Thousands sign petition to restore 50 mph speed limit on Scajaquada

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) In it’s first few days an online petition has generated more than five thousand signatures in favor of restoring the speed limit to 50 miles per hour on Route 198.

It has been more than four years since a little boy was struck and killed in Delaware Park, after a driver fell asleep at the wheel and veered across what was only a curb at the edge of the Scajaquada Expressway.

“Speed had absolutely nothing to do with that unfortunate tragedy that occurred here,” said former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, who launched the online petition on change.org urging the state to restore the speed limit back to 50 miles per hour.

“I think the state might have made this highway more dangerous because some people are driving 30 miles per hour, some forty, some fifty, so you have a hodge-podge right now, and the way the highway is set up, it’s very difficult for law enforcement agencies to position themselves to even stop people who might be exceeding the speed limit,” said Giambra.

Aside from new railings and lowering the speed limit to 30 miles per hour, not much else has changed along the winding Route 198 which cuts through Delaware Park.

Justin Booth, co-chair of a group called Scajaquada Corridor Coaltion, thinks lowering the speed limit was a good start. “I think everyone agrees that design influences behavior and that we need to get a new process moving forward with the state to design the street now for 30 miles per hour and we’re really hopeful to see that process move forward.”

The New York State Department of Transportation released this statement pertaining to the story:

“The New York State Department of Transportation remains willing to move forward on a project that would enhance the experience of all users along the Scajaquada Expressway corridor, while preserving the historical character of the community. However,  the more expansive options favored by some community members requires the DOT to consider alternate approaches to advance the project, which we are continuing to explore. The NYSDOT remains committed and looks forward to a collaborative effort to transform the Scajaquada.”

“All I’m saying is, let the debate take place, let the dialogue continue, but until you make a decision, put it back to fifty miles per hour,” said Giambra.

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