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Living in Amherst is hazardous to your health

Living in Amherst is hazardous to your health

Crossing the street might just kill you.

Amherst is the largest town in upstate NY with a population of 122,000. But Amherst population almost doubles each day with over 90,000 cars, mostly back office workers driving here to work in IDA subsidized offices grid locking our main thoroughfares, speeding down residential streets and impeding emergency vehicles. Pedestrians are mowed down on Maple, Sheridan, Transit and Niagara Falls Blvd. And a quartet of Amherst cops is needed to get families across Main Street for Old Home Days—alive.

Unchecked commercial development and ignoring the effect of becoming the back office capital of the world has a cumulative and negative effect on every area of Amherst. The planners and politicians have failed to develop a street pattern and capacity to accommodate the influx of workers and folks just passing through. Just ask the police chief, a fire chief or ambulance driver how it’s working for them.

And it’s about to get worse.

The announced Westwood project, with housing for 1,700 people and 2,100 commercial parking spaces for shops and yet another hotel is sure to generate lots more traffic. Count ‘em. Almost 4,000 if everybody goes out in their car once a day. 8,000 if they come back.

Every developer has the right to build on land they own. They do not have the right to have a negative effect on everyone in town. The Westwood project should be approved the year after the politicians solve the traffic gridlock issue on all the main streets in Amherst. That should be in 2099.

In the meantime, Amherst remains hazardous to your health, a menace to pedestrians and the ultimate asphalt jungle.

- Michele F. Marconi, Amherst

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