ALBANY – Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- 57th District) announced today that the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to her request to install a traffic signal to address safety concerns at the intersection of East Avenue and Route 394 in Falconer.
The intersection has a history of dangerous accidents. Most recently, two students suffered injuries that required hospitalization when they were struck by a car while walking near Falconer Middle-High School this past April.
“It is great news that the DOT has heard our concerns and agreed to install a traffic light. The intersection has been plagued with serious safety issues that need to be addressed. Protecting our children from harm is everyone’s utmost priority,” said Senator Young.
“Installing a traffic signal at the intersection will mitigate the potential dangers of the site and ensure that the circumstances that led to the two young people being injured are not repeated again in the future. Thankfully, the injuries that the two students suffered were not life-threatening, but that in no way reduces the potential for harm if the intersection is left in its current state. Nearly all of the students at Falconer Middle-High School walk through the heavily trafficked area, so it is a positive development that this new safety mechanism will soon be in place,” Senator Young said.
After the April accident, Village of Falconer Mayor James Rensel and Falconer Central School District Superintendent Stephen Penhollow wrote to Senator Young to express their concerns. At Senator Young’s urging, DOT performed a new study regarding the potential for a traffic signal to be installed where the crosswalk currently exists. This time DOT determined that “a warrant has been met for the installation of a three-color signal at this intersection.”
Local officials applauded the study’s findings and the outcome.
Village of Falconer Mayor James Rensel said, “We were very happy to receive this news. I’d like to thank Senator Catharine Young for her efforts. I would also like to thank Senator Young’s local representative Lisa Vanstrom, Falconer Central School Superintendent Steve Penhollow, Falconer DPW Superintendent Sam Ognibene, and Town of Ellicott Police Chief Bill Ohnmeiss. It was a great team to work with to achieve this result.”
Falconer Central School District Superintendent Stephen Penhollow said, “We are very pleased that the safety of our students was made a top priority and that so many people came to our assistance to make our traffic light request happen. Falconer Central School would like to thank Senator Catharine Young and Assemblymen Andrew Goodell for their diligent efforts and strong support for the installation of a traffic light in front of Falconer High School. This intersection has been a school and community concern for many years, and we are very pleased that the collaborative efforts of Mayor James Rensel, Police Chief Bill Ohnmeiss, Falconer DPW Superintendent Sam Ognibene, local representative Lisa Vanstrom, the Falconer Board of Education and our local legislators have resulted with the installation of this new safety light.”
In the coming weeks, Senator Young will be coordinating a meeting with DOT and school officials to determine what next steps and course of action will best serve the needs of all involved.