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Erie County turning over Garrison Road to Williamsville

Mike Desmond

Erie County will soon have one-half mile less road in its 1,200-mile highway inventory and the Village of Williamsville will have an additional one-half mile of sharply improved highway.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The traffic continued flying by all during a Monday news conference explaining why the county is turning a section of Garrison Road between Main Street and Wehrle Drive over to the village, after extensive repairs. That constant flow of vehicles in both directions is an issue.

Over the next month or so, the county will spend $372,000 fixing up the highway. Deputy County Public Works Commissioner Charles Sickler said the county construction project includes some street changes at Main and Garrison and other noticeable renovations to help heavily used Garrison Park.

"This line of students and parents, kids that come here to this park, they wanted crosswalks in. They want a new contraption called a rapid, flashing beacon. Pedestrians can push that button and once traffic sees it, they stop and let the kids pass. They wanted more parking here so we're extending the parking limits," Sickler said.

When the repairs are finished and the road turned over to Williamsville, Garrison will have better pavement, better drainage and better parking next to Garrison Park. The village will also lower the road's speed limit to 25 miles per hour. This is expected to happen around Labor Day.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

County Executive Marc Poloncarz said it is a good deal for both sides.

"Erie County is investing dollars to ensure that this road is in excellent shape," Poloncarz said. "It also matters that the individuals who are located in the community will then have full control and decision making as to what will be the future of that road and that community. That isn't always the case when you have a road like Garrison Road, here in the village that is controlled and owned by Erie County, but is a major arterial road for this village."

Williamsville Mayor Dan DeLano said it may be a major arterial road, but it won't be widened to attract more traffic.

"For us, we get to have some drainage issues fixed. We get to have some pedestrian safety issues fixed, with a flashing beacon at the crossing you see right behind us," DeLano said, "and we will ultimately be able to control the fact that Garrson can never be widened."

This is the latest tiny piece of the county's road network turned over to local government. The same happened both in Hamburg and in Lancaster to provide local control, after being brought up to standard.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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