Valatie resident urges officials to improve pedestrian safety

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VALATIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A local man is asking for immediate action in an area he says is, and has always been, dangerous for pedestrians.

“It’s a gorgeous area down here. I love it down here. It is just very dangerous,” says Valatie resident John Mcdonald.

Local business owner Joan Gavigan, 77, of Valatie, was struck and killed by a vehicle at the intersection of Main Street and Church Street in Valatie. Outside of her antique shop, a small memorial has been set up following Monday’s deadly accident.

Mcdonald says this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and he would like to see traffic control devices like a three-way stop sign and increased visibility of the sidewalks.

“They need to get DOT involved; they need to get down here,” he adds.

John has written multiple letters to the previous mayor, State DOT, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and State Police to try to make the intersection safer, but current mayor Frank Bevens says that’s easier said than done.

“The village can advocate DOT, but it takes years to get anything out of DOT…I know that we asked for the signs, the crosswalk signs — it took about four years to get them,” says Mayor Bevens.

NEWS10 ABC reached out to state DOT and asked if there was a solution. The department couldn’t comment on this certain intersection because it’s still under investigation.

“Pedestrian safety is a top priority of the New York State Department of Transportation and we urge motorists and pedestrians alike to always look out for one another, be aware of their surroundings and proceed with caution through crosswalks. As this incident is still under investigation, we have no further comment.”

Heather Pillsworth NYSDOT Public Information Officer

“Somehow people need to learn how to drive. That’s one of the biggest problems. They’re not stopping for crosswalks,” says Mayor Bevens.

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