The Examiner

P’ville Officials Ponder Eliminating Manville-Wheeler Traffic Light

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By James Anderson

The traffic signal at Manville Road and Wheeler Avenue (foreground) could be eliminated because it is too close to the light at Washington Avenue, confusing some drivers.

Pleasantville village officials may support removal of the traffic signal at Manville Road and Wheeler Avenue because having two lights in quick succession has been confusing to drivers and doesn’t comply with current traffic standards.

The Village Board met last Wednesday to discuss whether to back the plan, which would also eliminate the crosswalk across Manville Road from near the municipal parking lot to the pocket park, and to shift the crosswalk at the next light, from the corner of Washington Avenue at the Dunkin’ Donuts, to eliminate the longer, diagonal crosswalk for pedestrians.

Mayor Peter Scherer said for about the past 25 years there has been the double set of lights since Wheeler Avenue was converted to a one-way street.

“Ever since, folks have commented that they find them confusing because, in part, as you come in either direction on Manville, you can be in a situation where you see a green light and a red light in a relatively close order,” Scherer said.

The state Department of Transportation (DOT), which has jurisdiction over Manville Road, has determined that the current setup is “non-standard” and should be addressed, he said.

Village officials said the DOT is concerned about traffic flow in the area should the elimination of the traffic signal be made. Potential congestion at the Manville Road-Wheeler Avenue intersection caused by cars making a left-hand turn onto Wheeler is possible.

According to data from a two-day traffic study conducted by DOT, at peak times there are about 400 vehicles moving through the intersection per hour and 10 percent of them are making the left turn from Manville Road onto Wheeler Avenue.

Several options were discussed on how to avoid congestion, including extra signage or painting “don’t block the box” striping or white no-car zones onto the road. Trustee David Vinjamuri suggested making Wheeler Avenue pedestrian only.

The other possibility the village could consider is keep the back-to-back signals and have them rebuilt on a different system. However, Scherer said that would cost the village $300,000 to $400,000, since the state would not pay for that.

While only three members of the board attended the hastily called work session late last Wednesday afternoon, there appears to be majority support for elimination of the light at Wheeler Avenue. The work session was attended by Scherer, Vinjamuri and Joseph Stargiotti.

“I would say the three of us who were there were presumably of a mind that the removal of the light was a better option than spending a whole lot of money, which might in the end be an effort to maintain the status quo, especially given the status quo has been problematic,” Scherer said.

The mayor mentioned that the board is likely to make a final decision on the matter over the next couple of months. The issue needs to be settled before the village undertakes the $2.25 million Manville Road streetscape project. Construction is scheduled to begin sometime next spring, Scherer said.

The Manville Road streetscape will include the elimination of the slip lane from Memorial Plaza onto Manville Road; reconfiguration of the intersection at Memorial Plaza and Grant Street to allow for a right-hand turn lane onto Manville; and a pedestrian island on Manville Road to enhance pedestrian safety.

Pleasantville has received a $1.5 million federal grant that is being administered by the state to pay for the majority of the streetscape and is committed to contributing a mandatory $750,000 of its own money. Scherer said that estimates have indicated that the price tag should be close to the budgeted $2.25 million.

In the spring of 2021, village officials are planning to undertake the work associated with the civic space project, which would develop about a half-acre at the west end of Memorial Plaza that would include landscaping and benches.

Martin Wilbur contributed to this article.


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