BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The D.O.T is going back to the drawing board.
Earlier this month, NY State Department of Transportation crews made quick work of carving out the lawn across from the Albright Knox Art Gallery and paving wide pedestrian path leading up to Route 198. The plan was to install a crosswalk just east of Elmwood Avenue where pedestrians would press a button and an overhead signal would stop traffic.
A similar crosswalk would’ve stopped traffic just west of Delaware Avenue, and both projects were on track to be finished by the end of November.
Late Friday afternoon, the D>O>T announced that the cross walk project has been suspended.
“We want to take a step back.” said D-O-T Information Officer Susan Surdej, who added that, because of feedback the Department of Transportation is getting, planners want to gather more ideas over the winter, and then hold a public hearing in the spring. “We want to make sure that we are first of all installing crosswalks that people will actually use and we want to make sure that they’re in the right location for people to use them safely.”
The Olmsted Parks Conservancy supports the decision to delay the cross walks. Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt feels that crosswalks will be a safe way to cross someday, but she thinks the highway style signs, and guide rail medians have to come out first. “You’ve got two to three generations of people that all they know is this was an expressway at 55 miles per hour.”
Surdej says the DOT is still moving forward with new steel guide rails that look like wood to be installed in the next several weeks. “We are also moving ahead and installing flashing signs that say Reduced Speed Ahead. We’re waiting for the signal poles right now that the signs are mounted on.”
Surdej says planners will meet with stake holders like the City of Buffalo and Olmsted Conservancy over the winter and then schedule a public hearing for next spring before doing any more work on crosswalks.