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DOT hosting meeting to discuss roundabout and lowering hill at Suicide Corners

By Howard B. Owens

Press Release:

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) officials will host a public hearing Thursday to detail proposed safety improvements at the intersection of Route 20 and East Road in the town of Bethany, Genesee County. NYSDOT will present the preferred alternative for the project, which includes construction of a modern roundabout and lowering the hill.

The public hearing will convene at 6:30 p.m. at the Bethany Community Center, located at 10510 Bethany Center Road. A short project overview including engineering, traffic and environmental, and right-of-way aspects of the project will be presented. Verbal comments will be recorded and written comments will be received.  Comments received by September 23 will be made part of the official project record and evaluated prior to finalizing the design alternative.

Highlights of the project design proposed under this alternative include lowering the profile of the hill on Route 20 just west of the intersection as well as building a modern roundabout to replace the existing dual stop signs and flashing red light. A roundabout will require vehicles approaching the intersection from both roads to decrease travel speeds. More information about the safety benefits of roundabouts can be found online at

Accident statistics since 1998 show 36 total collisions including three fatal crashes. The accident pattern shows right angle and sight-distance related collisions, mainly from vehicles entering the intersection from East Road and often times failing to yield. The purpose of the project is to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes at this intersection.

The Draft Design Report is now available for public review. It is a comprehensive document that presents details of the preferred design alternative along with all the required supporting engineering evaluations and environmental studies.  A copy is available for viewing at the Bethany Town Hall or at the DOT Regional Office, located at 1530 Jefferson Road in Henrietta.  Portions of the report are also available on the project Web site at  .

Construction for this $2.5 million project is scheduled for the summer of 2015.  Under this proposal, traffic would be maintained on Route 20 with construction of a temporary by-pass road. East Road traffic would be detoured.

The location for the meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. If anyone requires special accommodations to participate in this meeting, please contact Eric Thompson at 585-272-349.

Jeff Allen

Roundabouts simply do not work well in the United States (particularly New York) because their success depends on all parties yielding accordingly, being patient, and not taking a "me first" attitude into the equation. Driving around here these days is a crap shoot since most drivers take an "every man for himself" approach to traffic.

Sep 9, 2013, 1:52pm Permalink
Doug Yeomans

The part about traffic from East Rd failing to yield is the biggest problem. I live right down the road from this intersection and every accident I've seen the aftermath of has been caused by a driver failing to stop at all for the red lights. I should attend the meeting and ask why rumble strips aren't being considered.

North and south lanes on East Rd have long approaches to the red lights and people have short attention spans. People see the light a full 30 seconds to a minute before they get to the light and the even tempo of the flashing red light gets ignored by the brain. If rumble strips were cut into the road in each direction, attention would be refocused to the intersection by north and southbound drivers.

Sep 9, 2013, 2:23pm Permalink
Aaron Henning

I like Doug's idea much more than a roundabout. I was a member of Bethany F.D for many years and saw several accidents. I believe accidents were caused much more by human error than steepness of hill grade.

Sep 9, 2013, 3:04pm Permalink
Doug Yeomans

Aaron, I have a small portfolio of accidents I've taken pictures of at that intersection. Tom and Debbie Douglas had a southbound vehicle end up in their living room when it crossed into the northbound lane and launched across their lawn. If traffic stops for the light and looks east, they can easily see for a mile. Clear that lane for oncoming traffic, then look west towards the hill and cross. It has worked 10 years for me.

Sep 9, 2013, 4:01pm Permalink
Aaron Henning

Doug, Its a mental portfolio for me. I remember one bad accident there where I was medic on the ambulance. I was very glad Tom was home and a paramedic..

Sep 9, 2013, 4:24pm Permalink
Bob Price

A roundabout????? Really???? Give me a break. Cut the hill down,rumble strips on East Rd. like Doug mentioned,and make it a 4-way stop. That way the homeowners don't have to give up their home on southeast corner,and I'm sure it would be more cost effective. They made 262 and Byron Rd. a 4 way stop over 4 yrs. ago after a tragic accident- also-if they do happen to make a roundabout-hope they make it bigger than one in Batavia(make it easier for the trucks on 20). I'm seeing more accidents at the Ledge Rd./Rt.77 intersection than at East Rd.-state should make that intersection a priority also-sucks heading north on 77 w/loaded semi then someone decides to turn left at last second to go to the Reservation,or someone from Ledge Rd. turns onto 77 in front of you.....

Sep 9, 2013, 9:10pm Permalink
John Woodworth JR

So true, roundabouts are just another disaster because, young, veteran and elder drivers are not accustom to them and as Jeff puts it, "Me first attitudes.” People are distracted with cell phones, IPods, texting, etc…. So, we give them a roundabout to make their minds go around in circles?

Massachusetts has roundabouts yet, they drive aggressively and you can see out of state drivers confused by such. While station in England, I was forced to learn and to adapt to roundabouts. I like roundabouts better than traffic lights and when used properly allows traffic to flow nicely.

Batavia could use roundabouts at major intersections such as Routes 33 & 5; Routes 63 & 5 and Routes 98 & 5. Not to mention take away some of the traffic lights away at intersections such as Ross and Main; Vine and Main; Center Street and Main; can’t think of the street name but, the one adjacent to A-plus gas station, etc….. Heck if, Batavia could incorporate one way streets and roundabouts they could create a more relaxed and steady traffic flow. Unfortunately that will never happen. You have drivers that, can’t understand how to navigate a four way stop intersection.

Sep 9, 2013, 10:33pm Permalink
Frank Soltiz

The injuries and loss of life at this intersection is heartbreaking. Sadly, many of the incidents have been due to operator error. There is a tendency to label an intersection as "dangerous" when there are a lot of accidents there. A lot of the accidents have been due to drivers going through the stop sign, and unfortunately, you can't do anything about that. In my opinion, there is very little inherently dangerous about the intersection. Rumble strips on the crossroad would be good. Re- grading the hill to the west might help. This is not the place at all for a traffic circle. Route 20 is a through route with a lot of truck traffic. The speed limit for at least a mile on either side of the traffic circle would have to be significantly reduced. You would have snow removal problems. not to be insensitive, but it would be extremely expensive. I propose they try the rumble strips first and continue to monitor the intersection. If the accident rate is still too high, re-grade the hill to the west. That would pretty much have to work. I guess the next step would be a traffic light.

Sep 10, 2013, 12:42pm Permalink

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