City officials are considering placing a traffic signal at Michigan Avenue and Scott Street to improve traffic flow and safety.
There have been 32 collisions at the downtown intersection in the last 2½ years, with most involving only property damage, but for years motorists have had to put up with long waits to get through the intersection at the end of the workday as others start arriving for events at nearby First Niagara Center, especially when the Buffalo Sabres are in town. Traffic also has picked up with the growing popularity of Canalside and its frequent summer concerts.
On occasion, a Buffalo police traffic officer will be assigned to the intersection, although most of the time motorists are on their own.
The intersection is regulated by stop signs on the east and west sides of Scott, with none on Michigan. Increasing the hazardous circumstances is the Michigan Avenue Bridge, just north of the intersection. The rise of the bridge limits the ability of motorists on Scott to see if vehicles are headed south toward the intersection.
Those southbound motorists coming over the crest of the bridge sometimes travel at high speed and end up in the intersection as vehicles from either side of Scott are entering it, causing accidents and close calls.
“We’re going to be looking into the possibility of installing a traffic signal at the intersection,” Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said, adding that he plans to meet with Steven J. Stepniak, Buffalo’s public works commissioner, in the near future to address the issue.
Thirty-two collisions, Derenda said, are not necessarily a high number, but because the intersection sees spikes in volume when downtown events occur, increased traffic control may be needed.
Since January 2013 through the middle of this month, the month with the highest number of accidents at the intersection was February with five. Several months were tied for the lowest number of two accidents apiece – March, May, June, August, September and January. The remaining five months each had three.