Previte points to study suggesting more stops signs cause more trouble
By Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston voted Monday to install a series of new stop signs in an attempt to prevent future automobile-related accidents.
Motorists will soon notice markers at the intersections of Center and Water (north/south), Plain and Niagara (south), and Cayuga and South Fourth streets (north/south).
Mayor Anne Welch said, “Personally, I think it’s needed.”
At the start of a public hearing on the matter, she explained, “Niagara Street is when you’re coming off of Center. It’s a three-way stop. It is not a four-way stop. And because people are coming from Center Street, going all the way to Cayuga, the other people on Plain Street think they have a stop sign, also. And they just pull out.”
She further stated, “North Fourth Street has stop signs at Onondaga and Oneida and Mohawk going down, so it stops the traffic. From Center Street all the way down into Artpark, there is not a stop sign. So, people drive all the way down without having to stop.”
Residents Maryalice and Ross Eckert encouraged the Village Board to look at “the bigger picture here,” and add a stop sign to slow traffic along South Fourth Street.
“I’ve witnessed three accidents,” she said. “Two of them, the women had to be hospitalized. They had to take them by ambulance.”
Without a new stop sign, Maryalice Eckert cautioned it would only be a matter of time before a life was lost.
Lewiston Police Department Chief Frank Previte agreed with the decision to add stop signs at Center and Water and Plain and Niagara streets, but disagreed with the South Fourth Street assessment. He said there are better measures to deter speeding on that roadway, including more police patrols, enforcement and ticketing.
In fact, Previte read parts of an article published in the Gotham Gazette (New York City) that cited a U.S. Department of Transportation study noting, “Stop signs should never be installed as a routine, cure-all approach to curtail speeding, prevent collisions at intersections, or discourage traffic from entering a neighborhood.”
The writer noted, “When they are misplaced, stop signs can make a situation worse.” He pointed to an information sheet published by the Center for Transportation Research and Education in Ames, Iowa, and shared, “Studies have found when stop signs are placed at intersections where they are really not needed, motorists become careless about stopping.”
Previte said, “I can more than appreciate everybody’s concerns, however, I think that we have to look at studies and address problems with correct solutions, rather than solutions that maybe are well-intended, but I don’t think accomplish the goals that we’re looking to do.”
He added, “I’ve sat on Fourth Street. … There’s not a problem with people not understanding traffic flow. That is the reason for a stop sign. …
“I’ve heard a couple times it’s a straight shot. That’s not a reason for a stop sign.”
Initially, trustees were considering a fourth new stop sign, at Fourth and Seneca streets.
Resident Anthony Girasole agreed something needs to be done to calm traffic on South Fourth – “Our street is kind of a raceway at times,” he said – but also expressed concern about an increase in traffic lights entering homes.
“We don’t want more lights into our bedroom window; more than we have now,” he said.
Neighbor Marianne Gittermann concurred, and also wondered aloud if stationary motorcycles would make more noise coming out of a stop sign.
Hearing this, and noting more vehicles travel along Cayuga Street, trustees voted against this traffic marker.
In adopting Local Law No. 2-22 (stop intersections), the board noted all other provisions of the Lewiston Village Code, Section §11-19, shall remain as therein stated and unchanged.
In Other News
The board voted to upgrade the camera system in and around the Red Brick Municipal Building, Marilyn Toohey Park and the inclusive playground.
Trustee Tina Coppins served as point person for this upgrade.
“We will be going from our current 8-channel Network Video Recorder to a 16-channel 4K NVR,” she said after the meeting. “This will give us the ability to expand for future needs. We are currently adding six cameras to our current system. They will be upgraded to 8MP advance motion detection with a built-in mic, and starlight matrix IR night vision technology. Three will be placed out to monitor our new playground, and two will be placed in downstairs for our recreation center. Plus, a stationary PTZ full-motion camera will be placed on the restroom building.
“Unfortunately, we have had some minor vandalism and, with this new system, we will be able to identify and take the appropriate action. Our new, beautiful park has been upgraded for everyone to enjoy, not destroy.”
The following motions were approved:
•An application from iRun WNY Inc. to host the 2023 Niagara Falls USA Marathon, Half Marathon, and Historic Lewiston 5K on Friday, April 28 (5K at Artpark and Village of Lewiston), and Saturday, April 29 (half-marathon and full marathon from Artpark to Niagara Falls).
•A request made by the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce to host the annual Lewiston Christmas Walk on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3-4. Organizers will use Academy Park, the Alphonso I. DiMino Memorial Band Shell, Hennepin Park and the International Peace Garden, with a partial closing of Center Street Saturday morning in order to welcome Santa’s processional (approximately 15 minutes).
The Village Board approved a related motion, allowing the Chamber of Commerce to host the second annual Christmas Lights Parade at 5 p.m. Sunday. Chamber staff will close portions of Center Street (from Ninth to Fourth Street) and Portage Road (Seneca to Center Street) from approximately 3-8 p.m.
•Trustees also approved the Chamber of Commerce’s plan to host “Trick or Treat on Center Street,” slated for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. This request includes use of the International Peace Garden and Hennepin Park. The actual event hours are not yet set.