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Cortlandt Asks for Barrier on Bear Mountain Parkway

Following the death of a 27-year-old Lake Peekskill man, the Town of Cortlandt passes a resolution urging the state to install a barrier on the parkway.

Candles, photos, flowers, rosary beads, personal messages and an empty Ciroc bottle lay near the spot where Lake Peekskill resident LaMarr Barnes was killed in an on the Bear Mountain Parkway last Friday. Friends and family will attend his funeral today, remembering him as a good-natured guy who knew how to make people laugh.

Many believe that his tragic death could have been avoided by a safety precaution: a barrier on the state-owned Bear Mountain Parkway. Town Supervisor Linda Pulgisi agrees, and told the community at last night’s Town Board meeting that the town has been trying for years to get something done.

“Bear Mountain Parkway is a state highway. Over the years we have passed resolutions, filed letters to the Department of Transportation, governors and other officials asking for a barrier. We need to have that barrier going through the cent of the road for safety reasons,” Puglisi said.

The New York State Department of Transportation is currently researching whether or not they have done studies on the Bear Mountain Parkway, said spokeswoman Sue Stepp. "Right now, the Town of Cortlandt says they have formally requested us to study area to see whether it warrants a barrier and we are looking for those now. We think we have done those studies," she said.

Stepp also explained that there are many different types of barriers and sometimes they do not help decrease accidents because a barrier can reduce the width of travel lanes plus drivers psychologically shy away from barriers which further reduces the width.

“Sometimes the installation of barriers can cause more problems,” Stepp said, explaining that they cause places where people have to stop and start again to make turns, which can create hazards.

Supervisor Puglisi said that there have been many accidents over the years and that she needs the community’s help to lobby the state for a barrier “once and for all.”

Stepp said that the DOT is also researching how many fatalities have occurred on the Bear Moutnain Parkway. Patch will report these numbers as soon as they are released.

Puglisi offered her thoughts and prayers to the Barnes family.

The Town Board passed a resolution urging the New York State DOT to install a barrier between lanes along the Bear Mountain Extension.

Editor's Note: This article has been expanded to include statements from the NYS DOT.

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carole December 15, 2011 at 03:07 AM
Hi all this was my son that died in this accident. I buried my baby 2day. I was told yesterday @ the wake that many have died @ this extremely dangerous area. There really should be something that can prevent another mother from burying their child. If we all get 2gether and show up @ a Cortlandt Town Meeting maybe we will get this done for all that have been lost. Do we really have to wait for another person to die before we add a median or divider. Because losing your son in this way is the worse thing a mother could ever go through. If you are with me e-mail me cleighw66@aol.com....... We will make sure we are at the next meeting. R.I.P LaMarr.....Mommy loves you always & 4ever.
Idena carter December 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM
I am so sorry about your lost. May GOD bless you and your family. We lost my younger brother years ago in a tragic car accident on Jackson Ave. It feels like it was yesterday I truly understand your grief and pain. I miss my brother and I know you and your family will get through this tough time.
Liz Giegerich December 15, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Hi Carole, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I am glad to hear you want to take actoin to prevent this tragedy from happening to someone else. The Town of Cortlandt is very much in support of putting up a barrier and has asked the state to do so many times. The problem is that it is up to the state to decide where and when to place barriers, because Bear Mountain Parkway is owned by the state, not the town. So all the town can do is ask, which they have just rededicated themselves to doing. I think the most effective thing you can do right now is call Supervisor Linda Puglisi and ask how you can help her organize people to write letters and call the state Department of Transportation and your state legislators to make a real change and put up a barrier. You can reach Puglisi at 914-734-1002. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Liz Giegerich December 15, 2011 at 02:12 PM
HI Idena, Thank you for commenting and reaching out to Carole on here. I am so sorry to hear about your loss as well.
Jini George Cummins December 15, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Too sad for both of these ladies and my condolences as well. The Bear Mountain Extension is filled with spots that are dangerous and whatever it takes to minimize more injuries and deaths is worth the effort and cost. My taxes can go to this kind of work any day.
Mary Crescenzo December 15, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Let's also not forget the attempted left turn. And, was anyone on a phone or texting, or eating, or in any other distraction? My deepest condolences.
Peter December 15, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Sorry for your loss!!!!! Also, a turn lane needs to be installed on the Bear Mountain @ the Frost Ln light. That is intersection is a disaster. They just need to remove the grass median from that spot and pave a turn lane.
Liz Giegerich December 15, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Hi, I just talked to DOT and they are looking for past requests from the Town of Cortlandt and to see if they have done any formal studies, which they believe they have but cannot confirm. I just updated the article and will post more once I get the info from the DOT. Also, to Mary's question, the police are still investigating and will probably not have those details for another two weeks. I will report the info as it comes in. Thanks.
craig December 17, 2011 at 04:44 AM
I avoided an early morning accidedent by crossing over the double yellow line. Thank god there was no oncoming traffic.The lack of a center barrier helped as well. Many people still make Illegal left turns onto the Parkway.These Locust avenue entrance points have had proper signage for years.People d'ont care and do it anyway.
carole March 28, 2012 at 01:10 AM
My next step is Help Me Howard, Maybe something will get done. My son will not die in vain.
carole April 20, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Just so everyone is clear on the accident, my son was a passenger in a car where another car crossed the line and hit the car he was in head on. So if there was any distraction it would have been the man driving the other car.
carole April 20, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I can't see how an investigation of a car accident takes over four months. Maybe it is on the back burner. The State police may need to step up their game.

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