AMHERST, NY - “This is all because of Emily,” said Assemblyman Robin Schimminger.
What the long-time Democratic state lawmakers was referring to was new movement to improve the safety of Niagara Falls Boulevard. Some time back, 2 On-Your-Side Investigative Reporter Emily Lampa invited Schimminger to have a look at an example of how there were gaps in road design that was making the road way dangerous for pedestrians.
In the last five plus years, there have been six people struck and killed by motorists along the Boulevard.
The intersection Emily showed Schimminger was minus a marked crosswalk and had a pedestrian signal that was not functioning properly.
Schimming thought, "If this particular random site that this many problems, God only knows how many problems are north and south of that intersection.”
That’s when Schimminger started pressing the New York State Department of Transportation. Just last week, the agency announced a series of what it calls enhancements to the Boulevard in addition to a year-long study.
Much of Niagara Falls Boulevard is the border between the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda. Today, supervisors for both towns were out on foot. Accompanied by the respective two engineers, they were looking at traffic, crosswalks, streets signs and more putting together a survey of their own.
The goal of the so-called “walking audit” is to be ready with their own suggestions on how the road may be shaped in the future.
“For too long in western New York local municipalities have said it’s a state road. There’s very little we can do about it,” said Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa.
Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger agrees, “This isn’t going away. It’s at the top of both our town’s agendas. It’s our way of making sure that they’re listening to us.”