Traffic at the intersection of Main and Partition streets would be stopped in all directions for 30 seconds at a time to allow pedestrians to cross if the state DOT approves a request by the Village Board.
The board acted on a recommendation by Police Chief Joseph Sinagra, who had officers study the effect of stopping traffic for various lengths of time over a two-week period. They determined 30 seconds would allow pedestrians time to cross without causing excessive traffic backups.
Numerous close calls and at least two non-fatal accidents in the last six months led Sinagra to dub the intersection “an accident waiting to happen.” The intersection currently has no interval in which traffic is stopped in all directions and there is limited visibility for motorists turning from East Main St. onto South Partition St. (at Inquiring Mind).
The village asked the state DOT last year to install walk and do not walk signs, but it refused, citing the volume of traffic. The intersection had these signs until the 1980s, when they were removed at the request of the village because of excessive traffic backups.
The best solution would involve installing sensors at the intersection, which allow more traffic to move during busy times and prevent long red-light cycles with no pedestrians crossing. But that’s also the most expensive solution. The state has no plans for such a project and even if it did, the process would likely take many years.
The resolution vote was unanimous, though the mayor and several trustees expressed reservations about the possibility of traffic backups and confusion that could result from an all-way red light meant to allow pedestrians to cross without any accompanying “walk” sign.
“I would like to see the time shortened from the proposed 30 seconds,” said Mayor Bill Murphy. He believes pedestrians cross the intersection faster than 30 seconds and that amount of time would lead to backups.
He pointed out that the walk and do not walk signs at Main and Market stay lit for only 20 to 24 seconds and that should be enough.
Trustee Terry Parisian said the solution is not optimal for pedestrians. “No one will know when to go,” he said. “I think there will be confusion on everyone’s part.”
Parisian and fellow trustee Patrick Landewe said the biggest problem is motorists failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks, which is a state law.
Despite their concerns, trustees said the measure is better than doing nothing. Whether anything is done is up to the DOT. Mayor Murphy said when the village informed the state of its plans, a DOT representative said a resolution would have to be passed. Murphy noted that the DOT only agreed to consider the request but would not commit to agreeing to it.