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On Monroe, courtesy backfires

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Data compiled recently by the Brighton Police Department reaffirmed a well-known problem: there are a lot of car crashes on Monroe Avenue between I-590 and Clover Street. In 2011, there were approximately 100 collisions along that section of Monroe.

Officials say the problem stems from the third eastbound lane, which starts at the I-590 interchange and continues until it becomes a right-turn lane onto Clover. The state plans to reconfigure that section of Monroe, but the work is a few years off. Monroe and Clover are state roads, so the state is responsible for their maintenance.

Many of the collisions are what Brighton Supervisor Bill Moehle calls "courtesy accidents." A westbound car enters the center turn lane so it can turn left into a driveway or parking lot. As that driver waits to turn, an eastbound car stops to let the driver through. But another car traveling down the far-right eastbound lane doesn't see the turning vehicle, and there's a crash.

"That's been the culprit of a lot of problems out there," says Lori Maher, a Rochester spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation.

Plans to rebuild the I-590 interchange so it's not just dumping traffic into that right-hand lane are in the design phase, Maher says. Monroe's far-right eastbound lane will be eliminated, she says, and there will be a much shorter right-turn lane onto Clover.

Bidding and construction work are scheduled for 2015, but town officials and State Senator Joe Robach want work to happen sooner, Moehle says.

Approximately 40,000 cars travel the stretch of Monroe Avenue between I-590 and Clover every day. And with the revitalization of Pittsford Plaza, including a planned October opening of Trader Joe's, there's a good chance that number will go up.

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