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Potsdam trustees discuss Main Street crosswalk complaints


POTSDAM — The busy Main Street crosswalk in front of the Roxy Theater again became a cause for concern during Monday’s village Board of Trustees meeting.

The crosswalk is on a busy stretch and is frequently used by pedestrians trying to get to and from the large municipal parking lot across from the theater. Walkers complain frequently that drivers do not slow down or stop for them, Trustee Eleanor F. Hopke said.

She suggested installing brighter lights near the crosswalk to improve visibility.

“Especially in the winter when we’re wearing black jackets, it’s hard to see,” she said.

Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis said National Grid installed the existing lights, and he could contact the utility to ask if improving the lighting is possible.

However, low visibility plays a small role in the crosswalk’s dangerous reputation, he said.

“That’s a crosswalk that frequently has problems in the middle of the day in bright light,” he said.

Any changes to the road itself, such as the addition of signs or flashing lights, are almost out of the question, according to village Administrator David H. Fenton. Main Street is U.S. Route 11, and the state Department of Transportation is unlikely to approve any changes unless all other options have failed, including increased enforcement, Mr. Fenton said.

“The DOT is very hesitant to make changes to the actual highway until several things happen,” he said.

In 2012, police responded to complaints by cracking down on drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians. The area is still frequently patrolled, and tickets are regularly handed out to those who ignore the rules, but the complaints keep coming in, said police Chief Kevin M. Bates.

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