By Autumn Evans
A proposal to place a traffic light at the intersection of Payne Avenue and Fredericka Street drew much discussion at North Tonawanda's Common Council work session Tuesday.
The Traffic Safety Committee's recommendation warned the flashing lights currently placed at the intersection were not safe enough.
"Russ (Rizzo), Bob (Pecoraro) and I, we went down there and we sat there from every direction, and it's not good, the way it is. It's dangerous, especially in the wintertime with snowbanks built up," Mayor Arthur Pappas said.
Originally, the light would stay green on Payne until a car approaching from Fredericka tripped the light. Then, about two years ago, it was switched to a regular timed traffic light, which started causing problems. Then the current flashing lights were placed.
The new plan is to return to the sensor lights, but with a better detection system in place. The new method involves burying a detector beneath the pavement.
"I don't think anything you do is gonna be totally perfect, but that's the nature of the area," Pappas said.
"Safety should be the main concern, and it sounds like this is gonna take care of the safety issue," Alderman Robert Pecoraro said.
In other Common Council news:
•Police Chief William Hall spoke to the council about performing background checks on all city employees. Currently, the tests are only done on employees in the police and fire departments. Hall suggested doing a less extensive test for civilians. He had already discussed the situation with the mayor, who said he supported the idea.
"The purpose is not to keep anyone out of every department, if somebody had a minor problem 10 years ago or 20 years ago," Pappas said. "These are just things so they know who they're hiring, what type of person."
The council expressed approval for performing background checks. City Attorney Shawn Nickerson and Hall agreed to sit down and discuss the particulars before beginning the process.
•The council received correspondence from Fire Chief John Lapham regarding the department's stance against the legalization of certain fireworks. Among the reasons listed was that, although fireworks could only be sold during certain periods, they could be stored in businesses much longer, presenting a fire hazard. The council expressed support for the chief's stance.