Stop right there: Beacon aims to preserve 'dummy light' despite recent crashes

The "dummy light" is located at Main and East Main and has been there in some form since 1926. It's one of two left in New York state.

News 12 Staff

Sep 2, 2022, 9:27 PM

Updated 625 days ago

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Everyone in the city of Beacon has something to say about a certain old-style traffic light that some unaware drivers have been crashing into recently.
The "dummy light" is located at Main and East Main and has been there in some form since 1926.  It's one of two left in New York state.
It's called a "dummy light" because a traffic officer would stand on the platform directing traffic, but then - for safety reasons - the light would replace the officer.
Some recent accidents sparked conversations on social media about the light, and residents say it has to be kept.
A city work truck backed into it and knocked it over earlier this summer. The light was repaired, but then someone hit it with their car again on Tuesday.
Other cities have gotten rid of their dummy lights to avoid these kinds of crashes, but the people of Beacon say they want to keep it.
"I think it's important for our city to have an iconic image that they can feel a part of ... You know, it's so rare. Where else do you find one? So, your city embraces it, and I think that's an important part of it," says Diane Lapis, president of the Beacon Historical Society.
The city administrator says it's often a visitor or a newer resident who hits the light.
Marylin Ricottilli says the light is not the problem.
"They need to leave it. That's Beacon right there. It shouldn't be called a dummy light. It should be dummy people," she says.
To make sure everyone sees the dummy light, city officials plan to put some signage and reflective markings on it.
Because of the overwhelming support for the dummy light, city leaders say it will remain in place.


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