Progress: Union Road & NY-33 Intersection Added to Transportation Improvement Priorities List - Work Expected to Prioritize Pedestrian Safety

Changes are slated for busy intersection following deadly accident in 2018 and study by NYSDOT at the request of Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Wallace

16-Year-Old Cleveland Hill High School student was killed in tragic accident while biking to her summer job

Cheektowaga, N.Y. – Today, Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster), Senator Timothy Kennedy (D-Buffalo), and Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski (D-Cheektowaga) announced that the traffic study they requested of the Union Road and NY-33 intersection has been completed, and it found that the area’s collision rate is above the statewide average of similar intersections. As a result, safety improvements are now scheduled to occur in the spring of 2021. Wallace, Kennedy, and Benczkowski also noted that the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) is asking for public input into the proposed project through May 7, 2019.

The GBNRTC concluded that several changes to the intersection are required to make the area safer for both vehicles and pedestrians, including:

  • Replace signal(s) at the NY 33 ramp(s) to accommodate back plates, overhead signage, and APS
  • Construct pedestrian facilities in accordance with Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
  • Close Airport Plaza driveway (approximately 100 feet north of another Plaza entrance/exit)

The proposed project is the result of a study of the busy intersection that the three elected officials requested following a tragic accident last summer. On July 30, 2018, Sherilann Lorenz, a 16-year-old Cleveland Hill High School student, was fatally struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle through the intersection on her way to her summer job.

“We live in an age where more and more individuals, including teenagers, are getting around by alternative means of transportation,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chair Tim Kennedy. “Our infrastructure needs to reflect that, and I am pleased that the GBNRTC is giving this project the attention it both needs and deserves. 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 resulted in the loss of Sherilann Lorenz left our community heartbroken,” said Assemblymember Monica Wallace. “I am pleased that our request for a study was completed swiftly, and that the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council has proposed improvements which will prioritize the safety of pedestrians and motorists. I encourage members of our community to now make their voices heard by participating in the public comment period.”

"This is a positive step forward in making this stretch of Union Road safer for pedestrians and drivers," said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski. "It is tragic that it took the loss of a young, vibrant student in our community to lead the way for these changes, but I thank Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Wallace for their strong advocacy on this issue and preventing future harm to others. I encourage all residents to voice their opinion during this public comment period and have a say in making this section safer."

Public comments may be submitted by email to; in writing to GBNRTC Executive Director, 438 Main Street, Suite 503, Buffalo, NY 14202; or by phone at 716-856-2026.