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Lancaster village residents want double yellow line restored on Lake Avenue

Many Lancaster village residents told the Village Board last week that they want the double yellow line on Lake Avenue returned to its original location eastward, so that vehicles on the heavily traveled street aren’t forced to cross over the line into oncoming traffic – as they have been doing since summer.

A packed public hearing at Village Hall drew a mix of suggestions, but it was dominated by a call to restripe the street as it had been marked for the last 30 to 40 years. Doing that would cost the village $1,800.

“We never had a problem before,” said Lake Avenue resident Joyce McIntyre, urging the village to move the striping back to its original location. “Right now, we get a little nervous.”

Resident George C. Besch said the striping worked best the way it used to be.

“It seems such an obvious no-brainer to make it right,” he said. “How much would $1,800 be? Fifty cents a house? I don’t want somebody hurt and killed.”

A total of 56 residents signed a petition submitted to the village, calling for the double yellow line to be returned to its original location.

The critics say the southbound lane has since been narrowed too much for travel while still needing to accommodate street parking allowed between Broadway and Franklin Street. As a result, many motorists have crossed the line in the face of oncoming traffic to get around parked cars.

The street contains a church, a dance studio and multiple homes.

“This is a safety matter. … How has this simple problem turned into a political issue?” said Lake Avenue resident Michael A. Cinquino, who supports relocating the striping to its original spot. “Why remove parking? This appears to be nothing more than bullying the residents of Lancaster to intimidate them. It was fine for 40 to 50 years. We have to do what’s right.”

Village leaders face four options: Return the striping to its original location for $1,800; remove the stripes for $900 and leave the road with blank pavement; leave the new striping in place; or ban all parking on Lake Avenue and Aurora Street, which is even narrower than Lake.

The village would have to pay for any changes because Erie County officials have said they won’t cover the cost, even though it was the county that did the striping work last summer after the village finished paving the street.

Village Attorney Arthur A. Herdzik said municipalities are given a fair amount of discretion about lane markings. However, Herdzik said, “it’s really not healthy to invite drivers to cross a double yellow line.”

Fire Chief Joseph M. Ligammare said it’s generally dangerous and difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate Lake Avenue. Ligammare noted that putting the striping back to its original place is not necessarily the most ideal fix, either.

He advocated removing the striping altogether. “If you remove the lines,” he said, “it would create caution on both sides of traffic.”

The board, which has not yet determined when it will make a decision on the issue, canceled its meeting tonight because the community is still dealing with the aftermath of the snowstorm.