Published on November 25th, 2013 | by growwny


Are you ready to walk the plank: Transportation



Don’t let the title fool you. We’re not talking pirates here, we’re talking policy. Recently, the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) declared its 2014 Action Agenda, which consists of 10 planks (or action items) from 7 different Working and Process Groups. Until the end of the year, the GrowWNY Team will be taking you through the content of the Action Agenda and how you can be involved! As always, you can track the progress of the Alliance’s annual agenda by checking each groups’ minutes page, joining a listserv, coming to a meeting, or reading the meeting recaps on our blog.

The 2014 Action Agenda Item for the Transportation Working Group is as follows:

Transform the Scajaquada corridor to a Complete Street through advocacy and public participation by:

  • —Influencing NYSDOT and consultants to propose key recommendations for the enhancement of the Scajaquada corridor and request the NYSDOT develop a design alternative that meets all the enhancement recommendations of the coalition to be studied in the environmental Impact Statement
  • Organizing, promoting and holding public hearings and comment periods to inform and include the community in the transformation process
  • Developing a proposal that specifically details community expectations for the corridor

This is the second year in a row that the Transportation Working Group is focusing in on the Scajaquada corridor. The group made fantastic progress toward this goal last year by obtaining support from local politicians including NYS Assemblymember Sean Ryan. Mayor Byron Brown also announced his support for Sean Ryan’s plan on the Scajaquada and has made a commitment to make Buffalo more bicycle friendly.

The Scajaquada Expressway was constructed in the 1950’s to connect the I-190 to Route 33 and the I-90 as part of an interstate highway system.  The expressway, designed only for vehicles and in a manner that moves traffic through the City instead of improving access to the City, has had many negative impacts on the surrounding community.  It has severed Delaware Park in half, ruining its historic and aesthetic character, and has created a barrier between the neighborhoods to the north and neighborhoods to the south.  This barrier makes it extremely difficult to navigate through this section of the City without a car, and therefore is impeding ongoing efforts by the City and other transportation organizations to increase the walkability of neighborhoods and decrease the percentage of trips that are being made by car. Additionally, the Scajaquada Expressway is underutilized by vehicles and only comes close to the vehicular capacity it was designed for during the peak travel time of 4pm-6pm.

By transforming this expressway into a complete street, the group hopes to restore the neighborhood, increase access to the park through all modes of transportation and increase the safety of this area of Buffalo. The group, through many partnerships, has collected a lot of feedback from community members and organizations. Some of the major changes they hope to implement in the Scajaquada corridor are:

  • Slower speed limits of 30 mph to increase the safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike
  • Coordinating with the NFTA to encourage alternative modes of transportation
  • Implementing pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes that will increase access to Delaware Park
  • Using green technology to combat storm water run off

To learn more about the project, read the Scajaquada Journal White Paper.

Don’t stop there! Come to the next Transportation Working Group meeting to learn more about the plans for 2014, and how you can be a part of the Scajaquada Corridor transformation. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for January 17 at 10 am at City Hall, Room 502. To stay up-to-date on meeting times and locations, join the group’s listserv. Also, make sure to check out what the group worked on last year by reading their past meeting minutes and meeting recaps.

Keep checking the GrowWNY blog for updates on this group’s Action Item.

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