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Town of Tonawanda plans to move forward with 'Complete Streets Project' after COVID hiatus

Town of Tonawanda intersection at Parker BLVD and Eggert Road
Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 18:48:37-04

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Town of Tonawanda plans to move forward with a debatable "Complete Streets Project".

The COVID-19 pandemic paused the project the last two years.

During that time, town officials re-designed it to include a third roundabout on Parker Boulevard, after public input addressed accessibility concerns that were missing in the original design.

Many in the community are not too fond of another roundabout, however, Town of Tonawanda supervisor, Joe Emminger, said the project is more than just adding another roundabout.

"We're doing a Complete Streets Project, so the roundabouts are just one element," Town of Tonawanda supervisor, Joe Emminger said.

Mini-roundabouts, bike lanes, and curb-extensions for ADA sidewalk ramps are part of the town's Complete Streets Project".

"Since 2017, when we talked about doing a Complete Streets Project, we got feedback from the public that they wanted us to consider putting a roundabout at the triangular intersection of Parker and Englewood," Emminger said.

RELATED STORY: Tonawanda releases results about Parker roundabout

Emminger said traffic lights in some parts of the town are out of date and need to be replaced with modern technology.

However, he explained this will not solve the town's traffic problems.

"Unfortunately, most people would agree with me on this, that people go through intersections. They race through intersections. When you have a park or a pool in that neighborhood, that is a recipe for disaster," Emminger said.

Buffalo resident, Timothy Vantassel, visits the town often. He said he is familiar with roundabouts in Rochester and said the addition of a mini-roundabout will make traffic smoother for residents.

Vantassel said, "I think it's at least worth trying at least one. If we have one setup, then we can test it and see if it reduces traffic or becomes a burden, then from there we can go on and progress."

Robert Mozer grew up in the town. As a resident, Mozer said the idea is great but will come with a learning curve, in which he hopes drivers can adjust to.

"In the Amherst area and in Cheektowaga, they're very efficient, as far as not having to wait at red lights when there aren't vehicles in the opposite direction," Mozer explained.

He anticipates the biggest obstacle for the town residents will be resistance to change.

"I believe that people who are in this area have been here for a while. They're used to the traffic pattern that has been that way since I grew up here, back in the 60s and 70s," Mozer said.

Emminger said, "Change is hard. I understand that. Five years ago, I was not a big proponent of this project.I had my doubts, but over the last five years I've looked into this extensively."

Town supervisor Joe Emminger said there will be a public meeting at the end of April. Community members will be able to address their questions and concerns during that time. The location has not yet been announced.