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Metro Buses to roll on new Walmart property

When Walmart opens its new store in the Town of Cheektowaga Wednesday, they'll welcome many customers who rely on public transportation to get there. An agreement to allow Metro Bus access was announced on Tuesday.

Under the agreement reached between Walmart, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Town of Cheektowaga, Metro Bus Route 46 will now include a stop on the new store property, located on Walden Avenue at the former Super Flea site.

Passengers will be picked up and dropped off outside the store's gardening section. Walmart has agreed to build a dedicated bus shelter, which is expected to be finished by June.

NFTA officials say about 200 riders used Metro Bus daily to access Walmart's previous store in the former Thruway Mall campus and they expect a similar number of people to rely on the bus to access the new store.

"Walmart provides a lot of critical services, groceries and other supplies, to many of the folks who do use our service," said NFTA executive director Kimberley Minkel. 

Supporters of allowing bus access to the new Walmart say it's a matter of safety. They recall the 1995 death of Cynthia Wiggins, a young Buffalo woman who was fatally injured while trying to cross Walden Avenue to get to her job at the Walden Galleria. The mall did not allow bus access at the time. 

Minkel credited State Senator Tim Kennedy with getting all sides together to discuss and finalize a bus access plan.

"We were able to come together to provide, really, a nice solution," said Minkel.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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