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Streetlights, traffic safety are discussed

A discussion about street lighting and traffic safety dominated Monday's meeting of the City Council.

Tom Meidenbauer, sales engineer for a Buffalo company that deals in residential, architectural and commercial lighting equipment, showed Council members samples of decorative, high-efficiency, low-glare streetlights that he said could improve nighttime driving conditions throughout the city and especially along heavily traveled Pine Avenue.

Council members asked for the demonstration because there have been a number of traffic accidents and pedestrian injuries in the business district, particularly in the area of 22nd and 23rd streets.

Meidenbauer said that the present streetlights leave some dark spots along the street and crosswalks but that they also produce high glare in some places that can distract or temporarily blind motorists and lead to accidents.

He suggested that the city try six of his company's lights at particularly troublesome locations to see whether they might be useful on a larger scale. His company, VBC Lighting of Kensington Avenue, deals in many styles of streetlights manufactured in Littlestown, Pa.

In addition to providing better illumination, Meidenbauer said, the lights are more efficient, using 150- instead of the present 175-watt bulbs.

After the demonstration, Mayor Paul A. Dyster said the city had no cost estimate and no timeline for the lighting.

Councilman Charles A. Walker broadened the discussion to include traffic signals. "We're talking about traffic safety here, not just about new streetlights," he said. Dyster said the issue of traffic signals was particularly nettlesome along Pine, where many of the cross streets do not go straight across Pine. Instead, they are somewhat offset, so that a pedestrian crossing at an intersection on one side of the street is crossing into the middle of a block on the opposite side.

If a signal were to be installed at each intersection, some would then be in the middle of the block for traffic moving in the opposite direction. Dyster suggested that such a system would be confusing and could lead to more accidents.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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