"There are two reasons for wanting to do that," Hartill said. "One is that our business population is increasing. So there is going to be increasing traffic there. The other thing that it does is slow traffic down. People come breezing in at significantly over 30 miles per hour. So it has a number of different functions."
Hartill says that a negative effect may be more traffic diverting through residential areas to avoid the light. But he noted that most traffic in the Village is going to businesses, which are most directly accessed from the north by Triphammer Road.
Studies show that pedestrians hit by cars at 20 miles per hour have a 90% chance of survival, while those hit at 40 miles per hour only have a 10% chance. Slowing traffic in the main business district has been an ongoing concern of Village Trustees. In 2009 the Village successfully petitioned the DOT to lower the speed limit on Eastshore Drive (Route 34) at Esty Hill to address safety and noise concerns.
In 2006 they installed a radar sign in the southbound lane just after the point where the speed limit changes to 30 miles per hour, which they say has helped slow traffic on Triphammer road. That sign has recording capabilities, and data from it, as well as from traffic studies conducted as part of the Triphammer Road Reconstruction Project that was completed earlier that year.
Hartill says a light will also benefit drivers turning onto the road from businesses located on Triphammer.
"A traffic light at that location would do is chop the traffic periodically," he says. "Coming from the north there is nothing that regularizes it. Coming out of the Village Office driveway particularly is a challenge."
The DOT lists a number of questions that must be answered before new traffic lights are approved:
- Does the accident history of the area indicate that a traffic signal will reduce the probability of collisions?
- Is the traffic on the main street so heavy that drivers on the side street try to cross when it is unsafe?
- Is there a significant number of school children crossing at the specific location to justify special control for their safety, and, if so, is a traffic signal the right choice?
- Does the number of pedestrians at the specific intersection create confusion, congestion or hazardous conditions?
- Are there so many cars on each street that a signal is needed to clear up confusion or relieve congestion?
- Would a traffic signal help drivers maintain a uniform pace along the route without having to stop unnecessarily?
- Is there a combination of any of the above criteria which indicates that a signal would be an improvement?