The Department of Transportation is considering removing two traffic control devices that have become obsolete and nearing the end of their service life. Before removing any lights, the DOT considers a number of factors like traffic speeds, accident history, development along the corridor, and pedestrian activity. The intersection at Steele and South Washington Streets in Herkimer is a main concern. Herkimer County Legislator Gregory Malta has gathered around 300 signatures from people opposed to the removal of the lights.
"I talked to DOT Engineers myself. They said this road, according to national study of traffic, really doesn’t warrant any traffic light down here."
Now that the lights have been on blinking mode, a number of area residents and businesses have safety concerns. Campione Water Company Manager Cindy Guiney is one of them.
"I hear screeching of tires. Yeah, ask Mallory. They stop quick, and then lay on the horn. Near misses yep. I sit right here and I can hear, we both can hear squealing of the tires, and we’re just waiting for the crash to happen. It’s just…It’s bound to happen."
Digital Sports Photography Owner Bob Crister has a business located on the corner of Washington Street and Steele Street. He is concerned about the local children who he says spend a lot of time at a ball field and park just around the corner from the intersection.
"You got no traffic control now. You got no way for a kid to push a button to turn the light, and when that car comes this way, and now can go right automatically without having to stop… there’s going to be a problem."
Probably the biggest problem is the speeds people are now driving along South Washington Street. ARC Herkimer is located at the intersection, and Safety Officer Timothy Klock tells us without the light there’s going to be problems.
"The visibility is poor. You can’t see in different directions because of the different trucks with one of the businesses. They have some higher trucks. The buses are having trouble getting through there because of the parking congestion, and again, you know people are just really not paying attention to the yellow light versus the red light."
WKTV will keep you posted on the results of the traffic study when they become available.