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North Salem Asks DOT to Halt Stoplight Project

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The New York state Department of Transportation is erecting two poles with blinking stoplights at June Road and Route 116.

Since 2008 there have been 17 accidents at the intersection, more than a dozen of them involving collisions between cars headed north on June Road and cars going west or east on Route 116.

Although the DOT has decided to erect the blinking lights to address the traffic problem, North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas emphasized in a discussion with Rich Dillman of the DOT that cars regularly do stop at the existing stop signs.

Lucas said the problem is caused by poor sight lines as drivers approach the intersection, because of other vehicles, vegetation and ground contour.

In a written resolution, the Town Board is asking the DOT to cease installation of the blinking stoplights and, instead, to reduce the speed limit at the approach to the intersection to 30 mph. The current speed limit is 45 mph.

Lucas added, “The town’s position is that the poles will further limit the line of sight and make accidents more likely. The control boxes hanging off the pole completely block southern views from SUV and pickup drivers.”

The intersection sees high traffic volume in the mornings, as commuters drive through and children arrive at the North Salem Nursery School on the northeast corner. Traffic is also heavy on Sunday mornings, when people attend services at St. James Church, just east of the intersection.

“There is concern for the toddlers at the nursery school and the congregants at St. James,” said Town Board member Bruce Buchholtz.

Other corners at the intersection are occupied by the North Salem Building Department and a shopping mall, site of the M&T Bank, the local post office and other businesses.

The Town Board’s written resolution was delivered to Jay Pisco, commissioner of the county Department of Public Works, on Thursday. If Pisco approves the request, it will be forwarded to the state DOT for consideration.

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