BUFFALO, N.Y. — Even after one month, those chilling memories of stranded cars and calls for help are still seared in Rasheed Wyatt’s memory.
They prompted the Buffalo Common Council member to take action, calling on the Department of Transportation with a formal resolution to put emergency service arms on the entrances and exits on Route 33 in the City of Buffalo.
“Just considering the depth of the 33, if you caught down there, it's almost impossible during an emergency for someone to get to you,” Wyatt said. “So to put that emergency arm would help prevent those types of tragedies from occurring.”
It comes in response to the death of a 73-year-old woman who mistakenly ended up on the 33 due to poor visibility where EMS services were unable to reach her.
“We don't want another life to be lost in a similar situation,” Wyatt said.
The New York State Department of Transportation has already installed gates on a number of other expressways, including the 190 and 290.
But when it came to the 33, one of the biggest problems to reopen after the December blizzard gates were noticeably missing.
“I don't want to speculate, but sometimes it just seems like sometimes the city's not considered in those situations,” Wyatt said.
A lot of questions remain on the impact of these gates regarding how it would affect EMS response during storms and when the arms would be engaged.
But when 2 On Your Side directly asked about the 33 twice in the past month, the DOT provided almost the exact same response, saying in a statement it is quote “working with our local municipal partners to review the operational needs for gates at other locations in Western New York.”
But it failed to specifically address our questions about the 33 both times.
“I would hope that they will acquiesce and do something like this because having one life lost is really tragic, and I hope that we learned something from it and we prevent future of what's been happening,” Wyatt said.