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Niagara Co. Legislator asks Gov. Hochul to assist in lowering speed limit on Shawnee Road

Driving a Car
Posted at 2:44 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 14:44:57-04

TOWN OF WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — Niagara County Legislator Jesse Gooch has sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul asking for her assistance in the effort to lower the speed limit on Shawnee Road in the Town of Wheatfield.

Gooch said residents have wanted the speed limit lowered for years but the state Department of Transportation has refused.

The legislator is requesting a uniform 40 MPH speed limit and citing the number of traffic incidents on the road as a main reason that there is need for change.

The letter to the governor said in part:

Shawnee Road (NYS Route 425) is a major north/south connector in Niagara County and is heavily traveled by commuters, school buses and commercial traffic each day. Yet Shawnee also has a large number of residential homes right on it, as well as numerous neighborhoods and subdivisions that funnel into it. The communities that rely on Shawnee also happen to be some of the fastest growing areas in Niagara County, according to recent census data.

I give this background information to make the case for lowering the speed limit on Shawnee Road, something local residents have been seeking for years. As the attached report shows, there have been an incredible 183 traffic accidents on this stretch of road between 2017 and 2019. The state Department of Transportation has done some traffic studies and thus far has refused to act. While I appreciate that DOT must have some metrics that it relies upon to make such decisions, the old-fashioned “eye test” clearly shows that something needs to be done. Consider:
  • During high traffic times, it is nearly impossible to turn onto Shawnee from the adjoining neighborhoods given the volume and speed of traffic.
  • School buses make regular stops on Shawnee to pick up children and any local resident will tell you how often school buses with their lights on are passed.
  • There is little to no shoulder to the road, putting pedestrians in a dangerous position, especially given the speed of traffic. Indeed, there have been fatal accidents on Shawnee.
  • There are multiple speed zone changes on Shawnee from Lockport Road to Niagara Falls Boulevard, creating confusion and inconsistency
- Legislator Gooch