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Ogdensburg considers new traffic patterns downtown to improve pedestrian safety

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In an effort to make the city’s downtown safer for pedestrians, the Ogdensburg City Council is holding a public hearing about proposed changes to the intersections at Washington and State streets and Ford and State streets.

At the intersection of Washington and State streets, the state Department of Transportation is considering installing a three-way stop that would hold all traffic when pedestrians are crossing. A no-turn-on-red sign would be added.

No-turn-on-red signs would be added at the intersection of Ford and State streets as well, although traffic there is already entirely stopped when pedestrians are crossing.

Department of Transportation spokesman Michael R. Flick said state regulations require no-turn-on-red signs whenever there is a total halt of vehicle traffic for pedestrians.

After it was pointed out that the Ford and State intersection is lacking those signs, Mr. Flick said they need to be added.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said he received complaints from some of the city’s elderly residents who had difficulty crossing at Washington and State streets due to the traffic patterns.

“If you’re elderly and you wanted to go from the Centennial Tower to the library, you’re going to push the button and it’s going to stop all traffic on State Street,” Mr. Pinkerton said. “But it will not stop the traffic going westward on Washington. People could turn into you. It could happen in various directions.”

Mr. Pinkerton said both intersections are high traffic areas for both pedestrians and vehicles.

“We would like to see it even more pedestrian,” he said.

Mr. Flick said both intersections currently have pedestrian crossing lights, so the project will really focus on changing the patterns of the lights to allow for a solid, walking traffic-only phase.

Mr. Flick said work will not begin until after City Council passes a resolution in support of the project.

Mr. Pinkerton said that if the public is supportive of the changes during the hearing, City Council will have the option of voting on a resolution to authorize the Department of Transportation to move forward.

The public hearing will be held April 14 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall, prior the regular council meeting.

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