AMHERST, N.Y. — In response to a recent study which found pedestrian deaths on the rise, 2 On Your Side asked viewers to tells us about dangerous roads and intersections around Western New York. This garnered dozens of complaints about roads all over the region.
A large number of those responses were about Niagara Falls Boulevard, much of which runs through the Town of Amherst.
2 On Your Side reached out to Town of Amherst Supervisor, Brian Kulpa, to find out what the situation is and what's being done about it.
"Niagara Falls Blvd. goes beyond dangerous. Niagara Falls Boulevard is a pedestrian wasteland," said Kulpa. "I mean, we've had fatalities...many fatalities on the Boulevard."
The stretch of roadway in question runs north from Buffalo to Niagara County, through the towns of Tonawanda and Amherst.
"It actually subdivides residential neighborhoods on the East and West of the street," worries Kulpa. "It still has convenience stores that those residential neighborhoods still need to walk to and access."
Because of how poorly lit The Boulevard is, the towns are now working with National Grid to increase lighting along the corridor, north of the 290, but that project is still in the development phase.
Kulpa tells us it's hard to say how much it will all cost because they're in the process of determining if additional poles need to go up.
And since the Boulevard is a state road, Kulpa tells us there is very little else the towns can do without state approval.
"I'll throw NYSDOT under the bus, but it's not fair," Kulpa says. "It's not just DOT. The municipalities need to tell DOT and work with DOT to say we gotta fix this together."
NYSDOT tells us they are looking into making improvements on the Niagara Falls Boulevard but they're waiting on results of a study.
"Niagara Falls Boulevard is a priority corridor that has been chosen statewide for independent Pedestrian Safety Action Plan study by a consultant," said Susan Surdej, NYSDOT Regional Public Information Officer, in an e-mailed statement. "The PSAP corridor study will examine the corridor and investigate a range of potential pedestrian safety improvement options. The Niagara Falls Boulevard corridor study limits are from the Buffalo city line to the Niagara County line."
Curtis Jetter, NYSDOT Assistant Director of Communications:
The study will begin soon and will be completed next summer. Recommendations will then be incorporated into a capital project in the area. Study corridors are selected based on crash severity, alignment with focus counties/communities identified in the PSAP, and the anticipated level of community engagement.
2 On Your Side went out to Niagara Falls Boulevard to see how pedestrian safety conditions are right now. We found huge sections of roadway that had no sidewalk or shoulders, crossing signals not working properly, and crosswalks without the lines painted on the roadway.
A recent study released by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found deadly pedestrian crashes are on the rise on dark, busy city and suburban roads, with the largest increase happening on arterial roadways, just like Niagara Falls Boulevard, that feed major highways.
The study found that speed, poor lighting conditions, lack of sidewalks and crosswalks with signals all contribute to this deadly trend.
"We got to do something about it," said Kulpa. "We can't let it continue in the way it's continuing."