GObike Buffalo, Western New York’s regional active transportation education, advocacy and planning organization, is expanding initiatives to promote active mobility options, trails and greenways, and complete streets in Western New York. After a bustling year in 2019 which included broadening our programming and planning initiatives to reach new people in new communities, we look to continue our expansion in 2020.
To learn more about our growth and organization, we invite the community to attend our annual Solstice Soirée as we celebrate the highlights of another successful year, honor outstanding partners and cycling community members, and look forward to new things to come in 2020! The event will be held Wednesday, December 11, from 6 to 9 pm at the Landmark on Pearl at 318 Pearl Street. The cost is $20 for the general public and $10 for GObike members. More information is available here.
Highlights from 2019 include:
- With the support of 20 community groups, we painted 133 crosswalks in 13 communities in Western New York, and constructed our first hardscape curb bump-outs using Lockport-based Rubberform's recycled plastic wheel stops in Lackawanna. We refreshed five community crosswalks in Niagara Falls in celebration of the City's new complete streets policy.
- More than 2,000 people (and counting!) have visited our community workshop at 98 Colvin Avenue to learn new skills. We recycled 625 bicycles back into the community through our workshop, 11 recycle-a-bicycle classes, and other events. Thanks to the generous support of Independent Health and donations from our supporters, we were able to offer free bike repair at 12 events and locations throughout Western New York.
- We hosted 47 Slow Roll events, including the first-ever Pride Ride as part of Buffalo Pride Week and brought a bike stampede to the furthest location yet in Jamestown, New York.
- The SkyRide hosted kids for the first time ever, in part thanks to Independent Health's initiative to give Buffalo Public School students free tickets to the event.
- We produced a bicycle master plan for the City of Niagara Falls, hosted our first League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling class, conducted the first volunteer-based regional pedestrian and bicycle counts, and hosted the first Womxn's bicycle festival in the Buffalo-Niagara region.
- In partnership with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, GObike was awarded a $760,000 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration to expand the regional Go Buffalo Niagara program, which works with employers and developers to improve transportation options and reduce parking demand.
- With the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition, we successfully advocated for a new redesign process for the Scajaquada Expressway, led by the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council, which will allow for greater community input.
- We received a capacity building grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to continue to work with local and regional partners to identify and plan for a regional trail and greenway system. Additional announcements to be shared in 2020!
- We’re excited to continue our expansion throughout the region. We know active mobility changes people’s lives. It strengthens communities and improves public health, environment, and economy.
The Slow Roll helped newcomers acclimate to a new city:
“My husband and I moved to Buffalo from Michigan, nearly three years ago. When you move to a new community, it can be challenging to learn your way around. That was not the case in Buffalo, thanks to Slow Roll,” said Slow Roll participant, Jessica Kruger, Ph.D., CHES, a faculty member at University of Buffalo in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior. “Slow Roll is genuinely a community on wheels. I'm so happy to be able to connect with people from all walks of life on my bike and continue to discover new parts of the city. It makes me look forward to Monday nights!”
Our Lackawanna crosswalks and curb bump-out project brightened a few blocks and lifted a community.
“[This project] shows you what you can do when you work together,” said John Ingram, 1st Ward Councilmember in the City of Lackawanna. “Watching the kids' involvement, and the grown-ups' involvement, too, it gave them kind of ownership. They're doing it, they're part of it. They help put this down, you know. They have an investment.”
With a productive year behind us, we look to continue our growth. A few things on our docket include:
- Following the development of a strategic plan in early 2019, we’ve hired a deputy director to help manage the organization and chart future growth. Ashley Smith, an urban planner and non-profit management professional, will join us in January 2020 to assist our executive director with long-range planning for the organization with an emphasis on funding, metrics and program design. Ms. Smith previously served as executive director for the Elmwood Village Association and treasurer for the GObike Buffalo board of directors.
- GObike is working with Preservation Buffalo Niagara and Assemblymember Sean Ryan’s office to develop a streetscape design for Grant Street to support local businesses and resident mobility and safety in the corridor.
- Thanks to funding received from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, we will be expanding our education initiatives throughout the region, including hiring a part-time employee in the City of Niagara Falls to better reach our northern neighbors through education and safety workshops.
- We’ll be announcing a new summer date for SkyRide, our annual bike ride atop the City of Buffalo’s deleterious urban highway system—stay tuned!
- GO Buffalo Niagara will provide new services such as Guaranteed Ride Home to make it easier to commute via bike, walk, bus or Metro, carpool, vanpool, and otherwise get around without having to drive.