Johnstown Common Council hears residents’ traffic concerns

Looking north on North East Avenue, at the East Main Street intersection, in Johnstown, as seen Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — North East Avenue residents brought traffic concerns in their neighborhood to the Common Council during the public speaker portion of the council meeting Monday night at City Hall.

City officials listened to the concerns and said they will be looked at further.

“We’ll see what we can do,” Mayor Vern Jackson told the city residents.

Richard Menconi of 2 North East Ave. said he has seen traffic problems increase in his area, which lies between Briggs Street (Route 29) and East Main Street/County Highway 107. He said many people walk dogs through that area.

“We’ve had a lot of issues we’re concerned about,” Menconi said.

Some of those issues include motorists speeding, running stop signs, and having no mufflers, he said. His neighbor has a driveway going to East Main Street and cars are just cutting through that driveway, he said.

Menconi, who moved to Johnstown from the Seattle area in 1992, said he’s had to trim back trees that obscure traffic signs.

“Some of the signs aren’t really visible,” he said.

Menconi said more patrols by city police in his area and more tickets issued might be a good start.

He said stop lines could be repainted by the city. The city might want to consider speed bumps and LED speed signs that tell motorists how fast they’re going he added.

Another possible suggestion was lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

Roger Eaton of 3 North East Ave. — who lives across from Menconi — told the council that his kids could ride bikes on his sidewalk when they were young. But he said such activity is unsafe now for his grandkids.

“The traffic is so crazy,” Eaton said. “I fear for the garbage men.”

He recounted some bad accidents in his area, including a truck that took out a power pole at South East Avenue, He asked city officials if they ever considered designating a specific “truck route” that bypasses their neighborhood, but were told that area actually is truck route. The city also must deal with county roads and state routes that it has no control over, residents were told.

Bruce Menconi of 4 North East Ave. — the brother of Richard Menconi — said he more-recently moved to the city from the Seattle area.

“I’d like a digital, mobile speed [reading] machine,” he said. “You guys can park that right in front of my yard.”

He said he’s surprised the city hasn’t lowered the speed of his street to 25 mph by now.

City police Chief David Gilbo stated: “The biggest problem from that end is the county wants new businesses.”

Gilbo said that new business — especially being promoted through the Tryon Technology Park on County Highway 107 — may result in more traffic coming off or onto the city streets in question. He said more business activity is coming from both ends of North East Avenue and South East Avenue involving both County Highway 107 and Route 67.

“I can understand the frustration,” Gilbo said. “But there’s only so much you can do. People need to learn the rules of the road.”

Gilbo also noted that many Johnstown and Fonda residents go to work on the main thoroughfares and use North East and South East avenues to get there.

The chief suggested the Menconis and Eaton contact the city Police Department before 10 a.m. if they see problems at (518) 736-4021.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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