Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Williamsville plans to upgrade Main Street

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Buffalo: Williamsville plans to upgrade Main Street
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Williamsville is finalizing a plan to upgrade its Main Street. The goal is to create a safer, more enjoyable environment for pedestrians.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — "We recognize that we're New York State Route 5. It has it's benefits," Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa said. "For one, we have great exposure out here for our business. But it also has its consequences."

Williamsville wants to make Main Street more pedestrian friendly.

"The walkability is great if you're staying on the same side, but I'm trying to cross over and it's a little hectic," Steven Cecil, a visitor from Dallas, said.

"If you're trying to cross the street, there are so many cars, you have to like run to the middle and wait. It's kind of dangerous," Williamsville stylist April Barnes said.

The village board has spent the better part of a year working on a plan that includes a handful of projects.

"We're willing to put in our sweat equity and as much as we can, do some finance for some small parts of the project but we need to appeal to other agencies for some help," Kulpa said.

The village is reaching out to the state and is planning to apply for grants in hopes of funding all of this. The cost for all of the projects could be at least $6 million.

"We're able to kind of break that down," Kulpa said. "Our real high priority stuff is maybe $2.5 (million) to $3 (million). We're able to do a little bit a la carte."

Mayor Brian Kulpa said the priority projects include installing a new type of signal in the middle of town.

"It starts a countdown," Kulpa said. "It slows traffic, brings it to a stop. It looks a lot like a railroad crossing minus the arm. Then it allow pedestrians some movement. Once pedestrians are across it opens traffic back up and allows traffic to move."

The plan also calls for curb extensions at intersections.

"It gives pedestrians a better vantage point because they're out in front of the parked car looking at traffic coming toward them," Kulpa said. "At the same time, it shortens the crossing distance for them."

Village leaders said even though the funding is not yet in place, they are committed to implementing their plan.

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