Aug 03, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
A flashing yellow light is not enough to handle the traffic at the intersection of Kane Avenue and West Genesee Street and a three-color light should be installed in its place, the Skaneateles Village Board wrote to the state Department of Transportation in mid-July.
The DOT has agreed to reexamine the issue, although a review will take some time, Mayor Martin Hubbard told the board at the July 28 meeting.
“This was a good effort, and they are going to look at it,” Hubbard told the board.
The state DOT previously decided to put a new flashing yellow light at the intersection because the signal system is 23 years old and deteriorating.
Both the issue of traffic jams at the intersection and the question of how the restoration and reopening of the Krebs restaurant would affect congestion further previously were discussed at the July 15 village board meeting.
Skaneateles Fire Chief Eric Sell told the board that more than once, fire department trucks have been stuck in their lot for multiple minutes while trying to respond to emergency calls because a traffic jam at the intersection made it impossible for the fire trucks to get out.
The department also has expressed concern that drivers will start cutting through the fire department parking lot — which has openings on both West Genesee Street and Kane Avenue — in order to circumvent the intersection, which would be extremely dangerous.
“At what point do we request a light?” asked Trustee Marc Angelillo.
Hubbard said that several requests had been made in the past, but the DOT always had studied the intersection traffic during spring and fall, not during the peak summer season.
Code Enforcement Officer Jorge Batlle said the request always had been rejected because previously there was no fire station there.
The trustees agreed at that meeting to send a request to the state DOT, written by Village Attorney Michael J. Byrne, asking for another review.
In his July 18 letter, Byrne cited “a number of complaints” the board has received from village citizens about traffic congestion at the intersection, and also referenced the concerns of the fire department in their difficulty leaving the fire station when cars are backed up at the light.
“Village mayors have previously inquired of the possibility of converting the traffic light from a flashing to a three-color light. However, this is now a matter of increased concern to the Mayor and the Trustees because of its impact on emergency vehicles attempting to exit the fire station,” Byrne wrote.
DOT Regional Traffic Engineer Diana L. Graser responded on July 20 that the DOT traffic engineers would “conduct another review” of the intersection, including the village’s concerns about general traffic and emergency vehicle delays, to consider the appropriateness of installing a three-color traffic signal.
Graser added that the mast-arm design of the new flashing yellow signal the DOT previously determined to install at the intersection will have enough height and strength to be “easily converted” to a three-color signal in the future if it was deemed “warranted.”
While the trustees were encouraged by the DOT’s response, discussion of the issue continued at their July 28 meeting, with a consensus still behind a three-color signal.
Police Chief Lloyd Perkins suggested that the fire department point one of its currently unused video cameras at the intersection to record the traffic backups, which could then be shown to the DOT.
Village Attorney Michael J. Byrne suggested that Sell write a letter detailing to the DOT how traffic congestion at the intersection hinders emergency response. Byrne also suggested citizens with concerns or complaints about the intersection should write letters and send them to the village offices. These letters, along with the other information, could then be sent as a package to the DOT to bolster the village’s request.
“We have an opportunity here,” Byrne said.
Anyone who wants to write a letter of concern or comment about the intersection at West Genesee Street and Kane Avenue should address it to Village of Skaneateles, 46 East Genesee Street, Skaneateles, N.Y., 13152, or email to email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.