Here’s what’s going on in the city’s construction projects that affect bikers and pedestrians.
GObike chairs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, which provides recommendations to the city on the implementation of plans, policy, and projects to ensure safe travel for all roadways users is considered. Not all transformations mean new bike infrastructure.
A board of the city council, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is charged with the review of on-going and future infrastructure projects to ensure they best accommodate the needs of all roadway users including pedestrians, bicyclists, and people with disabilities. Meetings are open to the public and held on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 pm.
Here are the minutes from April 2022’s meeting as construction season kicks off:
Justin Booth, Jalonda Hill, Lauren Mitchell, Lynn Magdol, George Johnson, and Shane Paul of the BPAB were present. Nolan Skipper of DPW, Chris Hawley of OSP, and Valerie Malia of the Common Council staff were present.
Mitchell moved, Magdol seconded, and the BPAB unanimously approved a motion to approve the March 1 meeting minutes.
DPW Project Updates.
Skipper provided a quarterly update from DPW. Skipper stated that substantial construction is expected this season as well as design.
Skipper listed project highlights:
Niagara Street project is ongoing;
Cars on Lower Main Street should be wrapping up this season;
Virginia Street repaving projects should be started this season (Virginia from Main to Elmwood, Bailey from Elk to Clinton)
Bailey Avenue (Streetscape project in design from Winspear to Kensington with phasing to the south as federal funding allows)
Main/Humboldt and Bailey/Delavan upgrades to pedestrian facilities and crosswalks is a standalone project that’ll be underway this summer;
Delaware Avenue (from North Street to Forest Avenue) road diet should be underway this season (with bike lanes and diet of four to three lanes), (Discussions underway with neighbors regarding Gates Circle, with a stakeholder group to be led by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (Lynn Magdol asked if her block club could be included in that stakeholder group);
Suffolk Street (Langfield to Kensington) and others are on the repaving schedule for this season;
Consultant working on Bike Master Plan catalyst projects (such as Broadway/William/Ellicott);
Entertainment District Project is progressing (Chippewa is complete) followed by Franklin and Court Streets;
DPW is still taking applications for the Slow Streets Program (Round 3 is now open);
South Ogden and Dewey are now closed for bridge replacement;
Ohio Street Lift Bridge is progressing and looking at September at best case scenario to reopen;
Allen Street Phase II is started from Main to Wadsworth and will be substantially complete this year;
Jefferson from Main to Best design is underway;
Chandler Street was bid out years ago, working with developer/Councilmember to come to a plan and get it out the door (potential for construction in 2022 but likely 2023);
Abbott Road (Dorrance to city line) is under design with a roundabout being considered;
Schmarder and Skipper are working on concepts for Memorial Drive and will share when available (Water Division has work on Memorial after which repaving will continue north of Memorial Circle);
Money for Maintenance
Significant bump in striping budget ($240,000 this year to be roughly maintained going forward) has allowed for more lane marking and crosswalk work.
Skipper noted that the project list will be public facing so that anyone can look it up any time. Mitchell inquired about staffing levels at DPW, and Skipper responded that the staff is growing but that there are openings.
Booth stated that he is pleased that the City will maintain the striping budget at $240,000 annually if not increase it, and that Hill’s research found that peer municipalities still spend much more. Mitchell suggested that the BPAB should ask the Common Council to increase the budget. Booth noted that the previous budget was only $35,000 annually. Hill agreed that the BPAB should continue to apply pressure to maintain or increase the striping budget, especially after the death of Marcell Ganders. Booth agreed that the BPAB should continue paying attention and keep informed.
Sidewalk Snow Removal.
Magdol updated the BPAB on the Sidewalk Snow Removal Committee’s work, noting that most urgently the BPAB needs to watch the budget process including budget hearings (suggesting that Golombek attend a future meeting). Malia noted that the budget year starts July 1, and that she’d keep the BPAB abreast of future public hearings on the budget.
Booth stated that he’s kept in touch with Golombek on progress to include a budget line for sidewalk snow removal, and that areas with high pedestrian volumes, transit ridership, and crash rates may be priorities. Booth said he believed that the municipal sidewalk snow removal program should be a regular annual budget item, and not subject to any time-specific grant program. Magdol suggested that BPAB members contact their Council members to support a budget line item for sidewalk snow removal. Mitchell asked Malia if she knew if Councilmember David Rivera was supportive, and Malia stated that Rivera is listening to constituents.
NYS Legislation – Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act
Booth gave an update on the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act and others, noting that Sen. Tim Kennedy has been championing the legislation and that the Buffalo Common Council has passed a resolution in support; GoBike Buffalo has been working with organizations across NYS to garner organized support. Magdol made a motion, and Johnson second, and the BPAB unanimously adopted a resolution to support the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act.
Hill updated the Board on the work of the Governance Committee, noting that the bicycle advocacy committee is small and that there’s an opportunity to be more inclusive and broad based. Booth suggested that BPAB members reach out to Hill to contribute work to the committee. Hill suggested that she reached out by e-mail and that hasn’t received responses, and Mitchell suggested that she’s interested but not now (due to work on other committees). Paul offered to assist.
Booth noted that the next BPAB meeting will be in person on Tuesday, May 3 in room 1417 city hall.
Johnson moved, Mitchell seconded, and the BPAB unanimously adjourned the meeting at 6:44 PM.