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Wheatfield neighbor urges safety improvements at site near hit-and-run fatality

WHEATFIELD – The next-door neighbor of a teenage pedestrian killed on Krueger Road last fall chided the Town Board Monday for a lack of action on safety improvements on the road.

Deborah Fadel lived next door to Ryan M. Fischer, the 16-year-old struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver Nov. 20. The case remains unsolved.

Fadel said the town hasn’t installed 30 mph speed limit signs facing drivers heading from Niagara Falls Boulevard toward Ward Road, the two major roads to which Krueger Road connects. She also demanded radar speed enforcement and the deployment of a digital speed sign showing each driver’s speed. She said both steps should be taken at least once a month.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe asked Highway Superintendent Paul A. Siegmann to look into the installation of speed signs. Cliffe, a former town justice, said no speeding tickets can be issued where there are no posted speed limits.

As for a longer-range solution, Fadel urged the installation of sidewalks or bicycle lanes. “I know you guys don’t want to do sidewalks because of the pipes underneath,” Fadel said.

Cliffe said that Siegmann had given him an estimate in December of $600,000 to $700,000 for sidewalks. “We’d have to fill in all the ditches and pipe the drainage,” Cliffe said, “and that would go directly to taxes.”

He also said he was concerned that the town might end up feeling it had to give similar treatment to other roads. “We’d have to have a budget of half a million or a million dollars a year,” he said. “There’s 65 miles of streets in the town. Where do you stop?”

Fadel said she’d like to see a sign on Krueger Road such as “Slow Down – We Love Our Children” or one referring to a special needs resident who is often on the road. She said Siegmann told her there’s no evidence that such signs prevent accidents.

The board also:

• Approved the construction of the five-lot subdivision proposed by Michael Eggers at Shawnee and Klemer roads. The five homes will be offered for an estimated price of $250,000 to $300,000 and will measure 1,800 to 2,500 square feet.

• Scheduled a public information meeting, requested by the Planning Board, for 7 p.m. June 29 on discussion of possible changes in zoning and land use rules for properties along Niagara Falls Boulevard. The board has been considering a plan to ban further housing on the road and do away with dual-zoned lots, parcels that are zoned one way near the road and in another district in the back.

• Approved O’Toole’s plan to sue the North Tonawanda Little League over an incident in which a sprinkler in the town Youth Center gymnasium was broken by a baseball batted by a coach last year. He said the Little League’s insurance company refused to pay for the damage. The suit will be filed in North Tonawanda City Court. The damage estimate was $15,000 to $20,000.

The town hired a firm for emergency cleanup, and the gym floor was warped slightly. “There are a couple of places where you can see it. We’re hoping it stays down,” Cliffe said.