BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dan Cadzow and his four children sit inside the auditorium at Bulger Communications Center at Buffalo State College. Cadzow’s kids color away – drawing pictures on pieces of paper while Dan listens intently to what the New York State Department of Transportation is reporting on – their latest, and reportedly last, design for bringing changes to the Scajaquada Expressway.
“It’s a parking lot,” said Cadzow, describing the roadway as it is now.
And how it could be for the foreseeable future, if the public doesn’t agree with the state’s proposal.
“We’ve spent a lot of time, a lot of many hours, and a lot of resources on this project,” said Matthew Driscoll, the New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner. “It’s time to draw it to a conclusion.”
The conversation surrounding changing the 2.2 mile corridor passing through Delaware Park began more than a decade ago. After 56 public hearings, the commissioner is reporting this plan which they’re putting forward is the final one they’re offering residents.
“This plan that we’re offering tonight is as far as we can go on the project,” said the Commissioner. “We hope the community sees the value in that. We want to build the project.”
The project will cost between $93 million and $100 million. The roadway will remain four lanes and stay at 30mph. Under the proposal, a 4ft. wide median with lighting will be put in place. There will be pathways for pedestrians and cyclists; seven crosswalks; a traffic circle — these are compromises between the state and residents, according to Driscoll.
“There are a couple outstanding issues we won’t do,” said the commissioner, adding those issues include adding Iroquois Drive as an extension to what would be considered the boulevard and dropping the roadway to meet Delaware Avenue.
The commissioner saying, already, 35,000 to 40,000 people travel down the 198 during peak hours and those proposals would make the area more congested.
Cadzow looks on at the commissioner’s coworkers as they’re discussing the changes and as his kids are playing beside him.
“Three of the six people living in my house have asthma,” said Cadzow. “It’s from all the pollutants coming from those cars. We never thought we’d be living along an expressway.”
Cadzow bought the house along the parkway around eight years ago, years after the discussion first started. He thought the road would be a boulevard by now. And now, fears it may never be like that as the state is saying this is the final design play they’re putting out there.
“It’s really disappointing,” said Cadzow. “I’m offended by what we saw and their refusal to actually engage with us.”