State DOT plans to turn Rt. 198 into a boulevard

Posted at 11:21 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 06:41:14-05

It's our first look at designs that could reshape a busy Buffalo roadway. The Scajaquada Expressway, Rt. 198 will soon be no more. 

Wednesday, the New York State Department of Transportation unveiled plans to create an urban boulevard during a community meeting.

"Transportation isn't just about getting from one place to another," said Assemblyman Sean Ryan. "Transportation defines a community."

The state says the boulevard was designed with safety for drivers and pedestrians at the forefront, keeping a green design to work with the historic Olmsted neighborhood and Delaware Park.

The new design will include two-lane narrow roadways, modest signage, rumble stripes to reduce speed, stoplights and crosswalks. Speed will stay at 30mph for this new boulevard.

Some neighbors, like Larry Williams who live nearby on Humboldt Parkway say they're willing to work with the state on this new design, but they have some concerns. Williams says since speed has been reduced, he's seen an overwhelming amount of drivers flooding his neighborhood, and not obeying traffic laws. He's worried nothing will change now that the speed will permanently be 30mph.

"If you guys want to ever see anything, come in my neighborhood and watch from 3:30 to about 6:00 and you'll see something phenomenal," said Williams.

7 Eyewitness News hit the road to see if drivers were obeying the 30mph speed limit. We drove no more than 30mph, and saw several cars pass us. The state believes speed won't be an issue once the new design is rolled out, and people have a chance to get used to the new boulevard setting.

Immediately on the agenda, the State plans to narrow the roadways, put up more 30mph signs, and install rumble stripes to help reduce speed.

A construction contract is set to start in 2017.