Crash renews plea for reduced speed limit near school

wwny Crash renews plea for reduced speed limit near school

DEKALB JUNCTION, N.Y. (WWNY) - Officials at Hermon-DeKalb Central School District are once again asking for a reduced speed limit in front of the school. The new call for lower speed follows yet another crash involving students.

People worry about the intersection of Route 11 and East DeKalb Road in front of the school. Footage from a school security camera shows why: a van rear-ending a small SUV on Route 11. It happened Thursday morning just before the start of school. Two Hermon-DeKalb students and their parents were in the SUV.

“The problem really is 60 mile per hour traffic here – I say 60 miles per hour, that’s being conservative at times – as this main intersection funnels all our kids in that small window of time. It’s extremely dangerous,” said Mark White, district superintendent.

The van then careened to the right, striking a 2020 Subaru on East DeKalb Road. Four people were taken to hospital. One of the students had a broken shoulder. The driver of the Subaru had a broken hand.

“Ninety percent of all my students and parents and teachers enter this section of East DeKalb Road for a few feet and then they're at the school,” said White.

The school district has lobbied the state Department of Transportation for decades to have the speed limit reduced on Route 11. The state says it can't do that.

“One of the primary reasons is that the entrance to the school is not off of US 11,” said Michael Flick, Department of Transportation spokesman.

The school district knows its main entrance is on East DeKalb Road, but says that doesn't change the situation at the intersection. White wants just half an hour of reduced speed on Route 11 at the beginning of school and at the end. Just to 45 miles per hour. It's 55 now.

The school district says it has been after the state DOT to change the speed limit for years. So far, no success. But this time, after this latest accident, people feel things could be different.

“We've got an opportunity here to make it right and I think if we don't take this opportunity, shame on us,” said St. Lawrence County Legislator Larry Denesha.

Denesha, whose district includes the school district, has already contacted state lawmakers. He says he doesn’t want to see accidents again if he doesn’t have to.

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