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Residents push for safety changes on Lake Avenue

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A fatal crash this weekend in Rochester has many questioning once again if the state or city needs to step it up when it comes to driver and pedestrian safety on Lake Avenue.

40-year-old Maurice Johnson was killed in a two-car crash. According to police, the two cars collided when one was turning left.  It happened at the intersection of Lake and Phelps Avenues. 

Many people who live in this area call Lake Avenue a "4 lane residential highway". And it's no stranger to traffic related deaths: with one this past Saturday, one in November and a number of others in 2017 and 2016. People in the area agree traffic traffic must be controlled. 

This is one of the most dangerous strips right here, Lake Avenue," said Bernard Pitts, who lives on Lake Avenue. 

Pitts walks up and down Lake Avenue every day. He says, he’s seen it all- including Saturday’s car accident where 40 year old Maurice Johnson lost his life. 

There’s a lot of accidents all the time. There’s not enough safety precautions set up for the community over here," said Pitts. 

Neighbors, like Pitts, say the problem isn't just speeding - it's the traffic. Rochester City Councilwoman Molly Clifford says the city started the "Lake Avenue Project" five years ago with a safety plan:

"To improve signage, improve the crosswalks, stand out more so pedestrians crossing the street have a safer place to do it," explained Clifford. "In this case, we had a driver who pulled in front of an oncoming vehicle so our efforts are only going to help so much in those kinds of circumstances."

Clifford says the city fixed a portion of Lake Avenue up in Charlotte - that being the most recent renovation. Clifford adds the section where Saturday's accident took place is handled by New York State and improvements won't be seen for while.

"There’s one that’s planned for 2021 which is really the section in question where this accident was and where accidents have been. We would really like the state to step in and step up their improvement efforts on that stretch as well," said Clifford. 

For Pitts, he says one fatal accident is too many. And 2021 is too long to “rev on the red line”.

They should have more restrictions on how people drive through here because it ain't enough," Pitts added.  

Clifford says speed bumps are not an option for Lake Avenue because it's too busy of a street. That means everyone just needs to be careful. 

News 8 reached out to the State Department of Transportation for comment and have yet to receive a response.

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