New York State is embracing Complete Streets – those that are designed and built to give equal access and protection to people on foot, on bikes, in chairs, using transit, and to drivers. As more politicians jump in on the movement, the pressure is growing for NYSDOT to leave the 20th century behind and finally embrace the 21st when redesigning and rebuilding the roadways and highways in its jurisdiction.
The NYSDOT is all about moving vehicles as quickly as possible, with as many obstacles to those cars removed as possible. They rarely give any consideration to the safety of those outside of vehicles, and the state’s skyrocketing rate of traffic injuries and deaths is a direct result of that policy. There’s an ongoing movement to get Governor Hochul to sign a Complete Streets Funding bill into law. The state Assembly and Senate passed the measure which would increase the amount of money municipalities would receive from the state when they redesign and rebuild their roads with Complete Streets standards. The NYSDOT would not like to see that bill become law, because despite all the positive effects on health, economic development and safety, it would slow cars down.
So we are thrilled to see Assemblywoman Karen McMahon continue to apply that pressure on NYSDOT to adapt to modern practices. On North Forest between North Union and Sheridan, there’s an opportunity to recognize the school zone, church, and heavy residential development here, and McMahon points to the widely available data showing that most drivers are speeding, which we know leads to injury and death. She also says that trucks should be removed from this route, that sidewalks should be installed where there are none.
This is how we make it easier for adults and children to walk and ride to where they’re going safely, confidently, and increase community health. Thanks, Assemblywoman McMahon for pressing to build a stronger, safer community here.
Here’s the letter (and linked here.)
October 20, 2022
Michael J. Roche, PE
Regional Traffic Engineer
NYS Department of Transportation
100 Seneca Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Re: NY Route 277, North Forest Road between North Union Road and Sheridan Drive
Dear Mr. Roche:
I am writing in support of the request by the Town of Amherst Traffic Safety Board (ATSB) to modify North Forest Road between North Union Road and Sheridan Drive to fit the residential character of the neighborhood. While this section of roadway is a state highway, the corridor is entirely residential with the exception of an elementary school and a church. By reducing vehicle speeds, removing truck traffic, and removing the state highway designation, we can improve safety for all who use this roadway.
North Forest is a two-lane highway with an AADT of 9,075 (2020) and an 85th percentile speed of 43 mph within a posted speed limit of 40 mph. I agree with the ATSB that NYSDOT should pursue changes on North Forest Road that would benefit traffic and pedestrian safety.
Specifically, I see an opportunity for the State to follow its Complete Street policy and improve non-vehicular modes of transportation by installing missing sidewalk, improving the safety of bicycle travel by installing bicycle lanes, narrowing driving lanes, and lowering traveling speeds by signage and/or traffic calming. Please consider this a request to study and implement these changes.
As part of a DOT review, residents have also asked that oversized trucks be banned by removing Route 277 from the designated qualifying and access highway list. Please include this as part of your review.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.
Karen M. McMahon
Member, 146th Assembly District
Cc: Christopher Schregel, traffic safety coordinator, Town of Amherst Engineering Dept.