New traffic safety initiative announced for busy Cohoes corridor

September 06, 2017 06:51 PM

COHOES - Because of a highway tragedy that still haunts him, Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse said Wednesday he intends to keep the pressure on reckless drivers who refuse to change their ways.

It was a little more than 14 months ago when Cohoes High School student Brittany Knight was struck and killed by a car while crossing 787 at Bridge Avenue.

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The tragedy involving that 16-year-old girl still weighs heavily on the mind of Mayor Shawn Morse.

In the aftermath of that tragedy, the police presence has been beefed up significantly along that stretch of highway and deep down, Mayor Shawn Morse knows this is no time to let up.

"787 is still an incredibly dangerous highway that runs through our city," noted the mayor.

In the 14 months following the death of Brittany, police have issued more than 1,000 traffic tickets.

The state DOT has also installed brand new pedestrian crossing buttons at all intersections along the highway. Morse says it has made a difference.

"I've seen change in behavior for the 'Cohoes-ers,' who travel it every day and relive the pain of these tragic accidents," noted Morse. "You've got to remember, we're a small city and everybody who's been hurt on that highway or lost their lives have some kind of connection to all of us. We're Cohoes proud. Happens to one, happens to all."

"It's the people who travel it from all over the Capital Region that use it as a way to get to Albany that haven't changed their behavior," he continued.

In an effort to change driver behavior, Albany County sheriff's deputies will now have more of a presence in Cohoes, to work in conjunction with city police officers. That lessens the likelihood that reckless motorists can avoid the dragnet.

"We want to saturate the area and you know what, if we can slow everyone down, mission accomplished, but unfortunately people become complacent, drivers go back into their norm, so we’re going to continue to come back as many times as we have to," explained Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

"I believe that I can lay my head on the pillow and think no matter what, we have done everything humanly possible through engineering, through advocating and through policing to keep 787 safe," assured Morse.

The mayor says none of the drivers who get a ticket will be given a break in court. Traffic ticket fines are non-negotiable. Everyone will pay the full amount.


WNYT Staff

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