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Lockport councilman vows to have key intersection realigned

LOCKPORT – Town of Lockport Councilman Paul W. Siejak said Monday that he’s determined to have the intersection in front of Town Hall realigned to prevent what he called “a tragedy waiting to happen.”

At a Town Board work session, Siejak said something has to be done about the intersection, which connects roads with four different names. The east-west road, which is part of state Route 93, is Robinson Road to the west of the intersection and Dysinger Road to the east. The north-south road is Beattie Avenue to the north and Old Beattie Road to the south.

The roads are all two-lane roads, but there are left-turn lanes in both directions on Route 93, while drivers on the north-south road have right-turn lanes, and drivers turning left or going straight use the same lane. Also, northbound drivers have to make an immediate 45-degree lurch to the left upon entering Beattie Avenue.

“It seems like everybody focuses on something after a tragedy happens. I don’t want it to be that way,” Siejak said after the meeting. “There’s a lot of confusion and misjudgment. I’ve never seen an intersection where the left-turn lane is straight through. The people coming from the opposite direction aren’t sure: Are they making a turn? Are they going straight? There’s so much hesitation going on.”

The only good thing about the layout, he said, is that the drivers usually aren’t going very fast because they’re so confused.

“This is my passion for 2015, to get that intersection fixed in 2016,” Siejak said. “It needs to be straightened out, so we have dedicated turning lanes.”

“It’s the state’s intersection,” Supervisor Marc R. Smith said. He said he and Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon have met with state Department of Transportation officials in person over the past five years, but so far there has been no action on realignment. To provide left-turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic, or to produce a normal right-angle intersection, someone’s land would have to be acquired.

Also Monday, Siejak reported that the total cost of last month’s four-day visit of the traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial was $13,224, with a few bills still not yet delivered. The town received $2,950 in donations, including $1,000 each from the Grigg-Lewis Foundation and the Lock City Moose Lodge, so the net town cost was $10,274. The town had appropriated $15,000 for the event.

Siejak suggested some of the leftover money could be used for a display to house mementoes from the occasion.

On another topic, Smith griped that the town had no say in the say of fireworks within its borders, only to be told by Town Attorney Michael J. Norris that nothing can be done about it.

In May, the Niagara County Legislature legalized the sale of sparklers and other hand-held fireworks between June 1 and July 5, and from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2. A traveling fireworks dealer set up shop in the parking lot of the vacant former Walmart in advance of Independence Day.