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DOT starts safety improvement work on NF Blvd

Supervisors in the towns of Tonawanda and Amherst, who share the border roadway of Niagara Falls Boulevard, are encouraged to see the NYS DOT starting with pedestrian safety improvements for that heavily traveled road, but they are hoping that they can work with the DOT to do even more in the future.

Amherst, NY - For months 2 On Your Side, state lawmakers, and town officials have been pressing the State Department of Transportation about the safety of Niagara Falls Boulevard. The DOT said it would be making some changes and this week the work began.

An exchange of letters between State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and the Acting State DOT Commissioner Paul Karas indicated that his agency would start to make some improvements on Niagara Falls Boulevard and we're starting to see some of that action.

On Friday night we observed that there seemed to be brighter strips in the pedestrian crosswalks like the major one at the the intersection of Maple Road and the Boulevard right near the Boulevard Mall. The DOT has told town officials they will be enhancing those crosswalks at 25 intersections along the road. In their June 11 letter to Schimminger, they refer to a pedestrian safety corridor evaluation for a 6.5 mile long section of the road between Kenmore Avenue and the Niagara County line.

And apparently DOT technicians are checking some of those pedestrian crossing signals - like the one Channel 2's Emily Lampa spoke about with Assemblyman Schimminger. There has been some question about whether some signals were actually working.

MORE:Why wait a year to fix pedestrian problems on Niagara Falls Blvd?

Supervisors of the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda are glad to see some action over the past 24 hours or so, but they will keep pressing for more in their effort to make the busy roadway safer for pedestrians and of course in the wake of the six fatal pedestrian accidents in the past five years.

"DOT has been doing additional markings and additional striping on the Boulevard and we are of course encouraged by this action by them and we are gonna continue to make sure that they continue to do the right thing,"Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger said.

Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa also told us, "Even though most of the region thinks of this area as heavy vehicle volume which it is - there are neighborhoods on both sides of this street up and down this street that look at this as their Main Street and that's important to remember."

Emminger and Kulpa say they will be working more with the DOT. They note this is a beginning, but there is much more to do. The towns themselves are working on more lighting for Niagara Falls Boulevard since many of the accidents occur in the early morning or at night.

In addition Kulpa and Emminger say Assemblyman Schimminger and other state lawmakers plan to meet with them and walk along the boulevard to check conditions and put more pressure on the state DOT for safety improvements. They will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday to discuss their views and plans and 2 On Your Side will be there to cover it.

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