New ‘lighted’ sign will restore right turn on red at Malone intersection

For the past two years a “right turn on red” (RTOR) from Elm St. onto E. Main St. in downtown Malone has been prohibited by the New York State Department of Transportation, mainly because of complaints of motorists not yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalks. Now, beginning in early May, motorists will again be able to make a RTOR at this intersection, thanks to a new lighted sign that will prohibit this movement only when pedestrians are crossing Main Street (in the westerly crosswalk) or Elm Street during the pedestrian crossing period.

This new sign is a lighted version of the standard “NO TURN ON RED” sign now in place at this intersection. When there are no pedestrians crossing Main Street (westerly crossing) or Elm Street, the sign will be blank -?you will not be able to see the words “NO TURN ON RED,” and thus this movement will be allowed as if there were no sign prohibiting it. However, when a pedestrian pushes the button to cross at these two crosswalks, the new sign will be illuminated with LED lights prohibiting the right on red movement for the duration of the pedestrian crossing period.

This new installation will be a “win-win” situation for everyone. Motorists wanting to turn right onto E. Main St. from Elm will not be held up when pedestrian phases are not active, and when a pedestrian is crossing, the potential for conflicts will be reduced because motorists will be prohibited from a RTOR.

Although the DOT was reluctant to go back to allowing RTOR, they agreed to the installation and maintenance of the new lighted “blankout” sign which the Village of Malone agreed to provide. Funding assistance for the $3,190 sign was provided by the Eastern Adirondack Health Care Network and the Healthy Heart Network through efforts by the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board.

Last fall, both the Traffic Safety Board and the Village Board requested that the DOT restore the RTOR at this intersection. Both boards pointed out the restriction on RTOR was unnecessarily delaying vehicles from turning onto E. Main St., contributing to aggressive driver behavior thereafter, and wasting fuel by vehicles waiting for a green light. The new sign is an excellent compromise for both drivers and pedestrians.

The Traffic Safety Board wants to remind drivers that at any intersection, whether there is a signal or not, drivers must be alert for pedestrians when proceeding, especially when making a right or left turn.

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