What To Do With The 198?

I’m guilty of it as much as the next person. The way it turns and then climbs, and even though the speed limit was 50 miles an hour, that seemed more like a suggested starting speed and not the limit. What I am speaking of is treating the 198 as a mini version of the Audubon, you know the famous road in Berlin, where there is literally no speed limit.

There I was again yesterday coming from the I-190 South towards the 198 interchange and my first thought was to make sure I gunned it coming off the ramp so I wouldn’t be cut off. This time, though a large road sign greeted me to slow down, as the speed limit had been changed to 30 MPH. This is of course in reaction to the terrible accident this past weekend in which a 3 year-old boy lost his life, and his 5 year-old sister is in ICU at Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

A Vigil set up where the accident took place. (Photo: Andrea Marvin, WGRZ)

The accident itself involved a motorist who suffers from narcolepsy, and may have fallen asleep at the wheel of his car. He then came into the park at a high rate of speed and hit the those two children along with their mother inside the walking ring of Delaware Park. While it sounds crazy, I am not surprised something like this has happened earlier. The fact that a small curb is what keeps vehicles from coming of the 198 and into the park has always astonished me. In the winter the 198 is an absolute nightmare to drive, it is rarely plowed enough, and the fact that people treat it as a chance to step on the gas leads to accidents daily in the winter months.

While I think that Governor Cuomo jumped the gun by reducing the whole 198 to 30 miles per hour immediately, I think he does have a point. Realistically 30 MPH on the 198 could be a big issue, and lead to increased traffic, and backups on the small thoroughfare. It is used quite a bit to transport people into and out of the city as well as students to Buffalo State, Medaille, and D’Youville College. So turning into a sort of parkway may just be out of the question. It seems it would be simpler to just erect barriers on the parts where the park comes into the picture, while lowering the speed limit to 40 MPH there, and increasing it back to 50 MPH over by the Elmwood Avenue exit. Some have suggested a tunnel to reconnect the parks, turning it into a parkway with a permanent 30 MPH speed limit, or doing away with the road all together.

These are not going to stop the speeding. Photo via http://www.twcnews.com

The one thing I didn’t notice while driving was any actual police protection on the 198 at all yesterday. The best way to even describe driving on it was awkward. Some people wanted to speed up, while others tried to cruise at 30 MPH only to be tailgated which led to some interesting lane change maneuvers which are probably better suited for the real Audubon. Electronic devices flashed away the speeds at which people were driving, but not one cop was located anywhere on there all the way up to the Delaware Ave. Exit where I got off. Whether for or against the 198, one way or the other something has to be done and the sooner the better. As it is now it’s no safer than the day of that terrible accident, and we owe it to that family to make sure nothing like that ever happens AGAIN!!!!

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