After years of dealing with ongoing traffic issues, Kittell Road residents and DeWitt town officials found a way to encourage safer driving through an afflicted neighborhood.
The stretch in question is a Hobson, Kittell, Maple Drive shortcut which allowed drivers to avoid a traffic light on bustling East Genesee Street. Responding to residents initial request the town added a stop sign at the corners of Kittell and Hobson roads to slow down drivers. But the installation was essentially ignored. Drivers still sped and cut through streets to beat the traffic light.
In 2008, Kittell Road neighbors again went before the town board for help. Multiple meetings and public hearings were held to find a solution, generating ideas such as dead ending Kittell Road or making it a one-way street. But attempts to solve the problem caused difficulties for local business, Salon 100, located on Kittell Road. Owner Brenda Rogers said she was losing business due to experimental warnings signs that read, "Do Not Enter," and "No Thru Traffic." Her customers feared for their safety, she said, because when the signs were posted, there was no legal way to enter Rogers' salon; the signs were taken back down.
Then recently, Kittell Road resident Tony Anello presented the town with an alternate solution: narrowing the entrance to Kittell Road and marking it with yellow warning signs and two welcome/caution signs. Town officials authorized the changes.
"Tony Anello deserves kudos for his dedication to a community solution that works for everyone," said Councilor Irene Scruton. "He helped foster the sign with neighbors, and the highway department pinched the roadway so that it's safe but slows down incoming traffic to the neighborhood."
Anello said he thinks everyone approved of the design because it doesn't disrupt anyone's driving habits. Anything too drastic would have pulled the neighborhood apart, he said.
"It makes the street look better as well and I have heard complimentary remarks about [the signs]," Anello said. "A few people have even been planting around them."
Anello and Scruton agreed the favorable outcome is due to the two groups working together.
"[Town officials] are busy but they took the time to attend to the problem," Anello said. "Nothing happens overnight, and we had to keep waving a red flag, but they seemed to always want to be helpful. They understood it was all about safety and community."