By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — KENMORE — In an unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Kenmore Village Board passed a resolution allowing the state Department of Transportation to move ahead with changes to the lanes on a mile of Delaware Avenue.
“We had the public hearing at the last meeting, and at that time, the public was in favor of it,” Mayor Patrick Mang said. “We decided to move forward with it.”
As it stands now, some drive on Delaware as if it is one lane, and some drive on it as if it is two. The situation is complicated further by parked cars on the side of the road.
Darrell Kaminski, regional director of the state Department of Transportation, said the changes will clearly lay out one lane in each direction, as well as a middle, two-way turning lane and the parking lanes.
As a result of the two-way turning lane, drivers coming from Buffalo will now be able to make a left onto Lincoln Boulevard.
The “no left hand turn” sign that sits at Lincoln is what inspired Mang to talk to the DOT months ago, as drivers that see the newly revamped Delaware Avenue shops can’t easily access free parking behind the businesses.
Bob Bolt, owner of Mike’s Subs, as well as the owners of other Delaware Avenue businesses, came to the public hearing last month to show their support for the measure.
“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 last month. “It’s the centerpiece of the issue.”
The center, two-way turning lane will also make it easier for those leaving the area to make a left onto Delaware, 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.”
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.
Now that the board has passed the resolution, the DOT will likely begin work in the spring. The changes will come at no cost to the village.
“We hope to have it done by the summer,” Mang said.
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.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150