Crashes at complex entrance have neighbors, county lawmaker calling for traffic study

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PENFIELD, N.Y. — An increase in crashes along a stretch of Empire Boulevard in Penfield has a Monroe County lawmaker calling on the state Department of Transportation to do a traffic study.

This comes after an outpouring of complaints.

People in the area of the Waters Edge Apartment Complex say a traffic light is desperately needed at the main entrance to the complex, at the intersection of Empire Boulevard and Starboard Side Lane. People in the area say a traffic light would make them feel safer and reduce the number of crashes happening there.

Coming and going from the apartment complex is easier said than done.

“It’s insane trying to make a left hand turn here, it’s very dangerous. And cars are not moving over for us. And we are getting beeped. It’s just a disaster,” said Lise Ventrilo, who has lived at the complex for three years and says the number of crashes outside her home has only gotten worse.

“We just had a fatality maybe a month ago; we’ve had multiple accidents down this road,” Ventrilo said.

In June, two SUVs crashed on Empire Boulevard near Waters Edge, killing one of the drivers. Another crash happened in April.

These are reasons why Monroe County Legislator Paul Dondorfer says it’s time for the state to address the problem.

“I’ve spoken to a number of local first responders in the area who have said the accidents have gotten worse in severity. Obviously we know we have had a couple of fatal accidents. That’s why I’m reaching out to the state to conduct a traffic study in the area,” Dondorfer said.

A NYSDOT spokesman stated that the DOT “is reviewing the Empire Boulevard corridor to determine whether any potential safety enhancements are warranted.”

Dondorfer said, “We requested a traffic study from New York State, which manages that roadway. They will, however their engineers figure it out, whether it be a traffic light or a flashing light, that’s up to them.”

But for neighbors like Ventrilo, time is of the essence.

“I have a daughter that’s going to have a baby any day. and she’s going to come visit me with a baby. I don’t want her making a left-hand turn out of here. She’s precious cargo. We are all precious cargo.”

There is no timeline for when the study will be completed, but until then the NYSDOT says that “safety is everyone’s responsibility and urges drivers to drive responsibly and remain alert when driving through this area.”