A pedestrian-car accident occurred on July 23 and a fatality in June at the 13th Street intersection with Washington Street near Chadakoin Park in Jamestown. An editorial written by the Post-Journal in July called for action to improve the intersection by adding a pedestrian-activated traffic light.
On March 3, an accident on Bard Road and Center Road in Arkwright involving State Park Police was pictured in the OBSERVER. Resident Charles McDermott has complained of the many accidents at the T-intersection.
Both of those situations were on the agenda at the recent Chautauqua County Traffic Safety Board meeting held at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace and Breeanne Agett from the County Health Department at the recent Traffic Safety Board meeting. Agett spoke about the Safe Routes to School grant program and Walk to School Day.
Local law 1-1959 adopted on May 8, 1959 established a County Traffic Safety Board in Chautauqua County. New York State Vehicle and Traffic law authorizes creation of such boards and establishes standards for them.
In Chautauqua County, Sheriff Joseph Gerace is currently chairman of this board which meets four times a year. Police chiefs Harry Snellings of Jamestown, David Ortolano of Dunkirk, and Bradley Meyers of Fredonia and state trooper Greg Worrell are members of the board. Angelo Borgese, Regional Traffic Operations Engineer from the New York State Department of Transportation attends since it is DOT which studies areas and makes recommendations about what can be done to improve safety. Other members come from the county department of health and the public works department, while private citizens also serve. A term on the board is three years.
Borgese had studied the issue of the intersection in Jamestown. He said, "We are going to be putting in a high visibility crosswalk, advanced pedestrian signs, and playground signs."
Traffic Safety Board accomplishments 2010-'12
1. Left turn out of Kmart onto SW Drive allowed.
2. Baker Street and Southwestern Drive - signage improved - no significant incidents since.
3. Requested and received approval to reduce the speed limit from 55 to 45 on 394 from the Levant-Gerry Road to the Falconer Village.
4. WCA Crosswalk marked where people usually cross.
5. Striping Foote Avenue toward Washington St. bridge improved.
6. Requested and received approval of a 45 mph speed zone between Southwestern Drive and Ashville.
7. 35 mph speed zone in village of Panama changed to begin at the village line as requested by residents.
8. Green arrows used on Mall Blvd, Fairdale, Wal-Mart, and TJ Maxx traffic lights.
9. Became proactive in data mining to determine the top 10 most dangerous traffic safety concerns.
10. New stop sign on the Old Fluvanna Road.
Still he warned, "This is not a magic bullet."
He and other board members said that pedestrians have to be more aware of safety issues when crossing streets.
Breeanne Agett from the County Health Department provided information about Safe Routes to School, a federally funded program that allows school districts and municipalities to apply for funding for infrastructure and non-infrastructure activities intended to make the walk to school safer, reduce traffic congestion around schools, and encourage students to walk or bike instead of being dropped off by parents.
Agett thought that improvements to the area around Chadakoin Park might fall into this program. The grant applications are due by Oct. 5. So far Jamestown, Falconer, and Clymer have applied. The Safety Village is also applying for non-infrastructure funding.
Agett also explained that Oct. 3 is designated International Walk to School Day. The Health Department has supplied all schools with materials. Schools were asked to participate by encouraging students to actually walk to school or by holding pedestrian safety lessons. More information is available at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
Gerace dealt with the issue of the intersection of Bard and Center Road. Four accidents there have been reported. One happened when a driver slid through the stop sign in slippery conditions. Another was the park police accident. Gerace noted that according to McDermott, many unreported accidents have occurred. Additional study on this will be done, including looking at extra signage.
Others items on the agenda included working with the Amish to make their buggies more visible to prevent accidents, trimming on Interstate 86, creating a list of the county's top 10 dangerous intersections, and making the public more aware of the work of the Committee.
Activities of note in the past three years were cited. (See fact box) The next meeting of the Board will take place on Dec. 6 in the south county.
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