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.