BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Are the safety improvements being made to Route 198 in Buffalo doing more harm than good?
From the reduced speed limit to new stop signs and barriers–some drivers are questioning the effectiveness of some of the changes.
The extreme changes started after a three year old boy was struck and killed in Delaware Park in May, but are the improvements to Route 198, or Scajaquada Expressway–which is being transitioned to the Scajaquada Parkway–really making it safer?
Work crews from the New York Department of Transportation were busy Wednesday continuing that transition. The most noticeable changes along Route 198 are the new stop signs at many of the on ramps. They replace the yield signs that allowed drivers to gradually merge into traffic. Now drivers have to come to a full stop before they can start to merge.
Some drivers took the new signs seriously, while others just seemed to ignore them. Jennifer Able of Springville questioned the wisdom of making that kind of abrupt change for drivers.
“With people who are used driving this way for how many years, and it being a certain way and then changing everything, a lot of people have trouble with that sort of change, and that could cause a lot of disruption in the traffic.”
State work crews are also narrowing the travel lanes, grinding away the old lines and markings on the roadway, and laying down new markings next to them, squeezing the travel lanes down to 12 feet wide.
New guide rails have also been installed where they have not been before, and the speed limit was dropped from 50 miles/hour to 30 mph, from the eastern end to the western end of Scajaquada Expressway.
Zachary Mecca of Buffalo questioned the need for a 30 mph speed limit on the far ends of Route 198, where there is little to no pedestrian traffic.
“The whole strip should not be 30 miles an hour. When you enter the area of Delaware Park, within a 100 yards of entering Delaware Park, then the transition from 45 or 55 to 30 should be changed.”
State Department of Transportation officials said even more changes are in store, including new crosswalks that would cross Route 198 itself–all 4 lanes–near Elmwood and Delaware Avenues.