A proposal by the New York state Division of Transportation to widen a portion of Route 60 within the north county is simply the most recent try and make some of the traveled roads in Chautauqua County safer.
Efforts come as Route 60 has averaged about 355 automobile crashes a yr for the final 4 years, although numbers trended downward the final two. Of these crashes, from Jan. 1, 2018, to Aug. 31, 2021, greater than 390 have resulted in reported accidents.
A more in-depth take a look at the information — in an evaluation by The Publish-Journal and OBSERVER newspapers and with the help of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Workplace and New York State Sheriff’s Affiliation — reveals a number of attention-grabbing info concerning the mishaps alongside Route 60, a north-south operating state highway that connects the county’s two lone cities. Amongst them:
¯ Practically 50% of the crashes on Route 60 from 2018 to 2021 occurred throughout “rush hours,” particularly 1 to three p.m. and 4 to six p.m. From 6 to 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to midday additionally noticed greater crash charges.
¯ Extra crashes have been reported throughout the weekday, with 34% occurring Thursdays and Fridays.
¯ The most typical contributing elements are animal’s actions (12%), driver inattention (11%), and following too intently (11%). Different elements cited embrace failure to yield the appropriate of approach, unsafe pace, unsafe lane change, improper flip and slippery pavement.
¯ Crashes are likely to cluster close to the county’s two cities and alongside the intersections of main roads.
“The overwhelming majority of the crashes look like occurring throughout rush hour on weekdays,” stated Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone, who helped present the almost 4 years price of statistics with the help of Heather Ipsen, a crash analyst liaison with the state Sheriff’s Affiliation. “Whereas this isn’t shocking it ought to function a discover for these working on Route 60 to train extra care throughout these hours. Motorist ought to permit for elevated journey occasions thus eradicating the necessity to rush.”
Current plans have referred to as for the development of a two-way middle left-turn lane on Route 60, from Route 83 to Route 20 within the city of Pomfret, together with the re-establishment of roadside ditches and drainage pipes. The undertaking was mentioned throughout an informational session hosted by the state Division of Transportation at Fredonia Village Corridor in January.
“The undertaking goals to enhance freeway operation and improve security alongside Route 60 and scale back the variety of crashes by widening the highway to accommodate a middle, two-way left-turn lane,” the state DOT stated in a two-page brochure handed out throughout the January informational session. “The brand new lane will present protected refuge for left-turning automobiles and supply a buffer between opposing journey lanes.”
Design approval for the widening undertaking was anticipated this month, with development tentatively slated to start in September 2022 and completion by December 2023.
“I do imagine that the addition of passing lanes … might help in decreasing the variety of crashes that do happen,” Quattrone stated. “It’s nonetheless vital that motorists correctly make the most of the brand new lanes and keep conscious of different automobiles.”
As a part of the undertaking, the state analyzed current crash knowledge on Route 60, between routes 20 and 83, the place the proposed turning lane shall be. Susan Surdej with the state Division of Transportation stated crash charges on linear sections of Route 60 — the place there aren’t any intersections with main roads — had been beneath the statewide common whereas charges at intersections had been above the statewide common for “related amenities.”
“That’s the reason developing the proposed steady, two-way left flip lane ought to tremendously scale back the accidents at intersections, as turning visitors can be faraway from by way of journey lanes,” Surdej stated.
Information from the 4 years studied actually backs that up. Probably the most crashes, 389, had been reported on Route 60 from January 2018 to August 2021 within the metropolis of Jamestown whereas 190 had been reported in Dunkirk and 62 simply south of Fredonia. From there, essentially the most occurred at main intersections: 41 crashes on Route 60 at Sinclair Drive in Sinclairville; 40 at Route 60 and the interchange with Interstate 86 simply north of Jamestown; 32 at Route 60 and Route 380 in Kimball Stand; and 31 at Route 60 at Bard Highway in Cassadaga.
As a part of a $4 million undertaking accomplished not too long ago, two half-mile passing lanes had been added on Route 60 within the cities of Gerry and Charlotte.
“I feel it’s been wanted,” Rick Heath, Gerry city supervisor, stated in a September 2019 interview when the passing lanes had been in improvement. “It wasn’t too way back that the pace restrict was decreased from 55 mph to 45 mph in a spot north of Gerry. That appears to be serving to with visitors coming into Gerry. … I do suppose that passing lanes are undoubtedly going to assist.”
Data supplied by Ipsen reveals that crashes have dipped the final two years, which can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and lots of would-be drivers working remotely. There have been 394 complete reported automobile crashes in 2018; 404 in 2019; 300 in 2020; and 216 by way of Aug. 31, 2021, with a tempo of 324 for the complete yr. Two of the crashes, one in 2018 and 2020, resulted in fatality.
Quattrone stated Route 60 has been a spotlight space for legislation enforcement due to its excessive automobile accident price. He stated driver inattention performs a big position for a lot of of these crashes.
“Plainly too many drivers are impatient and are usually not listening to their environment,” he stated.
What can drivers do to make themselves safer? “Working towards protected driving ways resembling sustaining correct pace, sustaining correct distance between automobiles and eradicating distractions from the driving force will help tremendously in decreasing the variety of crashes,” the sheriff stated.
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