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Is the Cheektowaga chicken a distraction to drivers?

Some are worried he is taking eyes off the road
Posted at 6:40 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 07:50:35-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — There's a chicken near the corner of Union Road and the 33. It's Airport Plaza Jeweler's chicken, who waves to oncoming traffic from the sidewalk. But two people recently told the Cheektowaga Traffic Safety Commission they're concerned about the safety of the intersection because of past accidents and driver distraction caused by the chicken.

So which came first? The chicken? Or the traffic?

"Well the chicken concept developed about 20 years ago when I did a commercial for the kiosk," Donald Hoffman, the owner of Airport Plaza Jewelers.

He may no longer be on your TV, but you still can find the Airport Plaza Jeweler's chicken waving to passing cars. David Blakowski is no spring chicken. He's been waving to traffic for more than 7 years, working three days a week for four hours a day.

"I love being out here to cheer people up," said Blakowski.

But Blakowski's presence is ruffling some feathers.

"In all the years that we've had the chicken mobile... the chicken out there as a mascot... I've not had one person come into my store and say he's a distraction," said Hoffman, "He's on the side of the road where people are going away form the intersection so really not that big of deal."

A traffic study completed after a deadly accident last year showed the intersection has a higher collision rate than the state average, so the chicken stays clear of the corner. Hoffman said the chicken is there to stay until he is told otherwise.