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Safety concerns addressed before the Hamburg School Board

The addition of designated crosswalks near and around Hamburg Middle School is part of a safety program that to be just around the corner in terms of implementation.

Peter Danforth, who is the chairman of the Village of Hamburg Traffic Safety Committee, said at Tuesday’s (April 16) meeting of the Hamburg Central School Board that extending a sidewalk near Hamburg Middle, to go along with installing three designated crosswalks, are key safety items that are part of the Moving Ahead for Progress program. Improving the ingress and egress at the middle school, Danforth said, has long been discussed among village officials.

It was further stated that the New York State Legislature had approved a program titled “Safe Paths to School” that incorporates focused changes and improvements on traffic routes and transportation for students to and from school, a measure that many school districts across Western New York have implemented. Although Hamburg last year had just missed out on applying by the deadline for such funding, federal monies were stated as being appropriated for related program funding in the district for the following two years.

Danforth said official installing of crosswalks and sidewalk extending is awaiting approval from the state department of transportation, as cost estimates must also be given. Solid communication between the Village of Hamburg Traffic Safety Committee and the Hamburg School District’s transportation committee; as well as between Hamburg School District Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch and village officials such as Mayor Thomas J. Moses Sr.; was stated as being key components in the safety program moving forward.

“There have been positive discussions, and it’s been a good working relationship,” Danforth said of the ongoing talks to formulate safety plan parameters.

District officials and residents had spoken several times at various meetings over the last couple of years regarding students’ walking safety near Hamburg Middle School, which was noted as not having any related, nearby crosswalks, with the only noted “walkway” being behind McDonald’s restaurant nearby on South Park Avenue.

Several board members praised the work of the traffic safety and transportation committees for their various brainstorming.

“They’re doing a great job,” said Board President Dr. Joan G. Calkins.

Board Member Holly Balaya added that traffic in general has so far improved in the area of the middle school since talks between the safety committees have progressed.

In other matter Tuesday, Danforth expressed his displeasure with what he described as a “derogatory” letter left by an anonymous individual that was found on the windshield of Danforth’s vehicle about a month ago on a weekend morning. Danforth said the letter contained derogatory and critical remarks toward various Hamburg school and village officials, with the letter allegedly being generated by a local social action group that is active in blogging.

The chairman of the Hamburg Village Traffic Safety Committee added that the letter was subsequently submitted to the Hamburg Village Police Department, with the action group’s Web site being further investigated.

“The people involved in this (social action group/Web site) are bad,” said Danforth, who stated that if a school board member is part of the social action group that generated this letter, then that individual should resign. “I take this (letter) as a personal insult.”

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