Solution is needed for too many accidents in town
By SHARI MILLER
Bravo to the town of Dunkirk for addressing the Route 60 and Williams Street intersection at their recent town board meeting. The money used to install a traffic light is minimal compared to the costs to the fire department, police force and emergency personnel that respond to the many accidents that take place at this intersection.
Add on the costs to the insurance companies for vehicle repairs and medical claims; the out-of-pocket costs to families for co-pays, time off of work, and increased insurance premiums; and you are now looking at thousands of dollars.
In my talks with other municipalities, the installation of a light will cost $80,000 to $100,000 with less than $200 per year of maintenance.
As they said “there are hundreds of thousands of traffic lights in this world and they are not meant to fail.” With the average cost of an accident costing $3,000 to $10,000, and numerous accidents per year, the return on the investment will be eight to 12 years.
It makes sense to take this out to public vote and to explore state Sen. Cathy Young’s office regarding money that can be used for public health and safety.
Also there are grants available to rural municipalities with populations less than 20,000 residents that may help defer some of the costs. A good place to start would be the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They gave away more than $21 million to state municipalities under their Reconnecting America innovative in 2012. One grant called the Transportation, Community & System Preservation grant, has money for “traffic calming measures.”
This intersection definitely needs calming as I am aware of three accidents so far this year, that have occurred there.
I believe that a traffic light is a much better choice then a turning lane and I hope to see a light in place before someone is killed. Although, as the recent online poll at observertoday.com revealed, the majority would like a light and turning lane.
Shari Miller is an East Town of Dunkirk resident.