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Taconic Parkway Among 'Most Dangerous, Deadly Places In NY,' Website Says

The Pudding Street crossing on the Taconic State Parkway in Putnam Valley, which is New York's longest, and, some say, its most dangerous, road. The state is planning to build an overpass at the intersection.
The Pudding Street crossing on the Taconic State Parkway in Putnam Valley, which is New York's longest, and, some say, its most dangerous, road. The state is planning to build an overpass at the intersection. Photo Credit: Google maps screen shot

The Taconic State Parkway, the longest in New York, is also among its deadliest places, according to onlyinyourstate.com.

The website, in a post about the most dangerous spots in the Empire State, noted the 104-mile-long highway that runs through four counties -- Westchester,  Putnam, Dutchess and Columbia -- has been the scene of 2,080 crashes since 2014.

Commuters (many en route to New York City) tend to put the pedal to the metal, especially in Westchester and Putnam counties, the website said.

State troopers reported issuing close to 55,000 tickets to motorists – 18,000 of them for speeding in Westchester --from 2009 to 2015, onlyinyourstate.com said.

Most of the highway consists of a tight two lanes that are especially tricky to navigate during the bad weather.

One of the most common causes of accidents on the Taconic, the website said, seems to be drivers who end up on the wrong side of the road

One of the most notorious such crashes occurred in 2009 in the town of Mount Pleasant when a 36-year-old minivan driver drove 1.7 miles the wrong way and crashed head-on into an SUV.

Killed in the July 2 accident were Diane Schuler, her daughter, three nieces and the three people in the SUV.

Toxicology tests showed Schuler was high on marijuana and alcohol at the time, according to media reports.

It was said to be the worse fatal motor vehicle accident in Westchester since the summer of 1934, when a bus crash killed 20 people.

Just recently, a 22-year-old White Plains man was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving after he went the wrong way on the Taconic in Mount Pleasant and plowed into another car, injuring the driver, multiple media reports said.

Other terrified drivers told police of several near-misses, media reports said.

A 71-year-old Pleasantville man drove off the Taconic in Yorktown earlier this month and died after his car struck a tree.

Just hours before, on the same day, a 25-year-old Cortlandt Manor man had narrowly escaped death after his car also left the parkway and struck a tree. He had to be extricated by emergency crews. State police investigating the crash said he appeared to have been speeding.

But Taconic’s trickiest spot seems to be where Pudding Street intersects with the highway in Putnam Valley.

Residents of the area have fought for many years to get the state to build an overpass there.

Last April, state Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, announced that the state had earmarked $24.7 million for the project.

Although it can’t come fast enough for frustrated local residents, the overpass project, now in the design phase, is expected to get underway in three to four years.

Despite its rep, the Taconic has its good qualities.

Noted for its bucolic vistas and for being on the National Register of Historic Places, the road had a big role in the development of the parkway system in the 1900s.

Running between the Kensico Dam to the south, and Chatham to the north, the windy, hilly road follows a route about halfway between the Hudson River and the Connecticut and Massachusetts state lines.

It was our country’s 32nd president, Hyde Park’s Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had envisioned a highway that would provide unprecedented access to state parks.

The Taconic was designed by landscape architect Gilmore Clarke. The fieldstone bridges and service areas were also intended to be eye candy.

Finished in the early 1960s, it continues to be a work in progress as transportation agencies struggle to keep up with suburbanization and other developments.

The only other longest continuous road, as listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive in Virginia.

Skyline Drive runs the full length of the Shenandoah Nation Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Also on onlyinyourstate.com’s list of dangerous spots in New York are: Canajoharie Falls, Devil's Path, Kaaterskill Falls, Salmon River Falls, the city of Newburgh (for its crime stats), Adirondack High Peaks. New York City’s Broadway (for pedestrian deaths), and Plotter Kill Preserve.

To read onlyinyourstate.com’s full list, click here.

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