Following Fatal Accident Involving 16-year-old Cheektowaga Student, Kennedy & Wallace Demanded Action from NYSDOT
NYSDOT Will Give Special Focus to Improving Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety at Intersection that Hosts Thousands of Cars Every Day
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y.— In response to a joint letter sent to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) requesting a traffic study of Union Road by the Kensington Expressway, Senator Timothy Kennedy (D-Buffalo) and Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that the NYSDOT will be commencing a safety evaluation study of the busy Cheektowaga intersection to identify opportunities for immediate pedestrian and bicyclist safety improvements. NYSDOT will also perform additional operational reviews as part of the state’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan and will recommend a distinct set of engineering, education, and enforcement measures to be incorporated into future construction projects.
The request was made by Kennedy and Wallace following the tragic death of Sherilann Lorenz, a 16-year-old Cleveland Hill High School student who was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle through the intersection on her way to her summer job on July 30.
“We live in an age where more and more individuals, including teenagers, are getting around by alternative means of transportation,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “Our infrastructure needs to reflect that, and I am pleased that NYSDOT has agreed to review this busy and dangerous intersection with a special focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety. One death at an intersection is one too many, and I hope that Sherilann Lorenz’s family can take some small comfort in knowing that her tragic death is leading to action to protect others.”
“The tragic accident that led to the loss of a Sherilann Lorenz left our community heartbroken,” said Assemblymember Monica Wallace. “This is a consistently busy intersection coupled with many pedestrians walking or riding their bikes to local businesses and parks. Their safety, as well as the safety of motorists, must be prioritized to prevent another tragedy from happening. I am pleased that Commissioner Karas is taking our request seriously and that a study will be conducted, and I look forward to reviewing the results of the Department of Transportation’s work.”
“Everyone has been left devastated by the tragic death of Sherilann Lorenz,” said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. “While we mourn the loss of Sherilann, we have committed to do all we can to prevent future tragedies from occurring. I thank Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Wallace for their immediate action in requesting the NYSDOT to study this dangerous intersection. With the NYSDOT focusing on opportunities for improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety at this intersection, I am hopeful we can honor Sherilann and help prevent future accidents.”
Wallace and Kennedy will continue to work with the DOT as it conducts its study. Both legislators are committed to fighting for additional support from the state Legislature should it be necessary.