CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – Since 2009, when four teenagers were killed after their car sped through a stop sign at County and Strickler Roads, there has been talk of putting up a traffic signal.
A year later, there was a serious school bus collision at that intersection, and neighbors have seen other crashes there.
Erie County officials first put up larger stop signs for the Strickler traffic, but were hesitant to put up a traffic signal.
“A signal could actually produce different kinds of accidents and is not the correct solution,” Former Erie County Public Works Commissioner Jerry Sentz told News 4 in 2011.
But Thursday, contractors for Erie County were installing a traffic signal at County and Strickler Roads, though it will continue to give traffic on County Road the right of way with a flashing yellow light, and only stop traffic on Strickler with a flashing red light.
“At Salt Road, we’ve noticed a little improvement in the amount of accidents and fatalities over the years, just due to a caution light,” explains Clarence Highway Superintendent Jamie Dussing.
But neighbors like Frank Nicotra are sceptical.
“If it’s a blinking light, it’s not going to cause anybody to stop. If you’re going to go 55 MPH through a blinking yellow light, it’s not going to do any good. You need to slow down the speed limit. The speed limit has to be 45.”
Clarence Town Supervisor David Hartzell believes the majority of residents will see this as a positive change.
“They’ve asked for lower speed limits and there’s really two ways to do that. One is to post it, the other is to put a light up. And in this case, between these three dangerous intersections, we’ll have three lights up. So hopefully that’ll slow it down.”
Clarence officials say there is the potential to adjust the light to a four-way stop in the future, but for now, the light at Strickler and County Roads should be operational by mid-May with a flashing yellow light for County Road traffic, and a flashing red light for Strickler Road traffic.