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Proposal by Cheektowaga to study Dick Road traffic defeated

The Town of Cheektowaga will not be hiring an engineering firm to perform a traffic analysis of Dick Road, although the state Department of Transportation may already be studying the issue.

The Town Board on Monday night considered spending up to $5,800 to hire Clark Patterson Lee to study traffic on Dick Road between George Urban Boulevard and Genesee Street.

Complaints about rush-hour traffic backups and vehicles speeding and cutting through residential side streets in the area have been mounting since early July, when a developer’s plans to build a Tim Hortons coffee shop at 829 Dick Road were taken up by the board.

Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, an opponent of the project, pushed for the town to have its own traffic study after a study funded by the developer found the business would not have an adverse impact on the roadway, which daily carries more than 25,000 vehicles.

But the resolution to hire Clark Patterson Lee received only three of the four votes needed for approval.

Councilman James P. Rogowski, a supporter of the project, said he abstained from the vote because he received a response Monday from Thomas S. Messana, the state DOT’s regional traffic engineer, who indicated the DOT is already studying the issue.

“With regard to coordinating the signals on Dick Road and Cayuga Road at the intersection with the Kensington Expressway ramps and Genesee Street, we currently have an ongoing traffic engineering study related to this request,” Messana said in the July 26 letter to Rogowski. “At the conclusion of our investigation, we will advise you of our findings.”

Rogowski acknowledged that the DOT’s study may not be as encompassing as what Clark Patterson Lee proposed, but noted that the Erie County Highway Department and town Safety Traffic Commission both concurred with the developer’s traffic study findings.

Some residents among the large crowd at the meeting had been hoping for the town’s study to go forward.

“For this resolution to die when other money is spent frivolously on other things in this town really, really disappoints me,” Julie Kaska told the board.

It is unclear where the Tim Hortons project stands now, or what the next step will be. Benczkowski said after the meeting that she will consult with the town attorney.


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