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Pedestrians trying to cross one of the region’s busiest routes should be safer with the improvements set to begin next week.

New pedestrian “push buttons” will be installed at 18 intersections along a six-mile stretch of Niagara Falls Boulevard in the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda, the state Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The push-button system, an $800,000 project, activates a timer so pedestrians can view a countdown that alerts them to when the light will change.

“This work will deliver a safer, more comfortable environment for walkers along this well-traveled commercial corridor,” said DOT Regional Director Darrell Kaminski. “This highway is used by more than just vehicles, and the upgrades to be constructed will improve mobility for everyone.”

Pedestrian safety on Niagara Falls Boulevard has come into question in recent months, after three women were struck and killed in separate incidents while trying to cross the boulevard. The fatalities – which occurred between last June and February – prompted Town of Tonawanda police to seek a meeting with the DOT to discuss improvements, specifically at the intersection with Willow Ridge Drive.

Kaminski, however, said this project was not a direct result of those pedestrian fatalities.

“This has been on the books for a while. We do this regularly,” Kaminski said of the push-button system, “but it will certainly enhance the ability to cross Niagara Falls Boulevard, so that’s a good thing.”

The 18 locations are located on Niagara Falls Boulevard, between Kenmore Avenue and Tonawanda Creek Road. They include the intersections at:

Kenmore Avenue; Decatur Avenue; Longmeadow Road; Eggert Road; Sheridan Drive; Treadwell Road; Maple Road/Brighton Road; Glenalby Road/Romney Road; the Youngmann Highway; Greenhaven Terrace; Willow Ridge Drive; Vinson Avenue/Edward White Drive; South Ellicott Creek Road; North Ellicott Creek Road; Irvington Drive; Creekside Drive; East Robinson Road; and Tonawanda Creek Road.

In some locations, the work will include the replacement of existing sidewalks, curbs and ramps to conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Motorists may encounter lane closures, so expect delays.

The project is expected to be completed by late fall.

email: jrey@buffnews.com