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People weigh in on proposed Monroe Ave. improvements in Brighton

Brighton, N.Y.-- On Wednesday night, people gathered to hear the New York State Department of Transportation officially unveil the plans to improve Monroe Avenue between Westfall Road and Clover Street. 

According to the DOT, 32,000 cars travel through this stretch of road each day and it has also been a trouble spot for years.

The accident rate here is eight times the statewide average.

There are four main changes the DOT wants to make.

First, the right hand lane headed westbound on Monroe Avenue will be made into a right turn only lane for cars trying to get onto the 590 northbound lane.

Also, Monroe Avenue heading eastbound between 590 and Clover Street will be reduced down to three lanes from two. Currently, the entire length of the lane is a "right turn only" lane. Under the new plan, a small portion of it will become a right turn lane at Clover.

Other changes including making a T-intersection with traffic lights at Monroe Avenue and the 590 southbound on and off ramps.

Also, a new light will be created between 590 and Westfall headed westbound. At that light, cars will be able to make left turns onto the 590 southbound on-ramp.

The DOT says the project will cost about $1.5 million and is paid for by the federal government.

The changes do not address capacity issues-- just the flow of traffic.

"We got a lot of cars [in this area]," DOT spokesperson Lori Maher explained. "We're still going to have a lot of cars here and we don't want the cars to leave, but we want them to travel safely to their destination." 

About two to three dozen people were at Brighton Town Hall Wednesday night to hear more details about the plan. 

Many offered criticisms and their own idea for solutions to the traffic problem in this area.

Robert Metzjer has been a resident of Brighton since the 1960's. He said he has to drive on Monroe Avenue near Westfall and Clover nearly every day.

He says he doesn't think eliminating a lane on Monroe Avenue would help the traffic situation.

"Closing a lane on Monroe Avenue would tie up traffic all the more," Metzjer said. "If you take one third of the lanes away, where is that traffic going to be? It's going to be backed up further and may be backed up to 590. 

Meanwhile, Frank Regan doesn't think it's such a bad idea to eliminate an eastbound lane on Monroe Avenue. That's because this would allow the DOT to create a bike path and sidewalks with the extra space.

Regan is an avid cyclist and he thinks more should be done to make this area bike and pedestrian-friendly.

"There is a crosswalk [near the 590 northbound ramp on Monroe Avenue] that's very dangerous in the north side of the road," Regan explained. "We want to see that evened out and made much more pedestrian friendly."

Other people also didn’t think it was necessary to created a left hand turn to get onto a 590 southbound ramp, since cars can already do that by driving through the Allen’s Creek ramp. 

The DOT said they would take the suggestions and comments into consideration. 

Construction is set to begin in 2014. 

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Washington Times