Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 4, 2013

Grant would cover Transit medians

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — South Transit Road highway medians would reduce traffic accidents and attract investment but would not resemble the Transit Road down in Amherst, Clarence or Williamsville, Town of Lockport officials said Tuesday.

The medians are a design component of the Transit North Historic Canalway Corridor, an eight-mile stretch of retail shopping from Main Street in the City of Lockport to Tonawanda Creek Road in Pendleton. The goal is to turn South Transit into a major retail center, drawing locals who currently shop elsewhere, as well as tourists.

Economic Development Director David R. Kinyon said the medians would run from Robinson Road north to the city line, divided into five sections. Only 887 of the 6,850 feet there would be medians, roughly 12.9 percent of distance.

The first section would run from just north of the Transit and Robinson intersection to the Lockport Outdoor Store and Faery’s Farm Market, roughly 360 feet in length. The next section would run 90 feet in front of Applebee’s, followed by a 60-foot third section in front of the current Walmart, then a 120-foot section in front of Heinrich Chevrolet. The last section would run about 180 feet in front of Wendy’s.

Design ideas for the medians would include landscaping, trees, flower beds, signs and lighting. The purpose is to improve the aesthetics of the South Transit Road corridor for current and future development, Kinyon said, which in turn grows revenue for the town.

“Sales tax is such a huge factor,” he said.

Medians would also help reduce traffic accidents in the corridor, Supervisor Marc R. Smith said. Each year there are roughly 1,000 accidents in the proposed Transit North area.

But, residents shouldn’t worry about South Transit Road turning into Transit Road in Amherst or Williamsville, Smith said. The heavy traffic area in and around Eastern Hills Mall features traffic medians. 

“That was something we said we didn’t want,” he said.

Letters of support for the medians have come from a number of business and property owners along South Transit Road, Kinyon said.

To help cover the cost of the medians, town officials submitted an application Aug. 16 for a Transportation Enhancement Grant, a federally funded grant awarded by the state transportation department. The amount would be $384,000 but would come with a 20 percent local match, meaning Lockport would be on the hook for about $96,000.

The entire project would be about $480,000, Kinyon said. Grant awards are expected to be announced sometime in the fall.

Transit North as a whole would be a benefit for the town, Kinyon said, as a Nielsen Claritas study said there was a demand for goods and services within a 15-mile radius of Transit in the range of $700 million and $1 billion.

Since 2010 about $7.3 million has been invested in South Transit, Kinyon said, leading to the creation of 137 jobs.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.