DOT holds meeting about traffic improvements on Monroe Avenue

Posted at: 07/31/2013 3:11 AM
Updated at: 08/01/2013 1:10 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Can you believe a stretch of road in our area has one of the highest number of accidents in New York State?

The State Department of Transportation says the number of accidents on Monroe Avenue between Westfall Road and Clover Street is three to four times higher than the state's average and Wednesday night the DOT unveiled plans to make changes.

 News10NBC attended a meeting at the Brighton Town Hall to learn more about those plans and when you'll see changes.

The DOT has already gotten the ball rolling by studying the problem and coming up with a plan to address two main problems, rear-end accidents on Monroe Avenue as people are getting on Interstate 590 north headed downtown, and right angle accidents when cars heading east are turning left into businesses near Clover Lanes and Mamasan's Restaurant. These changes should happen by this time next year.

“It usually happens really fast. I mean, some of the stuff they get right up on embankments over here, hit telephone poles, all sorts of stuff,” said Nicholas Gerling, who works at Mamasan's Restaurant.

That's what Gerling has seen in the three years he's has worked at this Monroe Avenue restaurant. It's located right near the entrance to Interstate 590 north.

“There's times when I'm in the center lane to turn on to come to work and I'm scared that someone is going to come right into me,” said Gerling.

 Gerling's fears may be warranted. The DOT has studied the stretch of Monroe Avenue between Westfall Road and Clover Street. DOT spokesperson Lori Maher says what they learned is disturbing.

“We've had a record number of accidents in this short stretch. We're looking at 264 accidents in a three year period. That is just astronomical. That's just not something we see in a regular basis,” said Maher.

Maher says this number is three to four times higher than the state average. The DOT has come up with a plan to reconfigure the road and it brought the plan to the Brighton Town Hall Wednesday night to hear what residents think.

Here's what will change: the on-ramp to I-590 north heading downtown and the exit ramp on the southbound side. The DOT has proposed getting rid of the turning lane that takes you to Clover Street on the southbound side and creating a dedicated turning lane on the northbound side.

“I don't think you're going to do much good. I don't know why you have it blocked off in front of Mario's to get on the highway. What's with that?” said Brighton resident Marjorie Alaimo.

“This is not theoretical. People's lives are at risk. I would never have my children who live over here on Westfall go to Pittsford Plaza on their bikes or walk, never, the way that's configured now,” said another resident.

The plan also calls for a traffic signal on Monroe Avenue at the 590 on and off ramps, a dedicated bicycle lane and sidewalks. Again, these changes should all happen by fall of next year at a cost of about $1.6 million dollars.

Maher says the plan isn't written in stone. The DOT wanted to hear residents think. Maher says if they heard some good ideas they would tweak the plans and include some of what they heard Wednesday night.

Click here to see the list of possible solutions.