YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A full three-color traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Route 118 and Route 129.
State Sen. Terrence Murphy lobbied the New York State Department of Transportation to make the change after several of his constituents said that the intersection was a safety hazard. The residents especially complained about the poor sight lines. One resident wrote, “Sometimes you have to keep you head on a swivel to get through that area safely.”
At Murphy’s request, the state performed a signal study at the intersection and decided to replace the existing flashing yellow light with a full traffic signal. The state gave no timetable for the installation, citing “uncertainty” regarding the allocation of resources.
“This is another example of Yorktown’s local and state government officials working together to address concerns of our residents,” Murphy said in a press release. “This light will improve the safety of a dangerous intersection and will make it a friendlier section of the road for motorists.”
The intersection once had a full traffic light from 2010 to 2012 to control increased traffic while the AMVETS Bridge over the Croton Reservoir on the Taconic State Parkway was under construction. A traffic study was performed at that time but the state decided that a full traffic signal was not needed, Gina DiSarro, a public information officer for the Department of Transportation, previously told Yorktown News. In October 2016, the state installed new signs and add high-visibility post strips to better warn motorists about the intersection.
Councilman Tom Diana said, due to the poor sight lines, he was “surprised” there have not been more accidents at the intersection.
“I think the new traffic light will have a positive effect on reducing the number of fender-benders in the area,” Diana said.
Police Lt. Thomas Gentner previously told Yorktown News that during 2015 and 2016, there were seven accidents at the intersection, which, he said, is “not an inordinate number of accidents.”
Supervisor Michael Grace, however, said he has personally witnessed a lot of “near misses” at the intersection.
Deputy Supervisor Gregory Bernard, the town board’s liaison on the Traffic Safety Committee, said, “I can attest to the dangerous conditions surrounding this frequently traveled area of town.”
“It is always great to see government working in tandem to address a quality of life issue for our residents,” Bernard said.
Councilman Ed Lachterman praised Murphy for getting the state to act. He said the light will make the area safer for cyclists and motorists alike.
Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli said any state improvement to Yorktown roadways is a good thing.
“This light will not cost local taxpayers money and bring a needed safety enhancement to residents and visitors of our town,” Paganelli said.
Yorktown residents reacted positively to the news.
“It’s about time,” said Chris Dentato-Nastasi. “The light was there for the Taconic construction and they took it away; should have just left it there. Such a bad intersection.”
Shelly Meister-Abrams agreed: “There was one there a couple of years ago and I couldn’t understand why it was removed. It is a very dangerous intersection for someone making a left from 118 onto 129.
Carol DeVito said, “That’s a good idea because 129 has blind spot in both directions.”
Jennifer Zaslaw said she is “very happy. I fear for my life and my kids everyday taking that turn.”