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Proposed Tim Hortons raises safety concerns

The town is likely to get another Tim Hortons, but the location might produce more pedestrian danger along an already tricky road, a Planning Board member said last week.

The board received an application for a new location of the coffee-and-doughnut chain on a two-acre vacant lot on Robinson Road just west of Beattie Avenue.

That's near where two pedestrians were struck by a car and seriously injured Aug. 17, and a legally blind woman was killed by a snowplow Feb. 1 as she crossed the road.

In the wake of those accidents, questions have been raised about the adequacy of the street lighting on the road, which is part of Route 93. The town and the state Department of Transportation have each pointed the finger at the other.

The road has several apartment houses and entrances to two large mobile home parks, but there are no sidewalks.

However, the shoulders are seven to 10 feet, which is wider than normal, Councilman Mark C. Crocker pointed out after the August accident.

Reacting to the Tim Hortons application, Planning Board member Scott Carlson said, "I'm very concerned about walk-up [customers]. We have had fatalities on this road. There are no sidewalks. I don't think it's a good situation at all from a pedestrian safety aspect."

Daniel Blamowski of Parsons Brinckerhoff, the architectural firm that designed the proposed coffee shop, said it will conduct a traffic study before seeking approval from the Planning Board. The project will be back on the board's agenda Feb. 9.

The new Tim Hortons will cover 1,860 square feet and will feature 33 parking spaces and a drive-through lane with room to stack 21 cars before backing up into the parking lot.

In comparison, the Tim Hortons at South Transit and Strauss roads can stack only 14 cars in its drive-through lane.

Dave Beaton, who owns 16 Tim Hortons in Erie and Niagara counties, including both of the other Lockport locations, said he expects the new store to open in August. He said it will cost about $1.5 million.

In another project, the board set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 16 on a special-use permit for the new Scapelliti's Super Store at 7084 Chestnut Ridge Road.

The permit is needed for the drive-through lane proposed for the new 4,400-square-foot store, which is to be erected right behind the existing 3,200-square-foot store.

The new site will allow for more parking and less congestion around the gas pumps, which will not be moved, said Timothy Arlington of Apex Contracting, which designed the plan.

The current store, which was built as a service station, will be demolished after the new one is completed, Arlington said.

The project will require variances because of its proximity to the property lines of neighboring homes. The Zoning Board of Appeals has set a public hearing on those for 7 p.m. Jan. 25.

Construction will take three or four months, with the earliest possible start coming in March, said Timothy Mulvey of Mulvey Construction, the general contractor on the job.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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