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Town of Wheatfield: Traffic issues brought up in light of hit-and-run

by jmaloni
Fri, Dec 12th 2014 03:50 pm

by Autumn Evans

After the death of Ryan Fischer, the 16-year-old killed in a hit-and-run on Krueger Road last month, concerned citizens addressed Wheatfield's Town Board Monday to share their fears about traffic safety issues in the town.

Deborah Fadel, a neighbor of Fischer's, said that despite four stop signs, plus an additional sign warning there is a stop sign, "We know that that is a problem area for speeding."

Her concern was mainly for another neighbor, a person with special needs who lives across the street from her and who often rides a tricycle back and forth between St. Johnsburg firehall. She said she spoke to Highway Department Superintendent Paul Siegmann, who said he would try to get extra patrols and a digital mileage sign out on the street.

"I'm also requesting a sign to be placed between the last stop sign and Ward Road, stating there is a resident with special needs who needs to be looked out for," Fadel said, adding, "I've always been concerned about his welfare, but in turn it wasn't him. It was our neighbor's son instead."

Another Wheatfield resident, Betty Skrzypek, addressed the board in tears.

"I've lived here for 30 years, and I've always been concerned about the safety of our young people and our adults," she said. She brought up the fact that many roads in Wheatfield have no shoulder.

"We have a playground on Deborah Lane, and as the children cross the tracks, there's no shoulder at all, they're right in the road," Skrzypek said. "We need to have more safety for our young people and adults. They don't know to walk facing traffic, they have the cars at their backs and they're getting hit because they can't see oncoming traffic."

She said she contacted the highway department last year about getting wider shoulders on some roads and was unable to reach then-superintendent Art Kroening, but his secretary said it would be too costly.

Skrzypek told the board that the safety of residents depends on their ability to travel around the community.

"They can't ride bikes, they can't do anything," she said. "There is no shoulder, all it is is road. So if you could do something I would greatly appreciate it."

As Skrzypek walked back to her seat, she received some applause from the other residents in attendance.

In other town board news:

•The board approved a request by the Niagara County Department of Social Services to allow them to purchase gas through the town, at the cost of an extra 5 cents per gallon, on a trial basis of one year.

"One of the things that we're required to do is to look at shared services. It's going to be more important in the future than it has been in the past," said Supervisor Bob Cliffe. "Working together with the county with their $300-odd-million budget compared to our $12-million budget is a way to hopefully save some money, and here's a chance for us to help give back to them."

•Town Attorney Robert O'Toole announced the fire advisory board had responded with its input on the proposed biosolids law remediation clause. He said its suggestions had not yet been incorporated, but he expected to have it ready by the next board meeting.

•Recreation Department Director Mike Ranalli announced the youth center will be open for kids during the winter break from school, and the cost is $30 per day.

•A bid was opened for engineering services in the town. Proposals were submitted by Hatch Mott MacDonald, Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Wendel Companies, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates and Clark Patterson Lee.

•The Wheatfield Lions Club was authorized to operate the Fairmount Park Snack Bar for the 2015 season.

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