Penn Yan debates traffic signal

Gwen Chamberlain

Should the traffic signal at the corner of East Main and Lake Streets be converted back to the blinking signals that were in place before last year's detour during the replacement of the Liberty Street Bridge?

That question has been argued in the village public safety committee for three months, and Trustee Mike Christensen, chairman of the committee, brought it to the full board Sept. 18.

Christensen says the signal that stops traffic creates more problems than it helps traffic flow. "I fail to see the need for the light at that intersection," he said.

Trustee Willie Allison disagreed, and proposed that the traffic signal be timed to coordinate with the other traffic signals on Main Street.

Attorney Ed Brockman pointed out that the village code does not likely contain any directive for the location of traffic signals in response to Christensen's query about the authority to have a signal at the intersection.

The state Department of Transportation installed the traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals when it set up the detour through the village for the bridge construction. Once the new bridge opened, the signal equipment was turned over to the village.

A motion made by Christensen to turn the intersection traffic controls back to the previous flashing red light was tabled after Mayor Robert Church said he would like the public safety committee to discuss the issue. Church said he agrees with Christensen, but he hasn't heard any comments from the public either.

Christensen quipped, "I don't have a problem waiting. We've waited this long. We'll need a new bridge (by the time we decide)."

Earlier in the discussion, he said he "was at a loss" that the village has to adopt a local law to add three handicap-accessible parking spaces to a parking lot (referring to an earlier agenda item), but didn't need to take any action to have an intersection's traffic control changed.

Other business at the Sept. 18 Village Board meeting included:

• POLICE OFFICERS: The board accepted the resignation of one officer and hired two. Church said Patrick Ellison has resigned to take another position. The board agreed to hire Wayne Marsh and Brandon Dehond as full time officers with annual salaries of $46,103. Church explained the department has been filling shifts left open after another full time officer left the agency last year with part time officers. He said hiring these two will decrease the need for part time officers. Marsh and Dehond had independently financed their training at the Finger Lakes Police Academy earlier this year. Typically, agencies hire officers and pay them to complete the academy.

• FIRE TRUCK: Fire Chief Rick Simpson reported an agreement has been reached with the Potter Fire Department to purchase the pumper that's being replaced by the new truck recently received by the department. He said the new truck is being fitted with new equipment and will be in service by Oct. 16.

• RECOGNITION: At the beginning of the meeting, Church read a proclamation about the contributions to the village that have been made by Jerry Nissen, who recently resigned from the village's Municipal Utilities Board. Before becoming a member of the MUB, Nissen served as a trustee and then served as mayor.

• ANNEXATION: The board set a public hearing with the Milo Town Board for 6 p.m. Oct. 16 regarding the potential annexation of property on the western side of Sherman Street. The property lies within the town of Milo.

• HYDROFRACKING: The board held a public hearing on the proposed moratorium on high impact industrial land uses. No one commented on the proposal.

• TRICK OR TREAT: The board set Trick or Treating hours for 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 in the village.

• TURKEY TROT: The board authorized St. Michael's School to hold a Turkey Trot Run/Walk at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.