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Hertel and Colvin intersection: Residents weigh in on potential safety-oriented changes

Author: Charles Roberts

City of Buffalo officials have publicly committed to painting “high-visibility crosswalks” at the Hertel-Colvin intersection, a response to nearby residents’ concern over a lack of safety. Buffalo Common Council Member Joel Feroleto, who represents the Delaware District, also said a traffic study will be conducted to determine if additional safety measures are necessary.

In the meantime, residents continue to share opinions on the future of the five-lane intersection in the heart of North Buffalo.

“At a minimum, the right lanes should be painted with right-only markers,” said Joe Cascio, a homeowner of more than 20 years on Rugby Road, near the Hertel-Colvin intersection. “It’s really dangerous to have vehicles racing from that right lane to get over as the road tapers and on-street parking begins. But quite frankly, some drivers would never know it’s not intended as a straight lane – assuming that’s the case – because it’s not marked.”

Quick fix? No reconfiguration other than adding right-turn-only arrows

The format suggested by Cascio – clearly marked lanes for both left and right turns – can be found at another major intersection in the neighborhood: Hertel and Parkside (which could also benefit from high-visibility crosswalks).

“I live in Parkside but use that intersection several times a week. I totally agree with the [idea of making it a] right-turn-only lane,” Jeanine Baran said of the Hertel-Colvin intersection. “And to further improve pedestrian safety: How about no turn on red [after 4 p.m.]?”

Lynn Schmeidler shares the no-right-on-red sentiment.

“I would also make right on red a no-go,” she said. “I live just three lots from the corner on Colvin. I’m very patient at pulling out of my driveway and make sure there’s no traffic coming, [but] very often, someone whips around the corner at break-neck speed. It’s just a matter of time until they ram into me.”

Sean Brodfuehrer, who lives within walking distance of the Hertel-Colvin intersection, said the city should consider removing the right lane at the intersection.

“My only concern of marking right turn lanes is people speed up to them, looking only left for oncoming traffic and often will just go without ever looking for a pedestrian,” Brodfuehrer said. “I would rather like the right turn lanes eliminated with bump outs to shorten the walk across.

“Maybe we can test these with paint and plants, temporarily, to prove their feasibility without a full traffic study,” he added.

By eliminating the right lane in all directions – including on Hertel – Brodfuehrer said the city could add about 20 parking spots while maintaining space for buses and reducing the crossing distance between 32% and 45%, depending on the direction.

Hertel – overhead with bumpouts and added parking spaces

“This intersection is a nightmare for pedestrians,” said Edward Wilczynski, who is also in favor of bumped out curbs. “I think another reason this corner is tough is due to the gas station having two curb cuts and flowing traffic directly on the sidewalk with no barrier. There is so much space for improvement in North Buffalo in terms of pedestrian access and safety.”

It’s been just over a month since Feroleto announced that high-visibility crosswalks will be painted “this construction season” at Hertel and Colvin. Residents hope it’s the start of more to come for the neighborhood.

“They need more highly visible crossing lines on every corner on Hertel,” David Harvey said. “I have a 5-year-old daughter, and cars never stop before the stop sign – and one of these times, a child is going to get hit. It’s an easy fix and an utter shame it has not been done in over a decade.”

Hertel – zoomed in with bumpouts and added parking

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