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County Parks urged state DOT to slow down Parkway

A few days before Christmas new 30 mph signs went up along Onondaga Lake Parkway (Route 370), lengthening the speed zone by 900 feet.

While the 30 mph zone started in the village and previously ended near the entrance to Onondaga Lake Park, the zone now extends further southeast past the entrance to Sainte Marie Among the Iroquois, regulating the speed of traffic moving in both directions.

Though most of the parkway is located outside village limits, in January Liverpool Police were alerted to the change via a letter from the state Department of Transportation, according to LPD Chief Bill Becker.

"No reason was given," Becker said.

Onondaga County's executive communications director, Marty Skahen, said the DOT decision to lower the speed limit was made after state and county officials met last fall to discuss Onondaga Lake Parkway safety. Four people had been killed on Sept. 11, 2010 when a Megabus crashed into the low-hanging railroad bridge on the Parkway.

County Transportation Commissioner Brian Donnelly and Parks Commissioner Bill Lansley attended the DOT meeting and Lansley suggested lowering the speed limit in front of St Marie and the Butterfly Garden of Hope, Skahen said.

"Bill suggested to do it to make it safer for those people using those facilities, and a few days later the county received a letter from the state DOT saying they'd look into it," Skahen said.

State DOT spokesman Gene Cilento confirmed that the speed limit was lowered after the county parks commissioner requested it.

"They wanted improved access to St. Marie," Cilento said.

More than 35,000 vehicles travel the Parkway daily.

Parks Commissioner Lansley has observed that since the change, traffic flow is slower now along the Parkway.

"Bill [Lansley] has noticed an improvement," Skahen said.

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