Weekly Feature

2018-05-16 / Front Page

Tonawanda discusses redesign of Parker Boulevard


In 2015, the Town of Tonawanda established a Complete Streets Committee to begin addressing challenges and opportunities for local streets.

The town Department of Planning and Development held a public meeting at the DFK Pavilion on Thursday in regard to the redesign of Parker Boulevard from Englewood Avenue to Sheridan Drive.

“Over the past several years, we’ve had a lot of input from people saying they love to use the trail for walking and biking,” said Jim Jones, town engineer. “We think this is a healthy lifestyle, so we are promoting areas where we can install bike lanes and improve walkability.”

Specifically, discussion centered around plans for a possible roundabout at the Parker and Decatur intersection. In August, the Town of Tonawanda held a three-day demonstration where it set up a mini-roundabout at that area with the purpose of capturing traffic movements, collecting data and surveying the public.

The results of the demonstration were announced at Thursday’s meeting. Although it was determined that vehicle speeds were reduced by 15 percent, or 5 mph, during that three-day stretch, 61 percent of the 431 public responses were still opposed to placing a roundabout at the Parker-Decatur intersection.

The main complaints voiced by the public included the following statements:

• “Waste of taxpayer dollars.”

• “Still unsafe for pedestrians.”

• “Too difficult to navigate for large vehicles such as first responders.”

Adding a roundabout at the Parker-Decatur intersection is just part of the overall project. As a whole, the project aims to add northbound and southbound bicycle lanes, rehabilitate the pavement surface for up to 15 blocks to enhance bicycle ride comfort, modify the streetscape for one-side parking, update 16 intersections to make them Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and add curb extensions at several intersections.

James Hartz, the director of community development for the town, gave a timeline for the proposed project.

“We are waiting for the announcement of several grant opportunities that we would use to fund this project,” Hartz said. “We expect that announcement by the end of this month. Once those grant opportunities become available, we will present to the Town Board for funding this project.”

If the plan is approved, people would see the roundabout sometime next year. Those interested in learning more about the “Complete Streets” project can visit: www.tonawanda.ny.us/departments/ planning-development/ plans/complete-streets.

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