Time to lower speed limit on Niagara Falls Boulevard
Five pedestrians’ lives have been taken in a short stretch of a major traffic corridor, Niagara Falls Boulevard, in the recent past. I live close to the area in which these tragic accidents have occurred and know firsthand how difficult and dangerous it is for any pedestrian to attempt to cross that highway.
There will, of course, be the usual call for studies on how to make this extremely pedestrian-hazardous area safer, and these studies will be expensive and long-drawn out. Other lives may be lost while the wheels spin.
I wish to suggest four practical and easily implemented ways in which this tragically unsafe situation can be quickly improved: lower the speed limit, monitor it, enforce it and improve the inadequate lighting of the highway. These changes together would significantly enhance pedestrian safety.
The current Niagara Falls Boulevard speed limit jumps from 40 to 45 mph just north of the Interstate 290 crossing, the region in which all of the deaths have occurred. That higher speed limit may have been appropriate when the area was less populated and less heavily trafficked than it is today. The speed limit is now routinely exceeded by 5 to 10 mph. The five pedestrian deaths offer tragic evidence for how unrealistic it is today. They demonstrate the need for it to be reduced and made compatible with today’s traffic situation.
Ann M. Dinan