BUFFALO, N.Y. — The last time we heard from New York State Department of Transportation officially concerning Niagara Falls Boulevard was back in early December after another pedestrian was hit on the roadway, just north of Irvington Drive.
At the time, the state said they anticipated that their year-long safety study of the Boulevard would be wrapped up by late spring.
Checking in with the state Thursday, NYSDOT spokesperson, Joe Morrisey tells 2 On Your Side the study does appear to be on track.
Morrisey had little else to say regarding the study, declining comment in light of a pending lawsuit against the state.
The family of a pedestrian hit and killed by a car on NFB accuses the New York State, as well as the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda, of negligence for not fixing dangerous conditions on the roadway sooner.
Both town supervisors say they haven't heard from the state about particulars concerning the study.
But Amherst Town Supervisor, Brian Kulpa says they're optimistic that public awareness and smaller improvements are making a difference in the meantime.
The latest figures and accident reports from Amherst police show there were no pedestrian involved crashes, so far, this year. The average number of pedestrian-involved crashes in the first four months of the year has been about three crashes.
"The towns are cooperating very much in tandem up in that area," said Kulpa of increased patrols, signage, and public awareness. "And that's had a lot of benefits."
No matter what comes out of the state's study, the towns are still moving ahead with the street lighting project north of the 290.
The state pledged $800,000 to help put in much-needed street lights on the north and southbound sides of the Boulevard.
Figuring out how to make the Boulevard safer got even more complex this year because of the Boulevard Mall auction and rezoning.
In November, Kulpa told 2 On Your Side the plan was to have the entire corridor rezoned by March 2019 so that the consulting firm would have to consider that new zoning in their pedestrian safety improvement recommendations.
While rezoning on the Amherst side of NFB is complete, they still need approval.
"We have a new zoning draft document out," explains Kulpa. "It's been in front of our planning board once. Our expectation is we're going to adopt the new zoning for Niagara Falls Boulevard sometime in June or beginning of July."
Kulpa tells us the town of Tonawanda just started their rezoning process.
In terms of that lighting project, we're told they will be accepting bids until Tuesday, April 23. They already have several bids in hand and construction is expected to start this summer.
After 2 On Your Side started asking questions Thursday, NYSDOT's regional office announced plans for traffic signal maintenance and upgrades on a large section of the Boulevard.
It starts Tuesday, and you can expect lane closures for the next six weeks from the Target shopping plaza down to just north of Sheridan drive.