Weekly Feature

2018-05-16 / Front Page

Town expected to review project charter proposal

Niagara Falls Boulevard master plan
by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Supervisor Brian Kulpa, during the Town Board’s meeting on Wednesday, is expected to introduce a Niagara Falls Boulevard project charter that outlines a master plan process for proposed redevelopment of the streetscape and enhancement of safety for the thoroughfare’s drivers and pedestrians.

With Niagara Falls Boulevard being considered a shared boundary according to the project, the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda will be working jointly to create the road’s new master plan.

“The Town of Tonawanda has as much economic and safety concerns as we have on this,” the supervisor said. “We’re excited to get started on this.”

According to Kulpa’s resolution, the project will involve all possible levels of representation from both towns, including council members, chambers of commerce, industrial development agencies and police departments.

Kulpa said some of the increased safety measures for Niagara Falls Boulevard could include better sight lines for motorists and lowering the speed limit in some portions of the road.

“There’s a lot of volume there that moves way too quickly,” the supervisor said. “We want to make sure people feel safe in wanting to travel there and be there as a pedestrian.”

Kulpa also said the need to develop a master plan for Niagara Falls Boulevard grows each time a vehicle collision occurs or a pedestrian is injured or killed on the roadway.

He cited the most recent pedestrian incident as an example.

At about midnight Saturday, Jennifer L. Duffin of Amherst was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross in the 2000 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard, which is between Home Depot and the Interstate 290 interchanges. According to Amherst police, Duffin died as a result of her injuries.

“I think that this accident really shows that the Boulevard does need major changes,” Kulpa said. “I think that what happened this weekend was a sign.”

Kulpa said discussion of the project charter was initiated in January. The project is scheduled to begin in July, with a tentative completion in July 2019. In the second half of this year, stakeholder meetings will be conducted, and an event to discuss new urbanism aspects for Niagara Falls Boulevard is planned to be held in October.

“We will be planning community meetings to give people a seat at the table on this,” Kulpa said. “We want people to be involved.”

The matter will be discussed by the Town Board during its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, in the Council Chambers at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

The meeting will be preceded by a 4 p.m. work session, also set to be held in the Council Chambers.

A review of the board’s vote regarding the project charter will be included in the May 23 edition of The Amherst Bee.

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