Teen's death prompts safety meeting with DOT, Cohoes mayor

June 20, 2016 06:22 PM

COHOES - Family and friends said goodbye to Brittany Knight, 16, on Monday.

Knight was hit and killed while crossing 787 in Cohoes last week.

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Her death is ramping up efforts to make that road safer.

The is long and it is loud. Mayor Shawn Morse says this is the third fatality he's seen on 787 and enough is enough.

Four lanes of 40 mile per hour highway split Cohoes in half. After a 16-year-old was killed crossing 787, Mayor Shawn Morse says it's time to change the road.

"We can’t have a highway just running through our city," explained the mayor. "I’ve seen the devastation more than once.

Coming North out of Albany, the highway's speed limit drops from 55 to 40 in Cohoes.

Morse says kids like Brittany Knight cross the highway from Van Schaick Island everyday to get to school. Cohoes doesn't have a bus system.

Morse says he wants to lower the speed limit to 30 miles per hour. However, 787 is maintained by the state. NewsChannel asked DOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll, who was at that unrelated pedestrian safety press conference, about the intersection where Knight was killed.

"We already have much of the equipment that I outlined here today, both in signalization and equipment so forth. So, I think it’s really important that we don’t speculate. We wait for the results of that accident," noted Driscoll.

Morse and the DOT's regional director will be sitting down tomorrow for a meeting.

It's not just Morse demanding changes. A group rallied yesterday. The DOT says they're open to suggestions. 

"We’re open to working with anybody," noted Driscoll. "If folks are calling for that, there’s a process in place. There’s a lot of evaluations that will need to be done."

Morse says he's asked police to increase patrols in the area. But ultimately, he says it's not an enforcement problem. It's a design problem.

One of the solutions that group offered on Sunday was pedestrian bridges. Morse says that'd be tough because of ADA regulations and the three tall bridges they'd have to build. The DOT says they're open to listen.


WNYT Staff

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