The towns of Tonawanda and Amherst are in the early stages of improving lighting along a stretch of Niagara Falls Boulevard where five pedestrians have been killed by cars in nearly four years. But Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger is asking the state Department of Transportation to do more.
He wants the DOT to make Niagara Falls Boulevard a priority in the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and implement measures to improve pedestrian safety to the greatest extent possible.
Emminger is also pushing for sidewalks on the west side of the boulevard between Sheridan Drive and Green Acres Road to accommodate a planned light rail extension up the boulevard from the University at Buffalo's South Campus.
Emminger made the recommendations in a March 15 letter to Hal Morse, executive director of the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council.
Five pedestrians have been killed by cars since June 2013 and a woman was injured while crossing in mid-February. Adding streetlights is seen as a way to improve traffic safety during non-daylight hours, when most of the pedestrians killed have been struck while crossing the five-lane road.
The state DOT recently completed a safety evaluation for Niagara Falls Boulevard between Ridge Lea Road and Tonawanda Creek Road in response to the frequency of pedestrian accidents in recent years.
"The recommendation from that evaluation was that safety benefits would result from the addition of highway lighting," Emminger wrote. "The towns of Amherst and Tonawanda have been advancing plans to improve the street lighting as recommended by the NYSDOT."
In a separate letter to Amherst Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein, Emminger noted that "Amherst is taking the lead on this initiative" by coordinating with the state DOT to apply for funding.
"We strongly support this application and look forward to continued cooperation with the project as it progresses," Emminger wrote.
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