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Elma looks to slow speeders on ‘country road’ near school

At 1.7 miles, Woodard Road isn’t the longest road in Elma but its 45 mph speed limit and proximity to the Iroquois school campus on Girdle Road make it a favorite for lead-footed drivers.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are also fond of the narrow, two-lane road and the combination has some residents fearing that the thoroughfare is an accident waiting to happen.

Woodard Road runs from near the town highway garage on Bowen Road northeast to Girdle Road, ending near the school district’s bus garage.

“It’s a cut-through to get to school in the morning,” said Supervisor Dennis Powers, adding that speeding is a regular occurrence. “We’ve put the sheriff’s department on notice.”

A Woodard Road resident recently told the town council he believes reducing the speed limit to 35 mph will make the road safer.

The council seems to agree and has asked Erie County to conduct a speed study along the road.

Althougth Woodard is a town highway, any changes to its speed limit must be approved by the county, necessitating the study.

Powers said he’s noticed an increase in pedestrian traffic including parents with strollers and small children riding bicycles along Woodard and agrees that safety enhancements are needed.

Highway Superintendent Wayne Clark plans to resurface Woodard this summer, which Powers said could exacerbate the situation.

“It’s a little, two-lane country road with no shoulders and no markings,” Powers noted. “When it’s resurfaced it could become a race track.”

Powers said the resident noted that Chairfactory Road, which is to the north parallel to Woodard, has a 35 mph speed limit.

“He’s questioning how essentially the same road has a slower speed limit,” Powers said.

Clark said no date is set for resurfacing Woodard, although he’s eyeing July.

“I want to do it when school’s not in session,” Clark said. “It gets a lot of school traffic, especially the buses because there are no railroad crossings.”