By Kevin Limiti • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
State Route 205 in the town of Oneonta has had two fatal accidents in the past two months and is considered by many to be a dangerous road for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The road stretches past the Cooperstown All Star Village, where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic going across the road to the baseball field and is a high traffic area.
The latest fatal accident on Route 205 occurred on Sunday, Aug. 15, near Country Club Road. No arrests have been made yet.
Another accident occurred on Saturday, July 3, involving a hit-and-run driver, which led to the arrest of a Mount Vision man. Michael Goodspeed, 32, was charged with second degree vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.
The accident caused the death of bicyclist Michael Vargas, 37.
Marty Patton, president of Cooperstown All Star Village, said he doesn’t believe the accidents have anything to do with the baseball park, but the Department of Transportation should make some changes in order to make that road safer.
“I think what they should do is lower the speed limit,” Patton said. He said he spoke to a DOT investigator about lowering the limit down to 30 from 35 and installing a blinking yellow light to the crosswalk “At the end of the day, we don’t have any control over how they conduct traffic,” Patton said.
Robert Keiham, DOT investigator who spoke with Patton, said he doesn’t have the ability to lower the speed limit at Route 205.
State Route 205 has very little lighting and oftentimes no shoulder for much of its stretch.
Catlin Ogden of Laurens said she drives on Route 205 on an almost daily basis and she isn’t surprised that there are so many accidents on that road.
“I’ve grown concerned over the years over the safety of the road, because a lot of people live over that stretch who need to walk their bike over to Dollar General, because it’s the closest place to get groceries,” Ogden said. “There are serious speeding problems on that road with no shoulder.”
Ogden said the danger of people going to Dollar General was brought up to the town of Laurens planning commission, but they said they weren’t able to do anything about it.
“It can be very dangerous,” Ogden said. “There have also been motorcycle accidents and other problems there.”
Agnieszka Dembinska, public relations officer for New York State Troopers, said from talking to troopers who patrol the area, the road has improved over the years.
“The shoulder is wide and there is a traffic light,” Dembinska said. “Additionally, they changed the ‘Y’
intersection into a ‘T’ intersection at State Route 23.”
Scott Cook, public information officer for the DOT, said there were a lot of pedestrian safety projects on Route 205.
According to data from the DMV, there were 116 accidents at Route 205 in the town of Oneonta between 2016 and 2020, including 23 with injuries.
One part of the document said crashes were below the state average in the area near Route 23, where Cooperstown All Star Village is, but had slightly increased in the last five years, possibly because of high traffic volume increases.
The crash rate near the intersection of Route 7 and Interstate 88 is above the state average.
Facebook users shared their anecdotes about driving on Route 205.
“Last night, I was headed to Oneonta and witnessed pedestrians crossing at the baseball field almost get hit,” Patty Bowen-Durham posted on the AllOtsego.com Facebook page in response to the hit-and-run article on Aug.17. “They were dressed in dark clothing and never pressed the crossing button. … There is no lighting there.”
Other posters asked why there wasn’t a pedestrian bridge between the two parking lots across Route 205.
“Only a matter of time before something bad happens here,” Nick Sinstack posted.