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Twice in 12 hours, Amherst pedestrians hit by vehicles

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The Town of Amherst has struggled for years with how to better protect pedestrians from motor vehicles on some of the region's most heavily traveled thoroughfares.

The problem resurfaced again this week.

Two pedestrians suffered head injuries after being struck by vehicles in separate incidents in different parts of town over the span of 12 hours, police said.

The first incident was a hit-and-run that happened about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday near Sweet Home and Chestnut Ridge roads, about a quarter-mile from the Rensch Road entrance to the University at Buffalo.

Police said they were looking for a vehicle with possible recent front-end damage.

The victim suffered a serious head injury and was taken by Twin City Ambulance to Erie County Medical Center.

Police have not released any further information.

The second incident happened about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday near Kensington Avenue and Roycroft Boulevard, just east of Harlem Road.

A female pedestrian was taken to Oishei Children's Hospital. Police have not released her age.

Police also did not release any further information about that incident.

In both cases, police ask anyone who may have seen something or who has video footage to call them at 716-689-1311.

For Amherst, the problem of drivers striking pedestrians is not a new issue.

From 2010 through 2019, three pedestrians were killed along a one-mile stretch of Niagara Falls Boulevard on the town line between Amherst and Tonawanda.

The three people who died were hit before dawn.

That stretch of the Boulevard is part of a 2.4-mile stretch, from Ridge Lea Road north to East Robinson Road, where six pedestrians were killed in a five-year span.

Town officials from both Amherst and Tonawanda conducted a safety audit of the roadway. The state Department of Transportation later conducted a study of pedestrian accidents covering a five-year period along a 6.5-mile stretch of the Boulevard.

Both Amherst and Tonawanda officials had previously announced projects to make improvements, including to street lighting in the area.

In 2019, the DOT released recommendations that included short-term changes like adding more visible crosswalks and lowering the speed limit on part of the roadway.

Other recommendations, including putting the Boulevard on a road diet, required further analysis and discussion, the agency said.

Town officials said at the time that the recommendations were good initial steps but more needed to happen.

Reach Aaron at abesecker[at]buffnews.com or 716-849-4602.

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