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3 pedestrian crossings to be built on Scajaquada Expressway

Three pedestrian crossings are among the next traffic-calming measures planned this year for the Scajaquada Expressway as state officials continue work to downgrade the expressway into a slower parkway.

“Short-term traffic-calming measures will be made while long-term solutions are finalized, ensuring that the corridor is safer, in harmony with the surrounding community and accessible to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians,” state Department of Transportation Comissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said Monday in a news release.

Other changes announced Monday by the DOT include permanent “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs with flashing beacons, a restriping to create narrower lanes and hatched striping on the shoulders.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lowered the speed limit on the Scajaquada – Route 198 – from 50 mph to 30 mph on May 31, one day after 3-year-old Maksym Sugorovskiy was killed and his 5-year-old sister critically injured by an errant driver who crossed a grassy median into Delaware Park.

Temporary guide rails also were installed last month along the median between the expressway and the park. A permanent guide rail system is being designed “that will be more in keeping with the aesthetics of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Delaware Park,” according to the DOT.

The signal-controlled pedestrian crossings with raised, high-visibility crosswalks 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.

New pathways will be built to link the crossings to existing pedestrian and bicycle paths, according to the DOT.

“The ultimate goal is to downgrade the Scajaquada Expressway,” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said in a statement. “I applaud Gov. Cuomo for taking these additional interim steps, which will further calm the traffic along the roadway.”

Ryan, through a spokesperson, declined late Monday to further discuss the changes but is scheduled to address them at 10 a.m. Tuesday during a news conference on the Scajaquada Pedestrian Bridge at Nottingham Terrace.

The DOT also announced it has begun the process to change Route 198’s classification as an expressway, which requires approval by the Federal Highway Administration. Long-term plans for the Scajaquada Corridor will be presented at a public meeting to be held in Buffalo within weeks, officials said.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Scajaquada Corridor Coalition announced it will meet at 6:30 p.m. July 15 in the Parkside Lodge to organize its efforts to “right-size” the roadway.

email: jpopiolkowski@buffnews.com