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Extra signs planned to help downtown Canton traffic flow; improve safety

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CANTON — Prompted by complaints from drivers, state transportation officials have agreed to install more signs at a few problematic downtown intersections.

Several motorists have complained to village officials that longtime traffic flow problems on Main Street were not improved by the first phase of the reconstruction project that wrapped up in December. The next phase is expected to begin soon, depending on the weather.

Some residents have complained that a lack of signs and inadequate street markings have confused drivers and created hazards.

Michael J. Graham, regional engineer at the Watertown office of the state Department of Transportation, told village trustees Monday evening that when the weather improves, traffic signs will be installed to help clarify which lanes on Main Street drivers should use to turn or go straight.

The Miner Street intersection causes trouble for drivers at busy times of the day.

“In a perfect world, this intersection is not what we’d like to see,” Mr. Graham said.

Others have complained about the Riverside Drive intersection and the confusion created when cars pull out of Family Dollar store.

Mr. Graham displayed samples of signs that will be installed when the general contractor, Luck Bros. Inc., Plattsburgh, returns to start the second phase of the $9.9 million reconstruction project. Additional lane markings will also be painted, he said.

Among other things, the signs will instruct drivers when those in the left lane are required to turn left and when being in the right lane requires a right-hand turn.

“I think this will help alleviate the problem,” Mr. Graham said.

In related news, Village Superintendent Brien E. Hallahan said the DOT has agreed to reimburse businessman John J. Gray Jr. the roughly $6,000 he spent to install a sump pump at Rushton Place, the office building he owns at 1 Main St.

It was determined that the DOT Main Street project resulted in leakage in some Main Street basements.

“That is being taken care of. He won’t get it overnight, but he will get reimbursed,” Mr. Hallahan said.

In other news, the village board agreed to support a local law that would allow the village to exceed the state’s 2 percent property tax levy cap.

Village Attorney Gerald J. Ducharme explained that passing the law won’t mean the village will exceed the tax cap, but it provides board members the authority to do so if they wish. In order to exceed the cap, 60 percent of trustees must vote in favor.

Several other communities have passed similar resolutions including the villages of Potsdam and Massena.

The board accepted two resignations: Sylvia M. Kingston from her trustee seat on the village board and Michael E. Dalton from the village Planning Board. Trustees have not yet appointed a new board member to replace Ms. Kingston.

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