By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette —
A pedestrian traffic signal city lawmakers wanted installed on a particularly troublesome Pine Avenue block several months ago will not be installed before the end of the year.
City Engineer Jeffrey Skurka told city council members this week that delays related to design changes in response to requests made by owners of the Como restaurant, National Grid's unavailability due to Hurricane Sandy and issues with materials will mean the project will have to wait until the spring.
Council members, at the behest of business owners on the 2200 block of Pine Avenue, called for the traffic light after a series of high-profile accidents in which pedestrians were struck by cars on that stretch of road.
Skurka said there was some confusion as to where the light would be installed, as Como owner Louis Antonacci indicated that he wanted it to go in the middle of the block as opposed to a nearby corner as the city's engineering department had proposed.
Skurka said the contractor, South Buffalo Electric, Inc., has asked to delay trenching across Pine Avenue until the spring, in part, because all of the local asphalt plants have closed down for the season.
"If we trench across it right now, we are going to be able to only patch it with cold patch, which might not hold up for the winter," Skurka said.
The contractor put in the foundations for the light poles last week and requested to hold off until spring on Monday morning, the day of the most recent council meeting, Skurka said.
"I've expressed the city council's desire to get this done as soon as possible," Skurka said. "But this is the question that was asked of me this morning."
Coucil Chairman Sam Fruscione said he spoke with Antonacci who said he also didn't want the construction in front of his restaurant to cause a mess during the winter and would rather the city wait until spring.
"Since it's affecting his business the most, if he's happy with it, we're happy with it," Fruscione said.
Fruscione said the cold patch would cause issues for city plows and that Skurka was right in his assessment.
"We'd just cause more damage," Fruscione said. "What he said makes good sense."