September 12, 2019
GBNRTC to Lead Collaborative Study to Identify a Community Vision and the Transportation to Support It, Strengthening the Entire Region
(Photo credit: Nate Peracciny)
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez today announced that a collaborative planning process will be initiated to create a vision for the Scajaquada Community in Central Buffalo. The initiative, to be led by the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council, will help define the future of the area and the optimal transportation system for it.
While previous design efforts focused strictly on moving motor vehicles, we’re confident with GBNRTC at the lead, a transportation system can be developed that suits the needs of the surrounding communities, including those of residents, businesses, students, and micro-ecosystems, and aligns with the historic nature of Olmsted’s Delaware Park and Parkway system.
Specifically, the intersections proposed by NYSDOT were far too wide to support pedestrian comfort, with seven to nine lanes if traffic following a Niagara Falls Boulevard-template of damning anyone who dares not drive through the corridor. NYSDOT’s previous proposal did not reconnect the two halves of Delaware Park or allow comfortable pedestrian access to the Delaware Avenue Bridge, as requested by community stakeholders and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Safe bicycle infrastructure and transit access were also absent from the plan.
Though a community-supported design was never achieved, since the reduction of speed from 50 mph to 30 mph was implemented, there has been a significant drop in both the amount and severity of motor vehicles crashes on the Scajaquada Expressway.
“The Scajaquada Corridor is significant in the Buffalo-Niagara Region and this new study will help define how to strengthen its assets to make the entire region even more vibrant and prosperous,” Commissioner Dominguez said. “We look forward to working with the community on a transformational vision and identifying the multimodal transportation access and mobility solutions that can best support it now and into the future.”
The GBNRTC, the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, will provide technical and policy resources for the initiative, and coordinate among all interested parties, including community leaders, stakeholders, officials and the public. A steering committee will help guide the process forward and an international team of experts will be consulted throughout, providing review, advice and new perspectives on how to best capitalize on the community’s assets and develop a creative and sustainable transportation infrastructure that strengthens them.
During the past two decades, the Scajaquada Corridor (Route 198) has been the subject of numerous studies regarding a possible redesign. While there has been extensive planning and public engagement, clear and unanimous community consensus has not evolved to the point where projects can proceed. Today’s announcement resets the discussion and moves the initiative forward.
This new study will examine how to capitalize and improve upon built in community assets. With this 20- to 30-year vision, in combination with the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development and the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the study will generate multimodal transportation access and mobility solutions to achieve the vision and strengthen both the Scajaquada Community and the Buffalo-Niagara region.
The process also will develop strategic partnerships in the community to assist in completing the planning process and providing support for the recommendations that result.
The study process will begin with the GBNRTC establishing a steering committee of local stakeholders and officials, as needed.
A panel of advisory and subject matter experts also will be consulted at key points throughout the study’s development.
GObike continues to co-chair the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition and support the community’s desire to reimagine this corridor so that it can provide equitably mobility opportunities while working to reduce transportation's impact on climate change, improve community health and provide new economic development opportunities.