ONEONTA – In 2018, the City and Town of Oneonta collaborated on a state Department of Transportation grant that would have built sidewalks and increased lighting on both sides of Lettis Highway, from Main Street to Route 23, the Southside strip.
“The roadway could be safer for pedestrians,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “It is used by pedestrians out of necessity to get to work or the shops on Southside. “But our application was not funded.”
At 7:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, an Oneonta woman, April Johnson, 32, was struck by a car as she allegedly attempted to cross Lettis Highway just 100 yards from the Main Street intersection.
“The area is not marked for pedestrians and it is dimly lit,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner.
The driver was identified as David Shafer, 41, Otsego, who was driving northbound on the highway. “As he was changing lanes, she just appeared,” said Brenner. “He couldn’t stop in time.”
The front passenger side of the car struck Johnson, and the driver immediately stopped and got out of the car. The friend she was walking with called 911, and Oneonta Police responded to the scene.
“She was lying in the road, very seriously injured,” said Brenner. “The firefighters got her right into an ambulance.”
She was transported to Fox Hospital and transferred to Albany Medical Center, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit and remains in critical condition.
The preliminary investigation revealed that Shafer was not impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, Brenner said, he was issued a ticket for aggravated unlicensed operation, as his license was suspended for unrelated offenses.
“It’s a tragic situation for everyone involved,” said Herzig. “All of our thoughts are with her and her family.”
In October 2018, Katy Doughty, 45, Walton, was struck and killed by an eastbound car when she attempted to cross Route 23 near the Lettis Highway.
Herzig said that even though the city and town were denied the grant, the city “has every intention” of reapplying when the funding is announced again in 2020.
“Upgrading that walkway is part of our strategic plan,” he said. “We intend to continue working with DOT to secure enough funding to assist us in undertaking this multi-million dollar project.”
In addition to the sidewalks in the original proposal, the street lights would be upgraded and lighting installed along the walkway, as well as the installation of a green median.
“It will be more attractive and better connected to our downtown, but more importantly, it
is designed for pedestrian safety and use,” he said.
In 2016, the state DOT upgraded the lights and signage at the corner of Main and Chestnut, in the city, at Herzig’s request, after Daniel Heath, 75, was struck by a car that made a left-hand turn, and hit his head when he fell. He later died of his injuries.
Johnson allegedly crossed the highway in an area not marked for pedestrians and was struck by a car driven by David Shafer, 41, Otsego. She was taken by ambulance to Fox Hospital and transferred to Albany Medical Center, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.
ONEONTA – Police are on the scene of a motor vehicle accident on the James F. Lettis Highway after a pedestrian was allegedly hit by a car this evening.
According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego Count 911 director, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near the I-88 Exit 15 westbound off-ramp at 7:42 p.m. The pedestrian was transported to Fox Hospital with serious injuries.
The ramp and Lettis Highway have been closed, and police are asking that the public avoid the area. The accident is under investigation.
ONEONTA – This will be the year, Mayor Gary Herzig said, that the City of Oneonta begins to see the results of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants
“In 60 days, we’ll unveil the redesign of our downtown,” he said. “And this redesign is not by City Hall, but by 80 downtown business owners who have submitted proposals for $2.5 million in funding for improvements. This is a downtown made possibly by the energy of our local businesses.”
Herzig, alongside Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, spoke at the annual State of the State breakfast, hosted by the Otsego County Chamber this morning at SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall.
ONEONTA – The city and town of Oneonta yesterday applied for an $8.7 million state DOT grant to make Lettis Highway safer and more attractive and to build sidewalks between Home Depot and Lowes on Southside.
The grant application was approved at a special common council meeting Wednesday night to meet the deadline. Mayor Gary Herzig said he expects to hear on the application by January.