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Hamburg may add two more roundabouts

Hamburg, the village that pioneered roundabouts on Main Street, is looking into adding two more roundabouts.

Village Board members have hired an engineering firm to develop a preliminary design for potential roundabouts at Lake and Main streets and Lake and Pleasant Avenue.

“That would be great,” said Chuck Hubbard, who has run Chuck’s Automotive on the corner of Lake Street and Pleasant Avenue for 40 years. “I like the roundabouts better than the traffic lights.”

It was in 2003, when New York State was considering reconstructing Main Street (Route 62), that the village officially endorsed roundabouts as part of the $23 million project. There was a lot of opposition, but the plan went forward.

At the time, the village considered putting in a roundabout where Pierce Avenue meets Main Street at Lake Street, Village Trustee Laura Hackathorn said.

She said the village has supported the idea since then, and the village’s comprehensive plan suggests a roundabout at the intersection. The plan, which was approved four years ago, identifies the Lake Street corridor as one of the focus areas and considers it a “weak” gateway to the village that has a “hostile pedestrian environment.”

A roundabout, village leaders believe, will increase pedestrian access and improve the street.

Through the years, village residents have recalled that Pleasant Avenue used to be the village’s link to Lake Erie, Hackathorn said, adding that she used to ride her bicycle down Pleasant to get to the beach.

Improving access to the village’s west end and Forest Glen is another goal.

The village hopes that by paying up to $23,000 for a study and preliminary design, it will help convince the state to construct the roundabouts.

“We’re building a case,” Village Administrator Donald Witkowski said. “We think it would improve traffic flow. Right now, the intersections are not falling apart and are not high on their list.”

Hackathorn said having a plan often helps in obtaining grants.

“It shows our seriousness, if we are willing to partner with them and do this part of it on our own,” Hackathorn said.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com