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Ogdensburg City Council approves new traffic patterns downtown

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Ogdensburg City Council unanimously supported a resolution Monday in favor of changes to traffic patterns downtown that would make the city more pedestrian friendly.

Both the Washington and State streets intersection and the Ford and State streets intersection will be fitted with no-turn-on-red signs and a pedestrian phase where all traffic will be stopped.

The work will be completed and funded by the state Department of Transportation.

Mayor William D. Nelson said the state was waiting for approval from the city before moving ahead with the project.

During a public hearing held Monday in advance of the regular City Council Meeting, members of the public spoke in favor of the changes.

Wilma Nelson, a resident of Riverview Towers, said she’s seen people nearly get run over at the Washington and State streets intersection several times.

“This is what we have on a daily basis,” she said. “These people do not care.”

Washington Street resident Sandy Sanders said, “We feel that that light needs to be changed one way or another.”

Mrs. Sanders noted that with the arrival of warm weather there are now more kids outside – and some new drivers behind the wheel.

“They just go around the corners like it’s nothing,” she said, advocating for the no-turn-on-red signs.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said, “The no-right-on-red will make the intersections a lot safer for people.”

Councilor Jennifer Stevenson made the motion to support the changes at the intersections and Councilor Wayne L. Ashley seconded it.

Councilor Michael D. Morley said the trick will be enforcing the new traffic laws.

During the meeting several other potential problem areas related to traffic patterns were discussed including a recommendation by Mrs. Stevenson to reduce the speed limit at the Downtown Arterial to 30 miles per hour. Currently the speed limit is set at 40 miles per hour.

“I think we really need to crack down on that [speed downtown],” she said, noting that she hears from constituents on a regular basis that drivers often fail to slow back down on Main Street.

Councilor Ashley also recommended removing a no-turn-on-red sign on the south side of the Spring Street and New York Avenue intersection.

Mr. Pinkerton said he will check on those ideas and others.

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