By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — KENMORE — In the village, there are two groups of people — those who drive on Delaware Avenue as if it’s one lane, and those who drive on it as if it’s two.
The first plays it safe despite the extra pavement, while the second group often loses its lane to immobile, parked cars on the side of the road.
But according to the state Department of Transportation, one of the groups is in the right.
“It’s really striped as one lane, but people do drive it as two,” Darrell Kaminski, regional director of the state Department of Transportation said.
Soon, the battle between swerving and maneuvering vehicles will be over, as the DOT is prepared to restripe a mile of the road in Kenmore and clearly delineate the rules of the road.
“There will be the parking lanes, a middle, two-way turning lane and one lane in each direction,” Kaminski said.
As a result of the two-way turning lane, drivers coming from Buffalo will now be able to make a left-hand turn onto Lincoln Boulevard.
The “no left hand turn” sign that sits at Lincoln is what inspired Mang to talk to the DOT months ago.
“It drove me nuts that we couldn’t make a left to access the municipal lot,” Mang said. “We have two new businesses, the jewelry store and the dance studio, and you can’t get to them unless you drive down to the next block.”
Mang also said he hopes the changes will slow down traffic and encourage drivers to take a look at the new businesses, many of which recently received a facelift thanks to Nick Sinatra’s work.
An owner of one of those shops, Mike’s Subs, agreed with Mang.
“What happens is that people see the businesses on the left...Mike’s, Fringe, Elliott Travel, Mia Dolcezza ... they see all that, and then they make a left, and they get a ticket,” Bolt said. “It’s the centerpiece of the issue.”
Bolt said he talked to many owners and managers of businesses on the newly revamped Delaware Avenue that all have had angry customers that received tickets while trying to get to the free parking lot.
The shared turning lane will also make it easier for drivers to make a left on to Delaware from the side streets, as drivers will only have to wait for traffic to clear on their side of the road before entering what many call the “suicide lane.”
“It will be better for residents,” Bolt said.
The business owners are all for the changes, and Sinatra, Brian Higgins and Mark Grisanti have written letters of support for the restriping.
Some parking on Delaware will be lost at the north and south end of the village to account for the transition from two lanes to one, but Kaminski said the loss of parking will be minimal.
A hearing on the proposed changes was held Tuesday night, and the board will have to pass a resolution approving the restriping before the DOT makes the changes.
Mang said the resolution should be presented sometime in March, and Kaminski said that as soon as that happens, the DOT is ready to go.
If there are any problems or the village isn’t happy with the results, the DOT could reverse the changes during a scheduled repaving of Delaware in the summer of 2014.
“It’s good to do it this way because it gives us the flexibility to change it,” Kaminski said.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150