Liberty – Accident prone road gets attention


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busmvacatskills.jpgThe “stop ahead” sign and the sign admonishing trucks to use low gear for the descent along Ferndale-Loomis Road don’t seem to be enough to get drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection with Ferndale Road. The most recent crash happened just a few weeks ago, when a bus full of boys from a summer camp careened through the T intersection with Ferndale Road and into the Middle Mongaup River.

? In May 2004, the same thing happened to a bus loaded with girls from a summer camp.

All day, all night, the steep hill reverberates with the screech of tires. Maurice Gerry, a Liberty councilman who lives at the foot of the hill, says it’s so bad and so regular that he doesn’t need an alarm clock “I just need to open the window,” he told a crowd gathered at Tuesday night’s Town Board meeting.

“Nobody lives closer to that than me,” Gerry said. “We are the culprits, not the road. (Drivers) abuse that road to no belief. And it is the locals.”

The Town of Liberty and many of the people who live there want to do something about Ferndale-Loomis Road. Supervisor Frank DeMayo said at the board meeting that he’ll look into hiring a traffic consultant to help find a fix. An expert’s opinion could also help get grants to pay for solutions, he said.

“That’s a serious issue coming down that hill, and we’ve been lucky,” DeMayo said.

One woman who lives nearby said she’d like to see the 45 mph speed limit on Ferndale-Loomis lowered, maybe to 30 or 35 mph, or a blinker added to warn of the hill and intersection.

This isn’t about summer people, Gerry said. Locals who use the winding, unlined Ferndale-Loomis Road as a shortcut from western Sullivan to Route 17 are a problem year-round. A garbage truck, a dump truck, a convertible all have ended up in the Middle Mongaup.

“The local people abuse that hill,” Gerry said.