Lavonte Lee's seen his fair share of close calls on Niagara Falls Boulevard. “A lot of people that catch the bus over here try to catch the bus and it will be a green light. So, cars can come this way but they'll try to run across and you see a lot of problems with that,” he explained.
Why? Lee said it stems from long wait times at the cross walks. “This light is ridiculous, honestly. It's like you're waiting two minutes to cross the street.”
We wanted to see how long it would take if we tried to cross the Blvd. at Willow Ridge Dr., and after waiting 1:41 seconds, we were finally given the green light to cross.
The Boulevard is a state route that forms a line between the towns of Tonawanda and Amherst. Both towns are in the process of studying crossing signals among other things in the area. “It's the most heavily traveled corridor in our town and so it's always been identifying areas where we can improve pedestrian accessibility,” said Town of Tonawanda Community Development Director, Jim Hartz.
The study spans from Tonawanda Creek to Kenmore Avenue and isn't expected to be finished for several months. But once complete, town officials said it could lead to recommending between five and six additional cross walks and better signals to get walkers across safely. “There has been some new technology brought forth in the last few years like HAWK signals, rectangular flashing beacons, things like that,” Hartz said.
Neighbors like Lee said those would be a step in the right direction. “They need to change this. It's pretty bad.”
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