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Thread: Lancaster sprawl and resulting infrastructure issues; Part II: Traffic safety/traffic

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    Lancaster sprawl and resulting infrastructure issues; Part II: Traffic safety/traffic

    A few individuals appeared at the last town board and spoke on the need for infrastructure improvements; improvements that would reduce the potential for accidents taking place and where they specifically referred to the tragic death of 14 year-old on Lake Avenue.

    They spoke on the issues of development impacting major roads and on how William Street is only two lanes wide, ill lit, and with recessed drainage ditches near the roadway. Unfortunately, of all the roads they referred to, only one was a town road, Lake Avenue south of William Street.

    William Street is of primary concern to me as I live in one of the subdivisions that connect to William Street. Over the past decade several of us residents have appeared before the town board speaking on the unsafe conditions and asking for relief.

    What is disturbing is that although William Street is a county road, for decades the town was reticent in moving the county to improve William Street (and other county roads) – especially when there was money to do so. There is no money now, so what you see is what you get on William Street; a two-lane road with turning lanes and signalization at the following intersections – Penora, Aurora, Lake and Bowen Roads.

    Traffic counts and traffic safety

    According to the latest 2009 Greater Buffalo-Niagara Transportation Committee traffic count study there were 27,800 vehicles travelling Transit Road between the intersections of Transit/French Road and the Transit Road and William/Losson intersection. That was before Wal-Mart and other businesses went into operation.

    According to the latest 2007 Greater Buffalo-Niagara Transportation Committee traffic count study there were 13,500 vehicles travelling William Street at that time. That was prior to the additions of the Wal-Mart, Aldi, and several other businesses that were developed in the Flix Theater complex and use William to exit onto in order to get to signalization at Transit Road, thereby making a left onto Transit to head south. It is next to impossible to safely make a left from the Flix complex onto Transit Road. The count must be at least 15,000 today.

    According to a recent Lancaster police department accident report list, from 2009 until 5-08-12, there have been 134 accidents on William Street, from Transit Road to Bowen Road. While all involved vehicular damage, 22 involved personal injury.

    38 accidents (28.4% of the total 134) are noted on the report as taking place at or near the Transit Road intersection; 4 in 2009; 10 in 2010, 17 in 2011; 7 in only 4 months time in 2012. They are trending upwards as business begin operating; Wal-Mart in late 2009.

    6 accidents reported from the Flix Theater driveway to the west side of Penora.

    Only 3 accidents reported at the William/Penora intersection.

    10 accidents from the east side of Penora to the south side of Aurora.

    27 accidents reported at the William and Aurora intersection.

    14 accidents from the east side of Aurora to the west side of Lake Avenue

    13 accidents at the Lake Avenue/William Street intersection

    3 accidents from east side of Lake Avenue to the William Street School

    7 accidents reported from the William Street School to Bowen Road

    13 accidents reported at Bowen Road

    Unlike the individuals who spoke at the previous board meeting, I believe that the lighting on William Street is adequate. However, there is insufficient road width for a bike path and therefore there is risk in walking or biking this road. A town/county study was performed several years ago to look at the possibility of widening William Street to a three lane road. There is not enough road right-away to allow for a turning lane unless property would be taken by eminent domain and the cost to do so was deemed prohibitive - $15 million. The county put in for a federal grant that it most likely did not receive and the road was repaved and signalization was installed at Penora Drive.

    In other words, all the improvements that can be made to William Street have been made. It is what it is and will remain so. Should it have been widened years ago, of course it should have. Should there have another major east-west road constructed between Bowen and Transit Road, of course there should have. As late as 2010, I was told by the town board that there were no major traffic issues in Lancaster; and that included William Street.

    Signalization synchronization at the Wal-Mart driveway with the Transit Road signal to prevent east-west traffic backups on Transit Road has not taken place, and it appears will there ever be such synchronization in place to eliminate the traffic problems that occur during peak hour traffic and where vehicles are backed up into Transit Road.

    Most disturbing is when people say, “Why did you ever move there, you should have known better. Twenty-five years ago there was no way for residents to know how the south side of Lancaster was going to be developed, residentially and commercially, or that William Street would never be improved. Past town and planning boards had but one vision, namely to build out the town. Unfortunately that vision did not include any foresight to accommodate for the growth by building new roads and/or improving/widening county roads.

    Equally unfortunate is that rezones and rezones of rezones took place to make this so-called Gateway to Lancaster a traffic nightmare.

    It has been disturbing to hear over the years our previous administrations take the tact, “It’s a county road/bridge and there is nothing we can do about it.”

    The town creates the problems, the residents complain, the town blames the residents.

  2. #2
    "A town/county study was performed several years ago to look at the possibility of widening William Street to a three lane road. There is not enough road right-away to allow for a turning lane unless property would be taken by eminent domain and the cost to do so was deemed prohibitive - $15 million. The county put in for a federal grant that it most likely did not receive and the road was repaved and signalization was installed at Penora Drive." From Lee's Article

    So, basically William is inadequate, but let's keep adding to the problem anyway.

    For years we've been told we need another North/South roadway. Ask anyone inconvenienced by the dual bridge repairs. They'd probably say, "Hell Yeah"!

    Now it looks like we're going to need another east/west roadway in the south, if there's any room left.

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