Change in Erie County Fair traffic angers neighbors

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – Quinby Drive residents are questioning the motives behind a sudden change in the traffic pattern for Erie County Fair goers.

“They had the right lane block off, so you couldn’t go down Quinby Drive,” said Cynthia Rathbun, who has always made money parking fair traffic on her lawn.

“I think it stinks, because it’s big business trying to push out the little guy. We’re law abiding citizens. We pay income tax, we pay state taxes. We’re just trying to make a few bucks because frankly, we have to deal with the dirt, the noise and the garbage.”

Fair security says it’s a safety issue that they noticed on day one of the fair. The Quinby Drive lot fills up so fast that those who can’t find a spot cause congestion on Quinby.

“It really created a public safety situation where all of that stopped traffic creates a greater risk for secondary accidents, fender benders. Our goal is to get all of our guests off the roadway onto the property as quickly and effectively and as safely as possible,” said Fair Emergency Manager Tiger Schmittendorf.

Quinby Drive landowners still think it’s an attempt by the fair to cut into their private business.

“If they’re really doing it for safety for us here and congestion, then they shouldn’t be exiting out two exits here. It’s going to be just as bad,” said a Quinby Drive resident named Tom.

Cynthia Rathbun isn’t sure if this will hurt her tradition of letting veterans park for free on Sunday, which is Veterans Day at the fair.

“They go, they risk their lives and their limbs, it’s the least I can do.”

This is still a work in progress. Fair security told News 4 Friday night they will no longer block traffic from going down Quinby, and the fact that the fair parking entrances won’t be open on that side might actually end up helping the private businesses in the end.

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