May 21, 2019

State to consider light for Homer Fire Station

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Traffic passes by the Homer Fire Station on Tuesday on South Main Street in Homer. The fire department has requested a traffic light be installed in front of the station and the state plans to study possible options.

The state will consider a feasibility study to determine ways to alleviate problems the Homer Fire Department has getting firefighters to the station and then out to calls.

“DOT (Department of Transportation) officials met with the Town of Homer on January 25, 2019, to discuss concerns the village has on Route 11 near the Homer Fire Department,” DOT spokesperson Curtis Jetter said. “As requested at the meeting, DOT will begin a traffic signal feasibility study in the near future.”

Homer Fire Chief Mahlon Irish Jr. said traffic has gotten busier near the fire station, located at 45 S. Main St., over the years.

“It’s been hard for our guys to get off Cayuga Street and to the fire station and then get the trucks out of the fire station,” Irish said.

The worst times are during heavy traffic hours — when people are going to and leaving from work or school. He noted that if he looks down Albany Street around those busy hours he can see a steady stream of traffic heading toward Main Street.

“It makes it a little more difficult at that time because they (firefighters) can’t get off Cayuga street and to the fire truck that is waiting,” Irish said.

He noted that firefighters’ personal vehicles have blue lights that let people know they are trying to respond to a call, but because it’s not an emergency light like on a fire truck or police car, people aren’t required to move over.

But it isn’t just getting people to the station either — it’s getting the trucks out of the station and heading toward a call.

“It’s just become quite a busy intersection,” Irish said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a huge delay but it can impact us.”

Irish said he’s heard of two possible options — a regular traffic light or a blinking yellow light near the fire station that could then be changed to red if the fire department needed to respond to a call.

It’s something similar to what was installed in front of the Cortlandville fire station on Route 13 in 2001.

“It’s been a huge asset to us for sure,” said Kevin Whitney, who was Cortlandville fire chief when the light was installed.

Whitney also noted that the fire department had buttons installed in the fire station and fire trucks to control the light.

However, Jetter would not comment on which option the DOT would be looking at doing, but that “all signalization options will be considered during the study.”

“Anything that can give us better access both ways would certainly help,” Irish said.

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