Next set of changes for the 198 include crosswalks

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Assemblyman Sean Ryan joined other local leaders Tuesday morning to talk about the next set of changes in the pipeline for the 198.

Those changes include new, permanent “reduced speed ahead” lighted signs, new striping on the roadway and narrowing the lanes, and three new at-grade pedestrian crosswalks. One will be across Delaware Avenue. The other two will be across the 198, near the golf course and between the history museum and the Albright-Knox.

Walkers who spoke with News 4 in Delaware Park on Tuesday morning had mixed feelings on the crosswalks plans. “It would mean that I would be able to cross to get to the other side of the park much more easily and safely,” said one local walker, Elizabeth Stone.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense really,” countered another walker, Stan Smith, “because what do you want to go over there for? They’ve got a crosswalk right up here.” Smith said he would not feel safe trying to cross the Scajaquada as things are now, with so many cars are still going so fast.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan says the crosswalks and other traffic calming measures are meant to address just that problem. “You have to introduce interruptions in roadways. If there’s no interruptions, cars will drive as fast as they feel comfortable,” he said.

And, he said, the newest changes to the 198 will happen fast. The lanes will be narrowed and hatching added to the shoulders as a visual cue to drivers in July. The crosswalks will go in on August. “They’ll be controlled pedestrian crossings. That you hit the button and the light turns red and it allows pedestrians to cross the highway,” Assemblyman Ryan explained.

But all of this has people divided. Some, like Stan Smith, say the safety measures are already going too far. “I don’t even know why they keep even messing with the road itself,” he said.

Others say none of this goes far enough. “The Scajaquada is a terrible failure and it shouldn’t be here,” Stone said.

Assemblyman Ryan says these upcoming changes are just the beginning. And there are a number of factors, and voices, that will be taken into account in the long term plans for this road.

Several public meetings will be held in Buffalo in the coming weeks.

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