AMHERST, NY - Motorists who use the busy Union Road between Main Street and Wehrle Drive in Amherst may eventually find it changed from four lanes down to three under a state DOT plan which has now been formally endorsed by the town board.
That proposed change would add a center lane for left turns.
Town officials feel currently the road corridor there is actually very narrow for the existing four lane road. So they feel going to three lanes will help to provide more of a shoulder and buffer for the sidewalks in a residential area.
They also feel it would help reduce the chance of collisions with people making left turns.
Supervisor Brian Kulpa says, "There's a lot of driveways, there's a lot of houses so there's a lot of left turns. What happens right now is if somebody cues up for a left hand turn...they're making a left turn out of a 40 mile per hour drive lane. This way they'll make their left hand turn out of a center turn lane with the safety of not having people moving at a full 40 miles per hour behind them."
Supervisor Kulpa says some apartment complex residents did raise objections feeling they would have to wait longer and perhaps face more traffic to turn left. But they feel this is still the safer option in the long run.
The DOT says they were waiting for guidance from the town on whether to keep it four lane or go down to three and now they have this vote from the town board to lead them in that direction of the three lanes option.
DOT officials also say this a general trend for communities to boost safety with a designated center turn lane for left turns.
This lane change is actually part of an overall paving project for Union Road in Amherst which could start later this year.