Superintendent Larry Wills said he will have to order new speed limit signs, and then have his crew install them.
Municipal counsel Joseph Leone also noted, “This has got to be filed with the state, too, so it becomes finalized” as law.
Wills said, “Hopefully, in the meantime, DOT switches over Center Street for us, and basically we do it all at one time.”
At a public hearing prior to the work session, residents Robert Giannetti and Ron Craft spoke on the proposed speed limit change.
“I think this is a very good idea, but I think the enforcement is a critical piece of this,” Giannetti said. “There is a lot of traffic that simply ignores the crosswalks that were put in.”
He added, “I think Center Street has become a real busy place, whether you walk the dog in the morning; whether you happen to be walking while people are getting home from work.
“I think Fourth and Center is a real problem, with people in the morning cutting that light short and then making a lefthand turn.
“I guess all of this goes to say that lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25 could conceivably be absolutely ignored, unless there’s a real strenuous enforcement provision. And that would involve police presence, and the trailers with the lights, etc.”
Giannetti noted, “There’s a lot of stuff going on with ignoring the crosswalks that’s very troubling.”
“We do have those crosswalk signs, however, there’s not a lot of people that stop for the pedestrians,” she said. “We try everything for safety.
“People will probably still drive faster than 25 miles per hour, but, right now, if they know they can go 30, then they’ll go 40. So, maybe if (we) go 25, maybe they’ll go 30 or 35.
“Even our chief of police had said that the stopping distance – even 5 miles per hour difference – the stopping distance can really make a difference.”
Craft said, “I live on the corner (of Center and Fourth). You did a great job on the street (repaving), but I’ve got motorcycles doing wheelies down, speeding through the light. Cars and mufflers. If you sit on Center Street any length of time, it’s very hard to carry on a conversation sometimes.”
Not all roadways will see a change in speed limit. Certain areas that border the Town of Lewiston are exempt from the change in law:
•Creek Road Extension, between the east village line and the south village line, remains 40 mph.
•Garden Lane – 15 mph.
•Historical Square Apartments, on or along the roadways on the premises (920 Mohawk St.) –15 mph.
•Forest Road, between the north village line and the south village line – 30 mph.
•Mountain View Drive, between the east village line and the south village line – 30 mph
In addition, two youth play areas on Onondaga Street – one behind St. Peter R.C. School and the other adjacent to the Marilyn Toohey Park inclusive playground – are labeled as 20 mph speed zones.
Per the amendment language, “All other provisions of the Lewiston Village Code, Section §11-16, shall remain as therein stated and unchanged.”
Trustees approved a trial run for a farm stand to be located in this grassy area just above the corner of Center and North Water Streets.
Coulter Farms Stand at Lewiston Landing
The Village Board agreed to give Coulter Farms a trial run at selling produce from a portable, 10-foot-by-20-foot unit on Center Street, just above Water Street (on the grass across from the fish-cleaning station).
Operators can sell fruit from their farm stand from 8 a.m. until dusk daily through the end of 2022. They will pay the municipality $25 for each day they’re on site and, if successful – both in terms of clients and appeasing trustees with their approach – will have right of first refusal to return in the spring or summer of 2023.
Leone said he would craft a contract to complement the facility contract granted to Coulter Farms. He cautioned trustees it might be difficult to grant one vendor exclusive rights.
Board members suggested there’s not a lot of available rental space on Water Street, particularly as the village’s contract with its tenant at 115 N. Water – The Silo Restaurant – prohibits other food vendors from selling items in the park next to the eatery, or across the street. Most of the south side of the street is comprised of private property.
The board also voted in favor of fixing fencing in front of 605 Center St.
Welch asked the board to consider using some of the proceeds from the recent sale of the “Big Yellow House” on Ridge Street to replace a section of fencing in front of 605 Center St. This is the home of Jackie Sutherland. Her late husband, Bruce, was a trustee and former deputy mayor.
“There’s a great, big section of fence in front of Sutherlands’ that has been rotted,” Welch said.
Wills said, “A while back, we started replacing that fence, and we did the first section. And then we started with summer projects and all that, and just got rolling; and things got crazy.”
Welch said, “That was our streetscape fence. We put it up (roughly 22 years ago). We were responsible for it. It’s been all broken.”
“It’s all rotted away,” Trustee Nick Conde said.
“These fences, they’re just rotten,” Welch said. “There’s nothing to repair anymore.”
Fence replacement cost is expected to be less than $9,000, with vinyl posts set to replace the broken-down or missing wood. Treasurer Stephanie Longwell said a little more than $177,000 in property sale proceeds remains in the account line.
Trustees voted to approve this action.
Welch said members of the village’s Beautification Commission and the Lewiston Garden Club have looked into replacing all of the white fencing along Center Street. The projected total cost is almost $100,000. Subsequent repair work is expected to be piecemeal, as donations, grants and other funds become available.
“Breaking it up, we might be able to do some (more),” Welch said. “The Garden Club might be able to help out, or beautification – one of them.”
Wills said the DPW is at a point where it can no longer fix the fencing at Academy Park because “there’s nothing to even screw to.”