Updated: 09/17/2013 11:47 PM
Created: 09/17/2013 11:44 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
A pedestrian's death is prompting Canandaigua city leaders to go back to the drawing board. They're looking for ways to improve safety for people crossing along a busy section of Main Street.
There are pedestrian crosswalks in that section that are in the middle of the block and not at a stop light. Some people in Canandaigua want to see more safety precautions, after a woman was killing crossing the street at one of those crossings.
Tuesday night, there was a meeting to discuss those precautions.
Since 2002, Canandaigua has made a lot of changes to Main Street to make it safer for pedestrians. Like installing a median, crosswalk markings, signs and putting in planter beds to make it harder for people to cross illegally. But following that recent death, some are asking if it's enough.
City leaders including the mayor and police chief discussed possible changes at a brainstorming session to see if anything can be done to make those crosswalks safer. The chief says the death of a 56-year-old woman last week involved unusual circumstances, but he wouldn't elaborate.
That incident is still under investigation, but his research shows most of the incidents in that area have been vehicle crashes caused by pedestrians.
Chief Jon Welch says people often dart out in the street, forcing motorists to quickly put on brakes and causing a rear-end crash. He says in the past seven years there have been 80 crashes, most of them at the cross walks.
Chief Welch says "It tells me first of all that statistically it's safer to cross at a traffic control. We think there are other things in play contributing to the accident rate being 92.6 percent. I think the pedestrian really need to take caution and heed before you cross the road. Just like your parents told you. Look left, right and and back--left again before you cross the road."
Canandaigua city leaders have sought to reduce the speed limit and put more traffic lights on the street. The problem: it's a state highway. The city has no jurisdictions and has to get everything approved by the state. The chair of the ordinance committee Dave Whitcomb says it's frustrating and there hasn't been greater safety improvements.
Whitcomb says, "I think the council already--even before tonight--put the wheels in motion to speak to the state about things like lowering the speed limit. Whether that will have an impact remains to be seen. It's something we continue to look at."
The plan is now to install flashing lights at the three crosswalks on Main Street. That's scheduled to happen this Fall. While some argue that the flashing lights can be distracting to drivers, Whitcomb says there are studies that say motorist pay closer attention and drive slower at cross walks.
Mayor Ellen Polimeni says she has reached out to state lawmakers and has already received a response from Assemblyman Brian Kolb. Residents will also get a chance to weigh in on this issue in October at a community meeting. So we certainly haven't heard the last work on this issue.