BATAVIA – Western Region Off-Track Betting Corp.’s proposal to close part of Park Road in the Town of Batavia is not sitting well with residents of Redfield Parkway and other city streets close to Batavia Downs Gaming.
“I don’t think the track and the town have done their due diligence in this matter,” said Nelson Baker of 20 Redfield Parkway. “This is going to negatively affect traffic from Oak Street (Route 98) all the way to Redfield.”
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Baker, Donald Fryling and James Owen, all Redfield Parkway home owners, spoke against the plan, which calls for shutting Park Road off to traffic just north of Kmart and just south of Richmond Avenue.
The off-track betting corporation wants to expand its parking lot in anticipation of a new hotel this summer.
It also will be paying $1 million to the Town of Batavia to relocate its fire station on the gaming facility’s property.
Motorists hoping to get from Route 63 to Richmond Avenue or to Veterans Memorial Drive, and vice versa, would be forced to seek alternate routes should the proposal go through.
“I think there have been three accidents out of a million customers (at Batavia Downs),” Fryling said.
“Does this constitute a good reason to disrupt traffic? Redfield was not meant for this type of traffic. It is a residential street.”
Baker said a temporary closing of Park Road on Jan. 15 when a construction frame on the hotel site was knocked down by high winds was a harbinger of things to come should Park Road be closed.
He produced photos showing a line of up to 20 cars backed up on Redfield Parkway, waiting to turn onto West Main Street, in the late afternoon.
“This will make most of Ward 4 residential streets nothing but speedways,” he said. “(Batavia Downs Gaming) opened in May 2005 and it has taken them 11 years to realize it is a dangerous situation (to have people crossing Park Road to enter the facility)?
“All they need to do is put a traffic light there with ‘Walk’ and ‘Don’t Walk’ signs.”
All Council members sided with the Redfield Parkway trio and urged citizens to make their voices heard at the next Batavia Town Board meeting.
“We will, through our City Manager (Jason R. Molino), advise you when their next meeting is,” said Ward 4 Councilman Alfred L. McGinnis, who lives on Vernon Avenue, another street running parallel to Batavia Downs, between West Main Street and Richmond Avenue.
“The traffic is untenable now on Vernon and Richmond.”
Molino said he is waiting for a reply to his request that Batavia Downs schedule a public meeting for city residents and to expand its traffic impact study to include all streets east to Oak Street.