Caroga residents express speeding concern

Sheriff Giardino discusses possible solutions

Several Caroga town residents attended the town board meeting Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

CAROGA — Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino discussed possible solutions to stop drivers from speeding on East Shore Road, an issue that has created a danger to residents who live on the road.

During the town board’s regular meeting Wednesday, residents packed into town hall to make complaints to councilmen and Giardino of people speeding down East Shore Road, and questioned what could be done about it before someone gets seriously injured.

Giardino began by addressing the lack of patrols in the western part of Fulton County. He said years ago the sheriff’s department used to have boat patrols on Green Lake and Caroga Lake, but before he was elected as sheriff, the boat patrols were taken away. He said also in the past few years the department has lost a number of deputies, investigators and lieutenants.

Giardino said since he’s been sheriff, he has restored five of those positions, however the department remains on a set budget by the county which has only allowed him to hire one person each year.

“A lot of people are on fixed incomes and while they want more protection, they don’t want to afford it,” Giardino said.

He said he does not have enough people to do patrols. Giardino said this year when budget time comes around, he’s going to ask for another corporal and deputy.

“Manpower is an issue and we have to do the calls as they come in,” Giardino said.

Speeding and reckless driving has been an issue in the town for years and attempts have been made by Highway Superintendent Steve Putnam using barriers to prevent traffic from entering East Shore Road, but was unsuccessful.

“They’re getting disrespected like all your other signs are,” Putnam said. “I was watching. I was hiding down in there for four or five hours and people were coming through there like mad people and somebody’s going to get hurt.”

Giardino suggested putting up portable speed bumps that could be placed on the road during the summer and taken down during the winter since they would be difficult to plow around.

However, Putnam said highway departments are not allowed to use speed bumps.

“The last time I was at the school of Cornell, the state said no speed bumps,” Putnam said. “What you could do are some cuts in the asphalt, or the rubble strips like when you’re coming up on your [traffic circles.] You could do that, but I don’t know how much that is going to help.”

One town resident made the suggestion of putting a patrol car there with a dummy in it, but Giardino said the issue with that is it would slow people down for an hour or two, but after awhile people would notice the dummy.

“It’s got a short-term effect until they realized that no one is really there,” Giardino said. “I’m interested in getting real bodies and people writing tickets.” Giardino said they will put a plan together to put patrols out for a few hours during peak hours of the traffic going down the road.

Giardino and Putnam plan to meet with the state Department of Transportation to look into getting the speed bumps or some other solution to slow down drivers on East Shore Road as well.