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February 12, 2019 - 5:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in department of transportation, dot, Route 98, accident, news, notify.

In response to a request for information on the lack of a snow fence and plow times on Route 98 the day of a double fatal accident in Elba, the state Department of Transportation issued a statement today that didn't address either issue.

A spokesman did not respond, after several hours, to The Batavian's request for information on those specific issues.

Here's the DOT's official statement about the crash Feb. 2 that took the lives of mother and son, Teresa M. Norton, 53, and Thomas M. Norton, 22, both of Albion:

This was a tragic incident. DOT’s primary focus is highway safety, which includes snow and ice preparation and response. We maintain thousands of miles on highways statewide and follow snow and ice guidelines to address severe winter weather in Upstate New York. DOT’s maintenance crews were working diligently throughout that weekend in Genesee County, engaged in snow and ice operations on state highways.

The accident occurred within days of significant snowfall when the wind was blowing at about 30 mph through the county. There were significant snow drives across patches of Route 98 that afternoon, including one where Teresa Norton's 2008 Suzuki slide sideways through heavy snow and was hit broadside by a pickup truck.  

Both mother and son were pronounced dead at the scene.

May 3, 2013 - 2:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in department of transportation.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) is fighting an attempt by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to put local parades out of business. The agency has advanced a proposal for Special Events Permit 33-C, which would place expensive, overreaching mandates on parade organizers.

The permit would require parade organizers to engage in bonds and insurance coverage they cannot afford, submit overly detailed plans to DOT and adhere to state guidelines that are under local jurisdiction according to state law.

“Our community has maintained many proud traditions throughout the generations, and holding parades to honor our veterans, fire departments and citizens is an integral part of our identity. The DOT’s plan seeks to bring all of that to an end,” Hawley said. “Meddling in a practice that we have conducted safely and successfully for countless decades is a glaring example of big government run amok.

"While the economy lags and so many New Yorkers are out of work, how can state government possibly think that interfering in our local parades is the best use of time and resources? I have been in constant contact with the DOT expressing our community’s disdain for this proposal and I will continue to fight against this attack on one of our most beloved, longest-standing traditions.”

May 22, 2009 - 2:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, department of transportation.

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Le Roy resident John Garner happened to own an old DOT variable message sign, so he offered it as a promotional device to the organizations and businesses of the village.

We reported on the sign in January. The sign was placed on Route 19 and promoted local businesses and community events.

Just as spring started to get sprung, the sign disappeared.

Yesterday, Ann Walters, owner of the Hobby Horse on Main Street, told me the Department of Transportation asked that it be removed.
 

"What a marketing technique," said, Walters, who regrets seeing the sign disappear. "I wish I could say I thought of it."

She said it did help bring business into the village.

Walters impression was that the DOT didn't like one of their signs being used to advertise businesses, and there were concerns about it being a distraction, that the sign should be used only for its intended purpose, which is providing traffic information for drivers.

"How can you control use of a sign when you sell it?" Walters asked. "If you want to control it, you don't sell it."

Garner couldn't be reached for comment (Walters identified Garner as the owner of the sign).

DOT regional spokesman Lori Maher said there's an explanation -- not necessarily simple, but an explanation nonetheless -- for the DOT's position.

The state controls the right-of-way on state routes, which is 66 33 feet (66 total) on either side of the center line (though there are numerous exceptions and variables, so that measurement may not apply on this section of Route 19). There are also strict regulations dealing with commercial sites in visual range of a state road.

Even if the sign was outside of the right-of-way, Maher said, it would still violate sign advertising rules.

"The whole purpose (of these regulations) is to restrict the proliferation of signs containing all kinds of messages, which becomes clutter and a safety issue," Maher said. 

The rules are both state and federal and have their roots in the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, she said.

For more information on the NYS sign policy, click here.

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