Traffic Safety Resources

The following traffic safety topics have been compiled based on frequently asked questions received by Traffic Safety Board members:

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Speed Limits and Requesting Reduction of Posted Speeds on Area Roads

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has the authority to set and control speed limits along all roadways in Ulster County (State roads, County roads, and Town roads). To reduce the speed limit along a roadway, a formal Speed Limit Reduction Request must be submitted to Ulster County DPW by the municipality, which must come in the form of an official resolution from the governing body, thereby ensuring that there is public support for the action.

State Highway

If a speed limit study is requested on a State Highway, the municipality can send a formal request along with the official resolution, directly to the (Acting) Regional Traffic Engineer at NYSDOT. Upon receipt of the documents, NYSDOT will initiate a study.  Once the study has concluded, NYSDOT notifies the municipality of results and conclusions.

County or Local Road

If a speed limit study is requested on a local or county highway, the municipality must send the official resolution to the Ulster County Department of Public Works (DPW), along with a form TE9a for the County’s concurrence.  If the County concurs with the request, the Commissioner of the Ulster County DPW forwards the documents to the NYSDOT.  Upon receipt of the documents, NYSDOT will initiate a speed study.  Once the study has concluded, NYSDOT notifies the Commissioner of results and conclusions.

Speed Limits Less Than 30 MPH

In August 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation authorizing municipalities in NYS to reduce speed limits to 25 mph. Previously under NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 39, Section 1643 villages were not permitted to set speeds below 30 mph except under limited circumstances, such as in a school zone or for limited linear distances.

The new legislation does NOT change who has the authority to set a speed limit or the process for requesting a speed limit from the NYSDOT for towns and counties as described above.  While cities and villages can now go through the process of lowering the general speed limit, counties and most towns still need to petition the NYSDOT to set the speed limit.

Even if a local government has the power to lower an area speed limit to 25, the new law specifically requires speed limits to be set in accordance with the MUTCD and be certified by a Professional Engineer who specializes in traffic operations.

More information on Speed Limits in NYS can be found through the Cornell University Local Technical Assistance Program Center by clicking here

Engineering Speed Study

NYSDOT’s policies regarding speed limits are outlined in the Traffic Safety and Mobility Instruction (TSMI) 17-05.  In this document, Part V., Paragraph G., states: “The town or county requesting a speed zone on a town or county highway may obtain the study data to expedite the Department’s review of the speed zone request.  If the town or county decides to obtain the study data, they will conduct the field investigation in accordance with guidelines provided in [the] document and collect all required data using standard Department forms and instructions as provided by the Regional Traffic Engineer.  This report must be approved by a licensed Professional Engineer with expertise in traffic operations.”

If a municipality or county is either unwilling or unable to submit study data for any reason, the NYSDOT will perform the speed study on the county or local roadway according to NYSDOT policy. 

Speed Feedback Device

If a speed limit cannot be reduced, it may be helpful to eract a speed feedback device to remind motorists to obey posted speed limits. Mobile speed display trailers and radar speed signs display real-time information back to drivers with the intent of providing speed awareness and reducing speeds.  Some municipalities in Ulster County have their own mobile display trailers that can be deployed in locations where excessive speed has been observed.  In locations throughout the county, such as near schools, community gateways or town lines, permanent feedback devices have already been erected. 

The following departments and agencies have trailers that can be requested by contacting local agencies directly:

Traffic Enforcement

Most local police departments will consider deploying additional resources for traffic monitoring and enforcement if residents have a specific concern. Contact your local police department or the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department to submit your concern.


Traffic Data

There is a great amount of traffic data readily available to the public through a variety of resources. The NYS Traffic Data Viewer is an online mapping tool that allows users to access traffic volume information including:

  • Vehicle volume, classification, and speed data
  • Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
  • Truck AADT and Truck Percentage
  • Location of historical short count sites

If count, speed or classification data is not available for your location of interest through the mapper, you can contact the Ulster County Transportation Council to search the archives or to order a new count for your location. The UCTC orders and deploys traffic counts through a third party vendor 1-2 times per year and reports that information back to the NYSDOT for use in the Traffic Data Viewer. 

Report a Maintenance Concern

Potholes, downed signs, debris on the road and other maintenance issues on our roadways can be a source of frustration for local drivers and, at worst, a safety concern – and local residents are often the first to notice these issues before the proper authorities have been made aware.  Responsibility for road maintenance isn’t always clear – jurisdiction depends on who owns the road.  The Roadway Inventory System Viewer is a GIS web application for displaying data contained in the NYSDOT Roadway Inventory System and can help citizens determine who is responsible for various segments of roadway.

Relevant contact information for submitting roadway concerns are listed below:

Request a Planning Study

In some instances, roads or neighborhoods may require a more in-depth analysis of traffic conditions in order to investigate a more systemic problem.  Traffic safety, congestion, safe access, or bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility may be among the issues of concern.  The Ulster County Transportation Council receives annual grants from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration to carry out a coordinated transportation planning process to address these issues on public roadways; staff can also assist concerned citizens directly with data analysis and development of a local road safety assessment.  The UCTC maintains its ongoing list of annual work activities in the Unified Planning Work Program.  Questions or inquiries regarding submitting a project for consideration can be sent to Brian Slack.

Do you have a topic that you’d like included here?  Email the Ulster County Traffic Safety Board and we’ll try to provide a timely and useful response to your questions. UlsterTSB[at]co.ulster.ny[dot]us