Living just off Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst for the last decade, it’s my opinion that the “speed reduction” strategy to improve pedestrian safety will prove ineffective and lead to more traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities.
There are many, many injuries on Niagara Falls Boulevard because there are many, many pedestrians crossing illegally. That’s the problem.
I have personally witnessed over a dozen “near miss” pedestrian accidents. In every instance, walkers were crossing illegally, in very inappropriate places and many with dark clothing and almost no chance of being seen.
A car traveling at 55 or 45 or 35 miles per hour will still seriously injure or kill a pedestrian making a dangerous and illegal crossing. Slowing down traffic only spreads out the volume of traffic over a greater area, making it more difficult, and more dangerous, to cross outside of designated crosswalks.
It’s preposterous to consider reducing speed on this road even further. Only a grandstanding politician lacking real data and law enforcement input would even consider this proposal.
The absolute safest way to improve safety on Niagara Falls Boulevard would be to return the road to its 1819 appearance, allowing only deer and horse-drawn buggies access to the thoroughfare. That’s preposterous also.
The current plan of marking and painting crosswalks more clearly will not solve this problem. Most incidents are not happening in designated crosswalks.
Solution one: install more crosswalks equally distributed across the most dangerous areas of the boulevard with button activated lights where pedestrians can safely cross.
Solution two: aggressively ticket illegally crossing pedestrians until the word gets out that this dangerous and life-threatening behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Solution three: in areas where there are no crosswalks, install high, impassable, median barriers which prohibit pedestrians from illegally crossing entirely.