Aurora Street reopens to traffic four weeks after Simeon's disaster

July 17, 2014 by Rachel Cera

After nearly four weeks, the 100 block of North Aurora Street has reopened to traffic after being closed in the wake of the truck accident that damaged Simeon's on the Commons and took the life of bartender Amanda Bush. Both lanes have reopened to northbound traffic.

Aurora Street has reopened to one-way traffic. 14850 Photo.Aurora Street has reopened to one-way traffic. 14850 Photo.With the traffic signals facing East State Street down, the intersection is currently operating as an all-way stop, with temporary stop signs situated on the State Street and Aurora Street approaches.

A crew from New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) was at the intersection this morning working on the traffic signal equipment, which City of Ithaca engineer Tom West says was damaged in the crash. He says the signals facing East State Street traffic were destroyed, but were already slated to be replaced this summer as part of the City's "five signals" project. They are waiting for equipment that had already been ordered, and work on the new signals should begin "in the next few weeks."

Contractor crews work to enclose the exposed portions of the building that features Simeon's.Contractor crews work to enclose the exposed portions of the building that features Simeon's.Because the sidewalk on the west side is closed, City of Ithaca crews have set up temporary orange cones to mark off a pedestrian path around the fenced area next to the Griffin Block building that houses Simeon's. West says contractors working for the building's owners are working to enclose the exposed portions of the building, after which the chain link fencing will be removed.

"The road ahead of us is long. We will see the building restored," Mayor Svante Myrick said on his Facebook page this afternoon. "We will get the Commons construction back on track. We will continue to support the victims. And we will explore every option -- physical barriers, enforcement solutions, and legal restrictions -- to prevent something like this from happening again."

Mayor Myrick adds, "We also need to keep visiting our downtown businesses. The shopkeepers, servers, chefs, hosts and managers all need our continued support." He says downtown eateries have seen a dip in business this summer. Simeon's, the Cornell Barbershop, and Titus Gallery remain closed, but the other shops and restaurants on Aurora Street and the Commons have reopened.

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