Another person has been struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross in a deadly stretch of Niagara Falls Boulevard (NYS Route 62) where six people have been killed within a five year period.
The victim is identified by Amherst Police as Karl Booker, 31, of Tonawanda, who was attempting to cross the boulevard mid-block near Creekside Drive around 6:25 a.m. Booker suffered non-life threatening injuries to his head and leg before being taken to ECMC.
"The real difference maker for him was the vehicle was traveling 20 mph at best," said Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa.
Kulpa believes it might be time to look at reducing the speed for the problem section of road which is approximately 2.4 miles long.
"The slower the vehicle, obviously, the higher the survival rate for the pedestrian," added Kulpa.
Currently, the speed limit for that portion of Niagara Falls Boulevard heading north from the I-290 is 45 mph (with a small 35 mph zone near St. Christopher's School).
"At the end of the day, it should probably be around 35 mph at its best. Thirty you could make an argument for," added Supervisor Kulpa.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), Amherst and the Town of Tonawanda are all looking at what can be done to make Niagara Falls Boulevard safer for pedestrians, vehicles, cyclists and busses.
Joseph Morrissey, Director of Communications for NYSDOT, issued the following in response to the accident:
"Today’s accident underscores why pedestrians should use crosswalks and signalized intersections for their own safety and the safety of others. We anticipate the corridor study will be completed sometime in late spring of 2019, with recommended engineering improvements and enforcement strategies to follow."
However, some lawmakers don't believe NYSDOT is moving fast enough to correct the problems on the state road.
NYS Assemblymember Robin Schimminger (D-Kenmore) released this statement:
“This morning, I was saddened to hear of yet another incident involving a pedestrian on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Luckily, while in the hospital, this individual is reported to have suffered non-life-threatening injuries, unlike several others in the past who were not so fortunate and lost their lives,” Schimminger said. “I have collaborated with the three other state legislators and local elected state officials, representing the Towns of Tonawanda and Amherst, in imploring the State Department of Transportation to expedite its response to this matter. However, we as state legislators do not have the authority to go out and paint stripes or put up signs on the road ourselves, and the like.” “It is up to this state agency, controlled by the Governor, to act on this matter. In the meantime, I urge all motorists and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution at all times when traveling on Niagara Falls Boulevard, particularly during this busy holiday season, and am praying for the speedy recovery of the victim of this morning’s accident.”
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached report.