YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce has installed an LED message board at the four-way intersection of routes 202/118/35 and Commerce Street.
Proposed as a remedy to the intersection’s current “hodgepodge” of signage, the 30-inch by 9-foot sign will sit in between the sections of the brick wall in front of the Triangle Center.
The Chamber of Commerce has offered to take full ownership of the sign and to allow other organizations, including the town, to secure 30-second spots to flash messages. The chamber will cover the $12,800 cost of the sign, software, installation and maintenance.
The town board passed two resolutions 3 to 1 at the Feb. 14 work session to allow Supervisor Michael Grace to sign a license agreement with EK Triangle LLC for the sign’s installation, and to sign a maintenance agreement with the Chamber of Commerce for its upkeep.
Councilman Vishnu Patel voted against the sign’s maintenance and installation, saying he had not been provided enough technical information to make an informed decision regarding the sign’s safety. He said he is concerned the brightness of the light emitted by the sign, at the angle it sits, might distract drivers and cause accidents. He also expressed concerns about the refraction of the light in the fog. Councilman Gregory Bernard was absent from the meeting.
Other board members argued that the LED sign outside Yorktown High School hasn’t caused any accidents.
Sergio Esposito, vice president of the chamber, was at the work session to answer any questions regarding the sign’s more technical features.
Esposito said the manufacturer, LED Sign Supply, provides safety features and statistics. He said a representative informed him that no traffic incidents associated with any of their signs have been reported. He added that a study completed by traffic engineers on behalf of the company concluded that the signs are “safety neutral.”
“They are no more or less likely to cause any type of distraction than a banner that would be there,” Esposito said.
Additionally, he said, the sign’s default setting is 8,500 nits, units of visible-light intensity, which is 500 less than the standard requirement of most municipalities at 9,000. At night, he said it will be set to 750 nits, which is about half the intensity of a standard television set and much further away. He added that the sign’s distance from the street diffuses much of the light.
The sign is equipped with two sensors and connected to a computer that will automatically adjust the brightness to accommodate the surrounding weather conditions, he said, and features that automatically shut it off if it malfunctions.
Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli said that many traffic control devices use the same technology and he does not believe the sign would cause accidents. He said the LED message board could be a valuable tool used to alert residents of closed roads during weather events. He cited recent events where high winds caused several downed trees.
Previously, Eric DiBartolo explained that an additional benefit of the sign is its low energy usage. The sign would plug into the same grid that powers the street lights and running 24/7 would use just $17.42 of energy annually. The sign is also equipped with surveillance cameras, which are monitored by the Yorktown Police Department.
The existing signage at the intersection will be removed or relocated to reduce clutter, board members said. DiBartolo has said the chamber does not intend to disturb any of the other community organizations that use the patch of grass in front of the Triangle Center and that the device’s scheduling software enables users to carve out designated blocks of time that can conceptually be booked by anyone who asks the chamber.