Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) visited the Ithaca Commons Monday to support the City’s efforts to improve road safety. He announced that $40 million in funding is available to improve highway safety, including projects on Ithaca roads, according to a press release.
Schumer held a news conference Monday afternoon outside the Simeon’s On the Commons restaurant, which is still under construction after a traffic accident, according to The Ithaca Journal.
On June 20, 2014, a tractor trailer crashed into the restaurant’s entrance at the intersection of Route 96 B and Route 79, killing Amanda Bush — a bartender at Simeon’s — and her unborn child, and injuring seven others. Investigators determined that the intersection had previously experienced close calls and accidents, according to the press release.
The incident initiated a traffic safety overhaul, according to The Journal. Since the collision, the city has made road safety changes that include better signage and brake test stops before trucks enter Ithaca.
Schumer previously called on the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a road safety audit near the Commons, according to the press release. With the audit complete, the city was able to implement these smaller, less costly safety improvements.
The City of Ithaca will also apply for funding to redesign traffic flow near and through the intersection, according to The Journal.
Schumer said Monday that although additional funding from the recently passed federal transportation bill will cover highway safety improvement funding for the entire state, cities will be able to prioritize specific projects. This will allow changes such as those on the Commons to be implemented sooner, according to the press release.