Officials consider traffic light for crash-prone Watertown intersection

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 8:28 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown officials are rethinking Public Square after another crash at a tricky intersection.

One solution could be a new stop light downtown.

The traffic light would go at the corner of Arcade and Arsenal streets, right by Public Square.

At Monday night’s Watertown city council meeting, Patricia Whalen told council members about the time she was hit by a vehicle making an illegal left-hand turn onto Arsenal Street -- and she wants a change.

“We need those lights,” Whalen said, “and other people, when they’re in the crosswalks, feel safer. It won’t cure everything, but it’ll be a big help, but we need those.”

Just last week, a woman illegally crossing Arsenal Street on Arcade Street t-boned a Watertown police vehicle, flipping it on its side.

Watertown city manager Ken Mix says many of the pedestrian and vehicular accidents on that corner are due to illegal turns.

“With no light, there’s only one legal turning movement and that’s a right-hand turn,” Mix said.

A traffic light would allow people to legally go straight towards Court Street or turn left onto Arsenal.

Mix says this could be an opportune time to think about a new light.

“Right now, we have a study that’s looking at the timing of the lights, so we’ve asked the consultants working on that to look at it.”

The city is also in the process of designing a streetscape project, which will include Court Street and a section of Arsenal Street.

Mix says that it might be difficult to put a light there because of how close it is to the light at the edge of Public Square and a new light could cost around $100,000.

But Mix says that if the traffic engineers say a light is warranted for that spot, they will install one.

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