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GORSKI ASKS FOR FOUR-WAY STOP SIGNS ON HIGHWAY

Erie County Executive Gorski on Monday asked the state Department of Transportation to permit multiway stop signs at the intersections of state Route 249 with Jennings and Ketchum roads in North Collins.

State regional traffic engineer James Barnack said Monday that the sites are under study for stop signs but that the state has not yet decided whether to install any.

"On most state highways, people are not expected to encounter stop signs," Barnack said. "Stop signs violate drivers' expectations."

Gorski wrote to the DOT, adding his weight to support the demands of four bereaved parents whose children died at Route 249 intersections. Last week, the parents asked the County Legislature to help them get four-way stops to slow down traffic on a four-mile-plus stretch of Route 249.

County Legislature Minority Leader Frederick Marshall, R-East Aurora, said 36 people died in the past decade on rural intersections in Eden and North Collins. Gorski's letter adds to the legislators' call for common-sense action.

Intersections of state and county roads may not meet strict state criteria for additional signs, but common sense calls for action now, he said.

"It is my understanding that since there are no stop signs, traffic signals or blinking lights on a long stretch of Route 249, the road has turned into a drag strip of sorts for some irresponsible drivers," he said. "As the father of five children myself, I cannot imagine any horror worse than a parent having to bury their child."

A county executive can impose safeguards on county roads, but the state controls intersections on New York's highways, Gorski said.

"Intersections with a state highway are under your control, and unfortunately not under mine," he said.

Barnack said the state DOT is reviewing use of Route 249, visibility at intersections and driving practices.

Gorski asked for action to prevent any more loss of life.

"The people of North Collins and Eden have had too much tragedy and shed too many tears because of accidents on Route 249," he said.

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