WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Over 40 thousand cars travel on Main street in Williamsville on a daily basis. Local business owners say they’re happy to see the traffic, but are concerned about pedestrians who try to cross the busy street.
“People don’t follow a lot of traffic laws and people do cross mid-block all the time. There are frequent accidents there are so many near misses it’s not even funny,” said Debbie Steinbruckner, Villlage Artisans owner.
“It’s extremely dangerous we had an incident a year or two ago where we had one of our firefighters actually attempt to cross the street to respond to a call and was hit and was hospitalized for weeks,” said Jim Lyon, Williamsville Firefighter.
According to the Police Traffic Bureau, there were at least two pedestrian strikes in the village of Williamsville in 2015, and two so far in 2016.
Village officials say a HAWK, or high intensity activated crosswalk that will be located in front of the public library will make it safer for pedestrians to get across main street. It’s a set of overhead red and yellow lights activated by pedestrians.
“The lights hang above each drive lane so once the pedestrian walks up and activates the beacon it has a series of flashing lights, it basically will turn yellow start flashing yellow then it will go from a flashing red to a solid red,” said Al Yates, Village of Williamsville Trustee.
Installing HAWK traffic beacons are just one part of a larger project to revamp the Main street area to make it more walkable and safer. Plans include adding bump outs at every intersection, cross walks, medians and street greenery.
“We’re just trying to create a new feel that you can’t fly through, it’s not a highway it’s a village,” said Yates.
The HAWK was actually supposed to be installed this year but has been pushed to Fall of 2017 because the state will be repaving main street. But the village does have the necessary approvals and funds in place to move the project forward,