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Syracuse planner calls for stop sign at site of fatal crash

A Syracuse city transportation planner is calling for a stop sign at the corner of Comstock Avenue and Acorn Path, not far from Syracuse University. An 18-year-old West Hill High School senior was killed at the intersection in an auto accident this March.

The student, who was driving home not long after midnight on March 2, had just turned from Acorn Path, a one-block street between Circle Road and Comstock Avenue, onto the 900 block of Comstock Avenue when an oncoming Centro bus struck her SUV.

The planner, who says he plans to discuss the situation with one of the city's contracted engineering firms, asserts that the intersection exceeds the federal standards for a stop sign. Those standards require three hundred vehicles to drive through the intersection every eight hours to qualify for a stop sign. According to New York state traffic data, and an average of 412 cars pass through the intersection in one hour.

The teen's father said that he also believes a stop sign is warranted since Acorn Path is just off on Comstock Avenue, where close to ten thousand vehicles travel each day. He said that drivers on Comstock may not even be aware of the small side street.

Local police have not determined if the accident was caused by the absence of a stop sign, and said they would not comment on the cause of the accident until they finish their investigation. According to the victim's father, the roads had not been plowed or salted that night.

An attorney for the victim's family has filed a notice of claim stating that a lawsuit may be filed against the city and the bus company. The notice blames the city for reckless design and lack of signage at the intersection, and the bus company for not properly maintaining or operating the bus.

The outcome of the investigation will probably determine whether the lawsuit will move forward. However, it is best in circumstances like these for victims' families to retain counsel to ensure that any parties at fault are held responsible. Also, as the victim's father said, they do not want anyone else to lose a loved one under the same circumstances.

Source:  The Post-Standard, "Acorn Path, where a teenager died in a crash, qualifies for a stop sign, Syracuse planner says" Sistina Giordano, Jun. 09, 2013

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