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Schumer Points to Funding to Improve Ithaca Road Safety

Senator Charles Schumer visited the Ithaca Commons Monday afternoon, stopping at the site where a fatal accident occurred more than a year and a half ago. There he announced millions of dollars are coming to New York for safety upgrades to roads throughout the state.

In June of 2014 a tractor-trailer crashed into Simeon's Restaurant, at the intersection of East State and Aurora Streets. The crash killed a woman and injured seven other people.

It's a spot, Schumer says, that has had two other close calls involving trucks over the past six years.

Since the Simeon's accident, Ithaca has instituted a number of safety changes, including a Road Safety Audit.

Schumer said Monday that the recently passed Federal Transportation Bill includes $40 million in Highway Safety Improvement Program funding for New York State. He said millions in federal money would allow Ithaca to make more costly safety upgrades, including analyzing circulation and traffic patterns and increase the quality of pavement markings to prevent future accidents.

Ithaca's mayor says it's important residents, and visitors, feel safe in the area.

"In the course of 40 years, we've had two people lose their lives in runaway vehicle accidents. And it's too many," said Svante Myrick, Mayor of the City of Ithaca, "The truth about this intersection, more than most, is that it's at the geographic heart of the city and it's at the cultural heart of the city."

City officials say more signage and brake checks for trucks have already been added for safety measures.

They say further construction would cost in the low millions if they received the funding. Officials are looking into a roundabout to ease traffic flow with the opportunity to build a truck barrier in the center of it.