October 17, 2021

Routes 90, 281 see more congestion, with more expected

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Traffic flows through the intersection of routes 90 and 281 in the village of Homer on Friday. Residents and village officials said turn lanes could potentially ease traffic congestion at the intersection.

Wynie Lottridge lives on Cayuga Street in the village of Homer, where from the second floor of her house she can see people coming and going from the Byrne Dairy at Cayuga Street and Route 281.

She chuckled Friday morning recalling the recent sight of a couple of cars skate past the traffic that usually jams routes 90 and 281 by turning into the Byrne Dairy parking lot off Route 281, going around the lot and exiting onto Cayuga Street.

It was the first time she had noticed anything like that since the Byrne Dairy opened Nov. 18.

But she wasn’t surprised by it, she said, noting people want to get through the intersection faster.

“Traffic seems to be backed up more,” she said. “It (Byrne Dairy) has increased traffic.”

The intersection had been a problematic issue for the village for years. Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said Tuesday during a trustee meeting he found it ironic that as he was emailing the state Department of Transportation on the intersection and other village issues a car accident occurred at the intersection.

The intersection of routes 90 and 281 saw an average of 11,548 vehicles a day before the new convenience store arrived, state DOT data show, down slightly from 11,636 in 2010. The nearby intersection of routes 41 and 281 sees 2,152 vehicles a day, down from 2,204 in 2011.

However, McCabe said that since Byrne Dairy has been open, traffic has been moving through the area better than he originally expected.

It’s not often, but every now and then a tractor-trailer turns onto Cayuga Street from Byrne Dairy looking to get back onto routes 90 or 281 and takes up both lanes of Cayuga Street until it can get through the intersection, Lottridge said.

Lottridge also said there have been times over the years when she’s had to sit through the light on Route 281 several times before being able to turn onto her street. She has learned to use smaller side streets.

Now, with the likelihood of a Dollar General going into the nearby Super Scoops site, she said she anticipates traffic will only get worse.

“That’s going to make it a bigger issue,” she said, noting traffic will be backed up for anyone heading north on Route 281 if someone is trying to make a left into the Dollar General.

Lottridge said that turn lanes would really help along Route 281.

“I just don’t know if that’s feasible,” she said.

Turn lanes is an idea McCabe has also been pushing for.

“At some point, I really want to see turn lanes there, it just makes sense,” he said at the meeting.

He also said he would also be OK with delayed green lights — which don’t immediately change when the crossing direction changes red — in part because there’s really no cost to having those.

McCabe said he would continue to email with the DOT on the intersection.