|Williamstown Pushing For Additional Truck Ramp Improvements|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
11:28PM / Monday, August 08, 2011
|The Board of Selectmen is requesting a meeting with state transportation officials to continue advocating for flashing lights and a extension of the truck ramp on the Taconic Trail.|
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Even though the state Department of Transportation agreed to trim back brush along the Taconic Trail to improve visibility of a truck escape ramp at the bottom of the winding descent, the town wants more.
The Board of Selectmen are now requesting a meeting with state officials to further advocate for flashing lights and an extention of the ramp. The state has already cut back the brush after the Selectmen requested the improvements following a fatal accident when a tractor-trailer crashed into the woods behind the A-Frame Bakery on Cold Spring Road. Town Manager Peter Fohlin said he recently drove it and it is still difficult to see the ramp.
"The entrance point goes by in a flash," Fohlin said. "All of a sudden its upon you and you're past it."
The board previously wrote a letter that requested the additional length, brush removal and signage. District 1 Highway Director Peter Niles responded to the board agreeing to cut additional brush but said the signage was "adequate." Nile said expanding the runaway ramp was previously discussed but rejected at the time because of possible intrusions on Margaret Lindley Park.
Resident Robert McCarthy, who has been spearheading the push toward improving the road's safety, said the expansion would not affect the park much and further advocated for flashing signs on Monday. McCarthy wants the ramp to be extended on the west side of the road toward the top of the hill.
"They may say those signs are adequate but they're not or else that guy would gone in [the ramp]," McCarthy said. "I would like to see a permanent overhead sign."
The board stressed that Cold Spring Road is well traveled by residents and school buses. The road needs to be the safest it can possible be in order to avoid an even worse tragedy, board members said.
"They've been responsive but there are more options we'd like to consider," Chairman Thomas Sheldon said.
The board also approved a wine and malt package store license to Paul Kozik for Nonnie's Country Store on North Hoosac Road. Kozik said he is opening a deli at the former Harvest Moon General Store location.
The Selectmen also discussed dog ownership policies with a few residents. The board was scheduled to hold a dog hearing but that was postponed per the complainant's request. However, some residents did attend the meeting to ask about pet regulations the town could take because of a dog that has been fighting with other dogs at Cole Field.
Cole Avenue resident Dale Levitz said another dog owner has recently started bringing a new dog to the field and that dog has been fighting with the others. Recently, the new dog bit her while fighting with another dog owned by Levitz's friend. This week, the new dog again attacked her dog.
Levitz asked if there was anything the town could do such as designating areas for the different sized dogs or setting stricter regulations. However, the park is owned by Williams College and the town has no control of that property.
Fohlin said the town had attempted to implement a strict leash law but a strong opposition defeated the measure. Fohlin said Levitz should try to resolve the issue with the dog owner first.