EAST CONCORD – In order to gauge the public’s perspective on a solution for the intersection at Genesee and Sibley roads and Route 240 in East Concord, a public meeting was held on Dec. 4 at the East Concord Fire Hall.
Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills, representatives from Clark Patterson Lee, Town of Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito and others from Erie County were in attendance to show possible solutions for the intersection and ask for the public’s opinion on what they would like to see.
David Askinazi of Clark Patterson Lee made a presentation at the meeting about the proposed options, current conditions of the intersection and a timeline for work done at the intersection. Proposed options for the intersection include a traffic circle and relocating Sibley Road onto Route 240 to create a four-way stop. There also was a previous option for traffic lights, but Erie County Traffic and Safety Coordinator Gina Wilkolaski said that is no longer a possibility.
“The goal is to correct the safety deficiencies at the intersection using proven, cost-effective accident reduction measures that are efficient, aesthetically pleasing and that enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors for East Concord and Erie County,” Askinazi said.
An accident analysis from June 2013-June 2016 showed there were 27 accidents, with 25 of those accidents being right angle accidents. At the intersection, the rate of accidents per million vehicles is 4.81, which is almost 14 times the regional accident rate, according to Askinazi.
With the four-way stop, the project would install two new stop signs on Route 240 and one on Sibley Road, and includes relocating Sibley Road into Route 240. The roundabout option, which is recommended by Clark Patterson Lee, would be large enough and have curbs that would allow for large vehicles including tractor trailers, snow plows and farm machinery to use the roundabout safely.
“The federal government has 30 plus years of accident data from roundabouts all over the country that show roundabouts reduce fatal accidents by up to 70 percent over four-way [stop signs] or similar intersections either signalized or stop signs,” Askinazi said.
The county is currently in the preliminary design phase, which will be completed in December. Once completed, Clark Patterson Lee is hoping to advance the final design, bid the project and perform underground utility work by spring 2018 with construction set to start in summer 2018.
After the presentation, residents at the meeting voiced their opinions about the dangers of the intersection and what they think should be done. Some of the biggest complaints with the intersection was the bad sightlines when turning off certain streets and people speeding into the intersection, causing accidents.
“If you could get people to be aware of the situation up here and get people to slow down, the problems are going to decrease,” one resident said.
When talking about the different options, vocal residents in attendance were against a roundabout and were in favor of a four-way stop. One of the biggest concerns from residents about the roundabout was that certain trucks or equipment would not be able to navigate it safely or without damaging the vehicle, despite Clark Patterson Lee assuring them the vehicles would be able to safely navigate the roundabout.
“The most common sense thing for me to say we should do is that you haven’t tried a four-way stop yet,” one resident said. “It worked on the other end [of Genesee Road].
Wilkolaski said Erie County will be making the decision on the intersection and a decision is set to be made at the end of December. Residents can send their comments to Wilkolaski before the deadline to help the county in their decision. Comments can be sent to: Gina Wilkolaski, Erie County DPW, 95 Franklin St., 14th floor, Buffalo, NY 14202.
“One thing we realize is that something needs to be done and we can all agree on that,” Eppolito said.