FALCONER – Green, yellow, red and a flashing arrow debuted Monday morning at the corner of E. Main Street and East Avenue near Falconer Central School as State DOT officials fully activated a new traffic signal.
The light installed to ease traffic congestion and make sure students can cross one of Chautauqua County’s busiest roadways is “state of the art,” featuring a flashing yellow arrow.
“This morning is just kind of a walk though to see how the light functions and making sure that we can educate our kids how to use the light effectively,” said Falconer Central School Superintendent Stephen Penhollow.
During the first few days of classes, Superintendent Penhollow said the school will work with students to help them understand the new traffic signal.
“We’re going to do a lot of different things to make sure our kids understand the functions of the lights,” said Penhollow. “The light that is here at his corner is very similar to the one at Work and Main as well.”
The traffic signal is responsive not only to vehicles with underground sensors but to pedestrians trying to cross the walkway.
“As you push it (the sensor), it will be a delay of a few seconds and then that will change the lights,” explained Ellicott Police Chief William Ohnmeiss. “The crossing guard or the children could press the button and it is very clean and descriptive counting down the time you have to cross.”
This style of traffic signal is new to Chautauqua County and much of Western New York featuring a flashing yellow arrow.
“Personally, I’ve never see it either,” said Ohnmeiss. “They (the State DOT) are starting to put more and more of them in Erie County and that part of the state.”
“It’s basically a yield sign to turn left. You will see that flashing yellow arrow, which means proceed with caution, and if there is no oncoming traffic, you can proceed to turn left.”
Construction crews began work in June after New York State Senator Cathy Young, Assemblyman Andy Goodell and local officials pushed the State DOT to take a second look at the intersection’s safety.
Concerns surrounding the intersection have been on the district’s mind for years, but when two students were struck in 2016, the issue was brought to the forefront once again.
“I take a lot of pride in doing this traffic signal,” said Catco Construction Applied Technologies Electrical Superintendent David Miniri, who built the light. “I will be back here for the next 50 years showing it to my grandchildren.”
Penhollow said crews will be painting new cross walks at the intersection in the next few weeks. The crossing guard and school SRO will also be on hand for the first day of school that is Tuesday, September 4th.