August 1, 2019
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Niagara and GObike announced the implementation of the first Complete Streets Pop-Up project in Lackawanna.
In a collaboration between community leaders and city officials, with support from GObike and CCE, the residents of Lackawanna’s First Ward benefited from a streetscape make-over this week. The pop-up project included crosswalks, speed bumps and curb bump-outs with art designed by students. The project was paid for through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant through the NYS Department of Health.
Over the past few months, the community has expressed concerns over high speeds on the streets where children regularly play and ride their bikes. A recent resident survey conducted by GObike found 86% of residents wanted street improvements; 76% rated the current appearance as fair or poor; and nearly half felt their roads were unsafe for both biking and walking. At a community outreach meeting for the project, 100% of participants identified the area around Taggart Park for the proposed traffic calming Complete Streets project. With the help of newly-elected First Ward Councilman, John Ingram, their voices are being heard and answered.
This Thursday, August 1st, from 10am to 2pm, residents and summer camp youth, as well as community and city leaders, gathered at Jeffrey A. Taggart Memorial Playground (Wilmuth Ave and Olcott Street) in the First Ward of Lackawanna to implement a temporary complete streets pop-up project. The project will improve three intersections around the community playground by adding crosswalks, bump-outs, RubberForm curbing, and speed bumps. Three colorful themes were designed by the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church summer camp.
These temporary pop-up complete street projects promote safety through traffic slowing measures and stimulate community pride. Walkable, bikeable streetscapes lead to a better quality of life by addressing social, physical, and safety needs. The pop-up infrastructure will remain until October 2019 and can show improvement with the hopes of permanent change.
Since 2017, GObike has implemented more than 300 pop-up crosswalks, sharrows, bike lanes, bump-outs and bike-cons throughout the Buffalo Niagara region.
John Ingram, Lackawanna 1st Ward Councilman said “It is great to see the community coming together for the safety of our children.”
Annette Iofallo, Lackawanna City Council President, said “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our little people… I was so happy to have all concerned moving in the right direction!”
New York State Senator Tim Kennedy said “Safer roadways undoubtedly lead to stronger communities, and as Western New York continues to experience a rebirth and revitalization, now more than ever we need to ensure that we’re investing in our infrastructure. Every child walking to school deserves to get there safely and get an education; every employee cycling to work deserves a clear route to achieve the American Dream. At its core, this is about the safety, mobility and convenient access of all roadway users. This year, the Senate passed legislation I sponsor which would strengthen New York’s Complete Streets law, and I urge the Assembly to prioritize this important safety reform next year.”
Pastor Keith D. Mobley, Mt Olive Missionary Baptist Church quoted, “Please order my steps so I may not fall, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”
Elene Green, Resident of Wilmuth Street said, “ I love everything that’s happening here with the crosswalks and speed bumps. My husband and I have gone to the police before because of the speeding cars. Without stopping the cars from flying down the street, a child is going to be killed. I sit on my porch and watch then and sometimes have to go on the street to stop them”
Marla Guarino, Community Coordinator for Creating Healthy Schools and Communities said “After years of concern and months of preparation, the community, city officials and our non-profits came together to create a space of safety and pride in the First Ward. It was wonderful to be a part of this project which can have so many positive outcomes in the health and social well-being of a community.”
Kiel Illg, Assistant Superintendent, Lackawanna City School District said “The Lackawanna City School District is excited about the opportunity to partner with the Creating Healthy Schools & Communities grant to provide opportunities for our families to participate in lifelong physical activities in a safe environment. We look forward to this continued partnership to identify other ways that we can provide access and opportunities throughout the city for our families to participate in a healthy and safe lifestyle.”
Rebecca Reilly, Operations and Outreach Director for GObike, said "The biggest benefit of doing Tactical Pop-up Complete Streets projects is the way it brings communities together. It's not just paint on the street, it's an acknowledgement that we can move the dial toward a more human-centric future - together."