SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – As Halloween yields to November, there’s still one more treat for Syracuse residents. A traffic light change to make winter commutes much safer.
This morning, the City of Syracuse Department of Public Works (DPW) changed the traffic signal at the intersection of S. Geddes and W. Onondaga Streets from a standard signal light to a yellow and red flashing light.
“We have an intersection at South Geddes and West Onondaga where drivers are coming down a pretty steep incline, or going up one,” said City of Syracuse Chief Operating Officer, Corey Driscoll Dunham. “So during these winter conditions, from a safety perspective, we change the traffic lights so that those on the side streets will have a red and those coming down the hill will have the right of way. So, we’re not expecting drivers to stop on that steep incline.”
The switch is a November tradition. For the fourth year now, the bi-annual changeover is is a regularly scheduled seasonal conversion to address the flow of traffic for vehicles traveling on the S. Geddes Street hill in wintry weather from November to the end of March.
“Given what a high traffic corridor Geddes is, it’s really important that people understand that starting November 1, there’s a change in your daily commute,” said Dunham.
Those coming down the hill will have the right of way, slowing as they approach the light. For those traveling on W. Onondaga Street, the light will be read requiring a complete stop.
“I think anybody who has driven in Syracuse, given our hilly conditions, understands that we try to do everything we can,” said Dunham. “You can’t prevent everything from happening, but there are measure we can take to try and encourage more safe driving.”
This light is not the only way to deal with winter conditions on the road. According to Dunham, lowering your speed is another great way to have safe travels.
“Obviously, taking it slow,” said Dunham. “When you are in these wintry conditions, it takes you longer for your car to stop because you might be hitting ice. You might be hitting slippery conditions, so taking your time and making sure you’re adhering to the speed limit.”
As of right now, there are no other lights in the city being changed in anticipation of the winter weather.