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Ryan favors permanent 30 mph limit for Scajaquada Expressway

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said at a ceremony Tuesday that the 30 mph speed limit on the Scajaquada Expressway should be permanent, perhaps putting him on a collision course with Mayor Byron W. Brown, who said last week that the speed limit might be raised to 40 mph on one part of the expressway.

Ryan also said more steps need to be taken to turn Route 198 into a parkway.

In addition to the lower speed limit, other measures are being taken to slow the traffic on the state road. Pedestrian crossings, narrower lanes, and permanent guide rails are among the changes that will be made to the Scajaquada later this month, following the death of a 3-year-old boy killed in May when a car went off the expressway, across the median and into Delaware Park.

“The interim steps will keep coming,” Ryan said Tuesday. “We don’t think we’ve solved it all right now. We need to redirect our attention to converting the expressway into a parkway or urban boulevard, and to develop long-term plans for that.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lowered the speed limit on the Scajaquada from 50 mph to 30 mph on May 31, and Ryan has previously said that change will become permanent.

Last week, Brown endorsed the idea of increasing the speed limit west of the park, from Elmwood Avenue to the I-190.

Ryan said Tuesday that raising the speed limit to 40 mph would save drivers just 30 seconds on their commute, citing research from the state Department of Transportation.

The projects starting later this month will be funded by the state, but Ryan said the total cost for the projects have not yet been calculated.

Three pedestrian crossings will be among the next measures taken this year, with construction beginning in August.

The signal-controlled pedestrian crossings will be installed at three locations: across Route 198, east of Delaware Avenue; across Delaware Avenue, south of the Route 198 overpass; and across Route 198, east of Elmwood Avenue, at the intersection of Iroquois Drive and Lincoln Parkway.

Other changes discussed Tuesday include permanent signs with flashing beacons to replace the temporary speed signs, restriping of the roads, and the creation of narrower lanes along the roadway. The restriping will begin as early as this month.

The temporary guide rails installed last month will be replaced by permanent rails.

Community meetings will be held across Buffalo to discuss and receive feedback regarding permanent plans for the road.

The changes, Ryan said, will help alert drivers that the roadway is intended for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.