Quantcast
Skip to main content

Flooded Walnut Street frustrating for drivers and police

Batavia PD officers were kept busy this afternoon just trying to keep drivers from boating through an obviously flooded Oak Street.

Even once the street was closed by authorities, drivers still wanted to head either north or south.

Shawn Hargrave, who lives across from Hackett TV on Walnut, watched the cars go by and the police try to deal with it.

For awhile, there was an officer parked in front of her house, blocking traffic before the signs went up.

"There were a lot of people pulling up, walking to his window and complaining that they couldn't drive through," she said.

Once the signs went up, that still wasn't a deterrent to drivers who took "street closed" as merely a suggestion.

"We watched a newer Jeep come down and the driver stopped and he got out and moved the barriers," Hargrave said. "Unfortunately, he left the barricade open and some cars almost got stuck in the floodwaters."

Once the signs were up on the south side of the flooded section of street, a police officer still needed to be stationed on the north side to keep drivers from trying to go around the barricades.

Hargrave watched northbound driver after driver roll up to the barricades in front of her house and seemingly contemplate whether to go through before deciding to turn around.

Perhaps the most frustrated drivers to come up to the barricade were truck drivers.

The drivers were likely trying to make their way toward Pavilion, but hit the road closed sign on Route 20 at the bridge over the Tonawanda just west of Brookville Road, Alexander.

They got off Route 20 and headed north.

When they hit the road closed sign on Route 98, they had to back up all the way to First Student's parking lot in order to turn around.

Hargrave said she called NYS DOT to suggest truckers be redirected, but the DOT never responded with its own sign.

Tim Yaeger, emergency coordinator for Genesee County, and Jim Bouton, also a coordinator with the Office of Emergency Management, set up a message board sign at Route 98 and Route 20 trying to warn truckers that the road was close ahead.

But even after the sign was up, truckers still headed north. Yaeger said he was going to try to get a "local traffic only" sign posted either at Pike Road or Rose Road to encourage truckers to turn left onto those roads. The detour would lead them to Route 5 so they could resume their eastward travels.

Emergency Management acquired the $1,500 sign 18 months ago with Homeland Security grant money to use for volunteer recruitment but this was the second time it's been pressed into service an emergency.

Flooding on the Tonawanda is expected to peak at 12 feet at 7 tonight.

Yaeger and Bouton setting up road closed sign.

Below are photos submitted by Walnut Street resident Krystle Robinson of activity on Walnut Street this afternoon. Cars going through the water may have been going through at times when barriers were not in place.

Christopher Putnam
Christos's picture
Offline
Joined: Oct 11 2012

My taxes pay the police salary. My taxes pay the DOT employees, my tax money bought those signs that you used to block the road.

I am an adult. I live in western NY, i have lived through this type of weather for many years. I have detailed knowledge of how to safely cross flood waters in my vehicle. I am responsible for myself.

So when i choose to drive my jeep up to the barricade, and move is so that i could pass by without going miles out of my way, that is my prerogative. You might not do it yourself, you might not even agree with me that i have the right to do it. However as a free human on this earth, I did it. I will do it again many times before my life is over. To the person that didnt replace the barricade and let some cars through, shame on you. To those that treated the signs as a suggestion, I applaud you for not being sheep, and for making your own decision on what is safe for you in your vehicle.

For those of you that are not informed, let me inform you. Your engine needs air to function, and your engine is also HOT. SO there are two things that are critical before you cross flood waters. GO SLOW so you do not splash waters on your hot engine and crack your block. Going slow will also allow you to monitor the depth by keeping your door open a crack. If the depth of the water starts to be greater than the clearance of your car, than you need to stop and back up and not go any further, or you risk drowning the engine and stalling out. My dad taught me this when i was 12.......

Kyle Couchman
Kyle C's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 25 2009

And if you get stuck, you'd be the loudest mouth saying you pay taxes and dot salaries so why didn't they come get you. Or whine the loudest to the judge to keep from paying the fine for your citation and so on. Problem with your not following directions is that you dont know how compromised that roadbed is or what the weight of your vehicle will do to it. There are other hazards as well like flammable chemicals floating out of flooded garages or perhaps a downed powerline you cant readily see.

Any of these can happen then you endanger not only yourself but rescuers as well. Cemetaries are full of people who weren't being sheep and thought they knew better than those who put barricades up warning of danger. I bet if there was a live officer at that barricade you wouldn't be moving it and driving through so defiantly.

Jeff Allen
dnjallen's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 5 2009
Member

"To those that treated the signs as a suggestion, I applaud you for not being sheep, and for making your own decision on what is safe for you in your vehicle."
The signs are not suggestions, once in place they are as enforceable as a permanent sign.
Many vehicles can safely travel in excess of 100 m.p.h., should people not be sheep and just drive as fast as they feel their vehicle safely can?
Every vehicle can safely proceed through a red light if there is no other vehicles crossing perpendicular, should the non-sheep start ignoring red lights because they have determined they can safely pass through them?
Sometimes obeying the law is inconvenient and flooded roads are a rare occurrence in our parts. Sometimes you just gotta do what "the man" tells ya.

Mark Brudz
Markb's picture
Offline
Joined: Feb 9 2012
Member

Back in 1998, the Tonawanda flooded in similar fashion after a heavy rain . And 17 year old Boy Scout named Jason Walko and a 28 year old Veterinary Technician named Rachael Tieges waded through ankle deep water to retrieve dogs and cats in the basement of the Attica Veterinary Clinic in full view of first responders.

Within minutes of them beginning what seemed to be an easy task, the depth of the flood waters rapidly increased, flooded the basement and the surrounding grounds and they both perished after an enormous attempt by others to rescue them.

The point is, that NO ONE can predict what flood waters will do with certainty. The Tonawanda is fed from high elevations and the rise of water is anything but consistent. Flooding of this nature is totally unpredictable, you may witness it every year and feel confident, then that one year and with out warning it can escalate not in minutes but in seconds.

Additionally, flooded road beds are subject to rapid erosion, one should never under estimate the hydraulic effects of flood waters. Just Sayin.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.future.millennium/ZsOXSvaJemw

Mark Brudz
Markb's picture
Offline
Joined: Feb 9 2012
Member

Just another little note on this

1) New York State Traffic law

"S 153. Traffic control devices. All signs, signals, markings, and devices not inconsistent with this chapter placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction for the purpose of regulating, warning or guiding traffic."

To violate that is a traffic violation, not a whim of a Police Officer or DOT employee

2) The unauthorized removal or movement of such Traffic Control Device is in fact a Misdemeanor or in other words a crime

RICHARD L. HALE
DICKIE's picture
Offline
Joined: May 22 2009

I guess Mark, Mr. Putnam knows everything......... except the law.

I think, an officer should have been in the area.....anyone going through the barricade should get fined, say, $100.00. That money would defray the cost of overtime for all the city employees who had to work during the emergency.

Christopher Putnam
Christos's picture
Offline
Joined: Oct 11 2012

I will admit in my life "The Law" plays second fiddle to what i think of as my "better judgement". We all choose how to live life. I choose to follow the laws when they are rational and logical, and use my personal judgement in situations where "the law" may not exactly fit the situation. Faced with going 6- 12 miles out of my way to get to my destination, seemed a bit illogical, when i have driven my jeep through water almost 4 feet deep. I know that my air intake is above my engine, and that my engine is sealed for just such instances. I know this because i live in dale, on a seasonal road, and routinely have to drive through swollen creeks and streams...hence why i have a vehicle with a sealed engine and a snorkel.
Im sorry that some of you feel that "signs are in charge of me" I feel and live my life like "I am in charge of me" Its quite liberating and rewarding.
Im not saying its right for you, but it feels right to me. So do me a favor, dont ask me to live my life the way you live yours, and I wont ask you to live yours my way.
Im not condemning you for being safe and turning around, I respect that you did what you felt is SAFE FOR YOU. Now im asking that you respect the decision i made about what is SAFE FOR ME. If you cant do that , then i submit that you are being the unreasonable one, since you are asking, NAY insisting, that I value your beliefs and opinions, but are refusing to value mine.

How are your beliefs and life philosophy more important than mine?

Mark Brudz
Markb's picture
Offline
Joined: Feb 9 2012
Member

" I choose to follow the laws when they are rational and logical, and use my personal judgment in situations where "the law" may not exactly fit the situation. "

All I can say there is WOW!

So in your rationale, anyone should be able to ignore any law that they DEEM not rational, logical or personally fit to how one views the situation?

You going through the water is one thing, personally I think it was ill advised but that was your business. Moving the barricade however is far another, because that wasn't as simple as you saving a few minutes and a few gallons of gas or exercising your interpretation of freedom of choice, that was an action that potentially put some one else, shall we say with less road savvy than you perceive yourself to be, at risk of property damage, injury or death.

I guess it is just a matter of perspective, I am thankful that the majority of people in the world recognize that one's personal judgment and adherence to laws are not synominous.

Kyle Couchman
Kyle C's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 25 2009

Gee Mr. Putnam, then why bother on a few dollars for your license, you know how to drive so what do you have to prove. Same thing for your license plate and registration. If you feel your judgement is better the take them off and stop paying for useless pieces of paper.

As much as I hate the old saw about if you dont like things here in America then leave. I have to say it applies here. if you want to be accepted in a society then you have to follow it's rules. Attitudes like yours are You and your judgement are NOT above the law. As pointed out there are laws there that apply to these situations.

It people like you driving past signs and through flooded neighborhoods that get more water in basements and damage the roadways, with no consideration what the consequences of your actions could be.

I hope you get caught someday doing this and get your tickets and go before a judge. I see this happen I will love being there to see you tell him the same thing you spout for an audience here. Something tells me that you wont. Just like if an officer was posted at that sign you would have meekly drove that extra 6 miles. I will give your "decision to do whats safe for you..." the same respect you give to the society you live in's rules and laws.

I am pretty sure you talk a pretty good game about what you will and wont do using your judgement vs our rules and laws. But the reality is you will only act on it when you are sure you can get away with it. No one has issues with your beliefs and life philosiphies, but your supposed actions, which are an entirely different thing.

Jeff Allen
dnjallen's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 5 2009
Member

"Im not condemning you for being safe and turning around, I respect that you did what you felt is SAFE FOR YOU."...those are the same people you called "sheep" in your first post.

C. M. Barons
C. M. Barons's picture
Offline
Joined: Jul 29 2008

Moving the barrier was no less an endangerment to others than ignoring the barrier. The mere act of driving around the barrier would give other motorists a cue that the road was safe. It's the same follow the leader trust that lures motorists to follow construction vehicles into work areas.

...And if by chance, venturing into an unsafe stretch of road back-fired, who has to risk going in after the cavalier driver who failed to observe the road block?

Rationalizing highway safety markers and devices as inconveniences and arguing that they defray personal freedom is the same rationale that encourages people to run stop signs, blow through red lights, cut-off other motorists, drive while impaired and race locomotives.

The end result of such irresponsibility accounts for most highway accidents.

Ed Hartgrove
DeOldMan's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2012

Racing locomotives. Now, THAT'S an expensive hobby!

Puts a whole new meaning to, "Going to the track today, Honey?"

C. M. Barons
C. M. Barons's picture
Offline
Joined: Jul 29 2008

Maybe it was a Bergen thing, racing locomotives. Six crossings (five since the Church St. crossing was eliminated) made for plenty of opportunities to wait for a train. Another Bergen race: engaging the Monroe County sheriff stationed in Churchville in a run to the county line. Beating the sheriff's car with its police interceptor earned bragging rights. I don't believe the sheriff knew he was being baited, and I'm not aware that the ruse continued beyond the 1970s. Nowadays jurisdiction probably doesn't afford the same level of sanctuary. ...Not to mention a 100 MPH sprint at night with the headlights off probably wouldn't be downplayed as boys-being-boys.

Premium Drupal Themes