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State announces short-term changes for Scajaquada Corridor

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The State Department of Transportation has announced that "traffic calming" initiatives will be implemented this year along the Scajaquada Corridor following a tragedy that took the life of a three-year-old boy in May.  The child was hit by a car that left the 198 and killed him while walking with family in Delaware Park. The speed along the Scajaquada was reduced from 50 mph to 30 mph the day after the accident.

Crews will be working on installing a permanent guide rail system designed more in keeping with the aesthetics of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Delaware Park.  A temporary guide rail was put in place last month to separate vehicle and pedestrian traffic. 

Crews will also be installing permanent "reduced speed ahead" signs with flashing beacons to provide motorists advanced warning of the lower speed limit. The roadway will be re-striped to create narrower lanes, while striping on wide areas of the shoulders will provide visual cues to motorists.

In addition, three new signal controlled pedestrian crossings with raised, high visibility crosswalks will be installed in the area. 

Buffalo Common Council member Michael LoCurto said the problem is that the Scajaquada still looks like a highway and people still drive like they're on a highway.

"These initial, intermediate steps will begin to change that and will begin to make this high more like a park road, something that is more appropriate for the park that it's in," LoCurto said at a Tuesday morning news conference.

Assemblymember Sean Ryan said the Department of Transportation has taken the first steps towards reclassifying the Scajaquada from an expressway to a more appropriate designation. He said the new elevated crosswalks will slow vehicles and make pedestrians more visible.

"We want obstructions on roadways because that sends a message to drivers that you're not on a straight-shot roadway and the roadway isn't just for cars," Ryan said.

The Buffalo Democrat said drivers are adjusting to the new lower speed limit, with an informal survey showing 85% of motorists traveling within 10 mph of the posted speed, which is typical.

Ryan said permanent changes will be presented to the public in the coming weeks. He said the state plans to begin work by the end of the month.

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