New stops signs will be installed at an intersection of Murray Avenue after residents requested measures be taken to help curb traffic violations.
A traffic study was performed in October by Creighton Manning to determine what could be done to help reduce speeding in the area. For several years, residents had been asking for stop signs.
Highway Superintendent Brent Meredith presented the findings from the study to the Town Board on Wednesday, Nov. 12. One of the main issues was the fact stop signs are not recommended for speed control.
“There’s been numerous residents who have come forward and asked for this area to be studied,” said Meredith.
A group of residents from the neighborhood spoke to the town board before the presentation. Representatives said the intersection of Murray Avenue and Darroch Road has been a matter of contention for nearly 20 years. Not only is the community concerned about speed, but visibility. The area has also been promoted as a community bike path, but many are afraid to let their children use it.
Meredith said there are factors to be considered when installing a new stop sign, including traffic volume and speed, geometry and sight distance, along with accident history.
After several complaints from residents, the Highway Department trimmed some of the brush in the right of way in September. This was done before the traffic study took place to make sure this was not found to be the cause of poor visibility in the area.
From the study, typical volumes of traffic were found for a residential area. The speed was found to be higher than normal, with two accidents in the past five years having to do with speed. The speed limit on both roads is 30 mph, with 85 percent of vehicles traveling at 36.2 mph or lower.
“The thing about Murray Avenue though, is it does get a lot of traffic because it is the way to the bypass from those neighborhoods,” said Meredith.
The highway superintendent said the most interesting thing from the study is there was still found to be line-of-sight issues, even with the buses trimmed. The study found sight distance was limited as drivers approached Darroch Road from the west and the east. There are also trees in the way.
“We’ve trimmed back what we can trim back, so unfortunately what we have there is all we can do unless the residents decide to remove some trees and the shrubs they have,” said Meredith.
The study recommended an all-way stop for the intersection because of the visibility issues on the Darroch Road approach.
Councilman Jeffrey Kuhn said he drives the intersection every day and agreed with the assessment. He said it was hard to see oncoming traffic from the east because of visibility also from the roads close proximity to the woods.
Town Attorney Jim Potter, who also uses the road frequently, asked if the low visibility with the bend in the road will cause drivers to screech to a halt when they see the new stop signs. Meredith said additional signs will be installed before the intersection to let drivers know a stop sign is coming.
Councilwoman Joann Dawson asked about changing the geometry of Murray Avenue so it wasn’t so curved. Meredith said it would be a larger undertaking than adding the signs.
Supervisor John Clarkson responded by adding “sometimes a perceived solution can make matters worse.” He felt widening Murray Avenue would lead more people to speed down the road.
Meredith said he is looking into some future projects in the area. He actually may look to narrow a portion of Murray Avenue. He said this might make the road more “community-friendly.”
“When I first got on the board and we started seeing traffic control studies, and I learned a little about sort of the way it works and basically that it’s about sight-line more than speed, this intersection immediately occurred to me,” said Kuhn.
For the stops signs to be installed, a new local traffic law needed to be passed.
No one spoke at the public hearing held on Tuesday, Nov. 25, but the law was unanimously passed by the Town Board.