Clifton Park adopts speed limit review policy

A speed limit sign in Clifton Park.

KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTERA speed limit sign in Clifton Park. KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTER

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — The town has adopted an official policy and procedures for reviewing speed limits on town roads.

At the Aug. 7 Town Board meeting, the board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that would put the policy in place.

Featuring feedback from the Highway Safety Committee, the policy will theoretically make it easier for the town to analyze and review speed limits in town when concerns are presented.

Most municipalities, according to Planning Department Director John Scavo, do not have their own policy for examining town speed limits, opting instead to refer to federal and state guidelines in determining speed limits for town roads. The town has the ability to set its own specific speed limits on town roads and also reviews applicable speed limits for new subdivisions in town.

“The majority of local communities don’t have this,” Scavo said of Clifton Park’s new policy.

Over the last six months, the town Highway Safety Committee, members of which included some prior New York State Department of Transportation Engineers, and other traffic officials, put together a document using the state and federal speed limit guidelines.

In the past, the committee provided advice and analysis to the Town Board when issues regarding speed limits came up at the request of the board. The Town Board would then either answer resident concerns, or make a decision regarding speed limits based on the guidance of the committee.

Now, Scavo said, when the Town Board receives questions or complaints about the speed limit on a town road, or when the board is preparing to set a new speed limit, the highway committee can turn to the town-specific policy for guidance, rather than referring back to state guidelines, and make a recommendation to the board accordingly.

The information in the new policy, Scavo said, is objective, and also meant bring more consistency when dealing with speed limit questions in town.

The policy provides a helpful tool to the Highway Committee, he said, with formulas that explain why each town road has been given a certain speed limit.

“They can see the methodology,” Scavo said.

Included in the speed policy analysis, Scavo said, are factors such as other uses for the road, and road shoulder size.

“We took the guidance that’s out there, and put it into our own policies,” Scavo explained. “What we’ve got is our own local adopted manual.”