Hamburg residents air concerns about roundabout after fatal accident - The Buffalo News

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Hamburg residents air concerns about roundabout after fatal accident

Some residents who live near the Hamburg roundabout where a fatal accident occurred Sunday say they have long been concerned about speed and motorists failing to yield to other drivers before entering the traffic circle.

“They just keep coming and coming,” said resident Lynn Krol of the passing cars. “I really feel kind of discouraged. They go too fast.”

Krol, who lives a couple of houses away from the roundabout, said she has observed motorists driving up to 50 mph before approaching the roundabout.

“They’ll just keep going and going. It’s unbelievable,” she said.

The accident Sunday occurred at the intersection of Big Tree Road and South Park Avenue around 2 a.m., when a 42-year-old man from Blasdell identified as Daniel D. Salerno was ejected from a motorcycle.

He was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he later died, according to a news release from the Town of Hamburg Police. Details on how the accident occurred were not released and authorities continued to investigate. However, it appeared that no other vehicles were involved.

On Sunday afternoon, mourners huddled around a wooden cross that was set up in the middle of the roundabout.

Sunday’s accident was the second fatality that has occurred at the roundabout, which finished construction in 2011. The first occurred in October of that year, when the driver of a vehicle was killed after crashing into boulders located in the center of the roundabout.

Authorities said roundabouts require something to interrupt motorists’ field of vision, to establish that the road does not continue straight ahead.

After that accident, officials replaced the slabs with look-alike fiberglass boulders that buckle when struck.

But residents have other concerns.

One woman who lives about 150 feet from the roundabout said she drives two miles in the opposite direction toward Lake Shore Road, then loops around in order to bypass the circling cars, then she finds her way back on South Park Avenue.

“I will not drive through it. I’m afraid of it,” she said, but she asked not to be identified. “All you hear is people blowing their horns, yelling and swearing.”

Crosswalks are painted at every entry and exit way. Signs indicating the speed limit is 15 mph in the roundabout are posted on the roads leading up to it, as are yield signs.

But the traffic signs apparently mean little to some drivers. Another resident, who lives about two blocks from the intersection and passes through the roundabout several times a day, said she’s counted as many as six cars passing before she’s able to enter the intersection from Big Tree because motorists don’t adhere to the yield signs.

Motorists driving through the area from Hamburg are generally conscientious, but cars coming up on South Park from Buffalo tend to speed, she said.

“They just keep going,” the resident said. “It’s bad.”

Another resident, who lives just off where the accident occurred, said she felt safer before the roundabout was built. A traffic signal had been there.

“It’s too busy a road to put a roundabout,” she said, adding that honking can be heard from her home throughout the day.

The concern was not universal among residents, as some, including Jane Cassavino, commented that they feel safe entering but stressed that they are cautious when navigating the circle.

The accidents there are “just a shame,” Cassavino said.


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