Officials call for action on deadly Cheektowaga intersection

Jul 20, 2015

The deaths of two young residents in less than a year has elected officials calling for greater safety at Walden Avenue and Harlem Road in Cheektowaga.

Two people have died in the last year crossing the busy intersection at Harlem and Walden.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

Chelsea Chandler, 19, recently became the second young person to die at this intersection, following the death of 12-year old Mujtoba Rafid in August 2014.  Rafid was was hit by two cars while on his bike.

State Assemblymember Angela Wozniak says she has been working with the Department of Transportation for the past few weeks. Wozniak says the DOT is optimistic that the crosswalks can be repainted, street lighting can be improved and new technology can be installed to make it safer to cross the intersection.

"This can't wait," Wozniak said at a Monday morning news conference at the site.

State Senator Tim Kennedy says 60,000 vehicles travel the intersection every day. Kennedy says the loss of two young lives is too many and the DOT must act.

"Chealsea Chandler and Mujtoba Rafid, they lived right around the block here. They knew this intersection very, very well," said Kennedy. "It is mind-boggling and it is very scary and we need the Department of Transportation to address these issues immediately.

Cheektowaga Supervisor Mary Holtz says traffic in the neighborhood has grown tremendously in recent years.

"This neighborhood has been a longtime walking neighborhood. We have people on wheelchairs that come down this road. We have babies in their carriages. We have kids on bicycles," said Holtz. "Unfortunately, we've let the signal go too long and too far."