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Changes coming to Union Road, 33 area in Cheektowaga after deadly incident

Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 19:50:10-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The intersection near Union Road and the NY-33 in Cheektowaga is busy and a recent traffic study show collision rates in the area are higher than the state average.

In July 2018, 16-year-old Sherilann Lorenz was struck by a car while riding her bike to work while crossing Union Road and died as a result of her injuries.

That tragic incident has prompted local lawmakers to call for a traffic study to be completed. The study found the area is in need of serious changes.

The Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council determined the following changes need to be made:

  • Replace signal(s) at the NY 33 ramp(s) to accommodate back plates, overhead signage, and APS
  • Construct pedestrian facilities in accordance with Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
  • Close Airport Plaza driveway (approximately 100 feet north of another Plaza entrance/exit)

“We live in an age where more and more individuals, including teenagers, are getting around by alternative means of transportation,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chair Tim Kennedy. “Our infrastructure needs to reflect that, and I am pleased that the GBNRTC is giving this project the attention it both needs and deserves. One death at an intersection is one too many, and I hope that Sherilann Lorenz’s family can take some small comfort in knowing that her tragic death is leading to action to protect others.”

“The tragic accident that resulted in the loss of Sherilann Lorenz left our community heartbroken,” said Assemblymember Monica Wallace. “I am pleased that our request for a study was completed swiftly, and that the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council has proposed improvements which will prioritize the safety of pedestrians and motorists. I encourage members of our community to now make their voices heard by participating in the public comment period.”

"This is a positive step forward in making this stretch of Union Road safer for pedestrians and drivers," said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. "It is tragic that it took the loss of a young, vibrant student in our community to lead the way for these changes, but I thank Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Wallace for their strong advocacy on this issue and preventing future harm to others. I encourage all residents to voice their opinion during this public comment period and have a say in making this section safer."

The safety improvements are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.

The GBNRTC wants to hear public input on the project through May 7.