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NYSDOT announces completion of $4.2 million transportation enhancement project in Amherst

PRESS RELEASE

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today joined federal, state and local officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a $4.2 million highway rehabilitation project to improve pedestrian safety and mobility on NY Route 5, Main Street, in the Town of Amherst and Village of Williamsville in Erie County. The project introduced traffic calming initiatives that created a more balanced system for all modes of transportation.

"We are committed to strengthening our transportation infrastructure and this significant project will help to ensure safe travel for motorists and pedestrians on Main Street in Amherst and Williamsville," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who attended today's ribbon cutting. "This investment transforms Main Street into a pedestrian-friendly route with curb extensions, enhanced crosswalks, and "HAWK" signals to allow for safe travel for bicyclists and pedestrians in the area."​

 "Working cooperatively with our local partners, we have transformed Main Street into an arterial that now considers the needs of vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic alike," said NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas.  "Williamsville is now a more walkable community with improved safety and mobility for pedestrians walking along and crossing Main Street to access area businesses, which further supports and encourages local economic development."

The project included the resurfacing pavement on Main Street between Interstate 290 and the Williamsville east village line. Curb extensions, known as "bump-outs" were installed at various intersections to improve pedestrian safety and allow for the construction of ramps with detectable warning surfaces.  Enhanced crosswalk pavement markings, upgraded pedestrian push buttons with countdown timers, and updated roadside furniture, including benches, bicycle racks and trash receptacles were also installed along Main Street.

Streetscape improvements within the Central Business District in Williamsville were funded through a $2.1 million federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant awarded to the village of Williamsville. 

A high-intensity crosswalk beacon, or "HAWK" signal, was installed on Main Street in front of the Williamsville Village Hall to improve safety for pedestrians as they cross the street.  The HAWK consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens. The beacon remains dark until a pedestrian pushes a button to activate the HAWK. A series of yellow flashes is then followed by a steady red indication to motorists and a "WALK" indication to pedestrians, allowing them to cross while traffic is stopped. After the pedestrian phase ends, the "WALK" indication changes to a flashing orange hand that notifies pedestrians that their clearance time is ending. The HAWK then displays alternating flashing red indications to motorists while pedestrians finish their crossings before going dark again.

The construction contract was awarded to Concrete Applied Technologies Inc. (CATCO) of Alden, Erie County, in May 2018. 
 
"The transformation of Main Street, made possible with over $3.4 million in federal funding, builds on the village character unique to Williamsville," said Congressman Brian Higgins.  "Main Street represents the backbone of this community and these infrastructure investments bring together neighborhoods, businesses, and people in a walkable and welcoming way."

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer said, ""This critical infrastructure project will improve traffic safety for both motorists and pedestrians. I am pleased that the new and improved Main Street is open to residents in the Town of Amherst and Village of Williamsville."

Supervisor Brian Kulpa said, "Picture Main Street started as a streetscape plan, it became a campaign for a better way to live. I am proud of our community, grateful to New York State DOT, our State and Federal representatives."

Mayor Daniel DeLano said, "The completion of this project is a big moment in our village's history." This was essentially started on the village's end almost 10 years ago with the development of our Community Plan, which called for a safer Main Street. And, that spawned the formation of the Picture Main Street committee, made up of many residents and officials, and ultimately led to this project. The New York State Department of Transportation has been with us every step of the way and we truly thank them for understanding that a safer pedestrian experience on Main Street promotes a healthier business district."
 
Recently, NYSDOT and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee unveiled a new public service announcement and social media campaign focused on the importance of respecting flagging personnel. This year's work zone safety campaign, "Flaggers have families too," is designed to remind motorists that flagging personnel are not attempting to disrupt traffic – they are simply doing their jobs and want to get home safely at the end of each work day. The PSA can be viewed here and here.

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit www.511NY.org, or the mobile site at m.511ny.org.