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Positioning of double yellow lines on Lake Avenue causing some traffic problems, Lancaster trustee says

A chunk of Lancaster’s Lake Avenue got a little makeover last summer, with fresh paving and new yellow striping on the busy village street.

But the new positioning of the double yellow lines on Lake Avenue between Broadway and Franklin Street has spurred complaints – chiefly from Village Trustee Russell Sugg, who has been in contact with residents.

Other board members said they had not received one complaint and Monday’s meeting was the first they heard about the situation.

The double yellow line was relocated slightly, but moved over far enough to force motorists trying to go around parked cars on the west side of Lake to cross the double yellow line. Village officials say the striping work was done by Erie County.

The problems surfaced last week during a Village Board work session. Copies of photos were distributed showing cars going around parked cars – and crossing the double yellow lines – on the west side of Lake, where street parking is allowed.

A “No Parking” street sign was knocked down, a minivan lost a mirror and a disabled man had trouble leaving his car because of the striping changes, Sugg said.

“Put it back the way it was, with the stripes back where they had been,” Sugg said. “I want the double yellow lines to be removed or changed back. … How many accidents is it going to take?”

But the debate over striping called into question a larger issue that village officials now want to consider.

“There is a bigger problem here. There is a lot of traffic volume north to south, in our village,” said Trustee Dawn Robinson, noting that similar issues exist on Aurora Street, the other main northern street in the village. “So, we are looking at all of them now.”

Public Works Director William Cansdale agreed.

“One of the biggest problems with the growth of Lancaster is the lack of a major north-to-south traffic corridor, using village roads to move traffic north to south, and east to west,” he said.

“The village roads weren’t built to accommodate the kind of growth in the town.”

So far, the village, which did the paving work, is reluctant to reposition or repaint the yellow lines because of liability concerns, saying there are federal guidelines in place to address such issues.

Some village officials want an expert’s opinion and to touch base with county and federal officials on road and parking lane widths before anything is done.

Others want community input on the striping of the road, which remained the same width. A public hearing is now planned for 7:15 p.m. Nov. 15.

Deputy Mayor Kenneth O’Brien III said there have not been any accidents reported to the village since the re-striping was done.

Village Attorney Arthur A. Herdzik suggested an independent contractor be hired to evaluate all options to address the problem. Cansdale agreed, saying it would lend an unbiased, third-party opinion.