Forest Avenue and Grant Street
The City of Buffalo continues to make efforts to improve safe access for pedestrians and bicycles consistent with the regional plan. As construction nears completion on Niagara Street for protected bicycle lanes as part of the Empire State Trail, additional investments are planned on Elmwood and Delaware Avenues. However, a gap in planning and investment exists along Forest Avenue to connect these new facilities.
Along this section of Forest Avenue, between Richmond and Niagara Streets in particular, there are roughly 4,250 residents (American Community Survey 5-year; 2015-2019). Based on counts conducted by GObike Buffalo in fall 2021, 230 pedestrians and bicyclists utilize this corridor every day. Four different bus routes also pass through this area, and serve over 200 average daily passengers from this neighborhood (American Community Survey 5-year; 2015-2019). However, between 2015 and 2019 (American Community Survey), approximately 18 pedestrians were hit by cars, one pedestrian, a child, was killed, and 18 bicyclists were also hit by cars.
In partnership with the city of Buffalo, and with generous funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, GObike is working to redesign the street to slow traffic, and make Forest Avenue safer for all modes of transportation.
Healthy, Complete Streets
At GObike, we envision a happy, healthy, and connected city where every person is able to get safely and easily where they need and want to go—no matter how they choose to get there.
By making this section of Forest Avenue more accessible and safe to pedestrians and bicyclists alike, this partnership with the city of Buffalo will create better connections between neighborhoods and business districts, and improve health and safety for its residents and visitors.
Connections to Existing and Planned Bike Infrastructure
Below is a snapshot of Forest Avenue, where it intersects with Niagara Street. Currently, Forest Avenue stands as a gap between people who bike along Niagara Street, and around the Buffalo State campus.
Last fall (2021), GObike conducted several weeks of outreach and engagement in the neighborhoods and communities on or around Forest Avenue in the City of Buffalo. Before we developed any plans, we wanted to hear what concerned city residents most, and what features they would like to see along a revamped Forest Avenue, from greenery and lighting to crosswalks and bike lanes.
Those responses identified the following overarching themes about Forest:
- Slowing down traffic and making the street safe and comfortable for pedestrians and people on bikes
- Crosswalk connections along the street
- Addressing unsafe street parking conditions
- Greater connectivity of Forest Avenue to other parts of the city
- Aesthetic improvements to the streetscape, including lighting, sidewalk improvements, greenery, benches, and garbage cans
The first survey ran for over a month, between October and November. This was to gather feedback about Forest Avenue, in its existing state. We heard from hundreds of you! Find our analysis of the preliminary survey findings here.
We incorporated the input we received on the surveys and the data we collected on pedestrian and bicycle use, average car speed, and parking counts over a period of six weeks. Using that information, our outreach and design teams developed the following options:
The second survey was more of a vote, which we deployed in early April. Using the data and feedback from the first survey, our design team came up with two options to improve the streetscape on Forest Avenue. We then asked people to vote on which design they’d prefer to see implemented. Here are the results from that survey. We also had some in-person and virtual events, where we also recorded votes (~20 people) about preferred design options.
Option 1 – Two-Way Protected Cycle Track – had nearly 90% of all votes, as the preferred design option for Forest Avenue.
Forest Avenue and Richmond Avenue
Community Engagement Phase 1: Complete!
From October 26 through November 15, 2021, we hit the pavement and the digital airwaves and got nearly 500 different pieces of input. Read all about it here.
We also have an entire transparency statement you can read here.
Community Engagement Phase 2, Design Vote: Complete!
We presented both options on Wednesday, April 6 at 6pm, digitally. We also held an in-person, outdoor engagement event Saturday, April 9 from 10am-12pm with our designs displayed, along with some light refreshments.
Community Engagement Phase 3 – Post-Implementation Survey: Starts 8/11/22
Implementations is, as of 8/11/22, still ongoing. However the passionate reaction from some neighbors on Forest Avenue to the project has prompted us to launch the survey early in order to give them a more productive place to voice and record their concerns while our team is still working out on the street.
Please take the post-implementation survey AFTER watching this brief video where we walk through all the design elements of the project and how they’re already working to slow traffic, increase safe space for people out walking and biking.
Thank you for watching that first. Now please take our survey meant for post-implementation.
Forest Avenue Open Streets Event (May 2022)
As part of our kickoff for implementing the two-way cycle track design for Forest Avenue, GObike hosted a big party! We closed off the street to cars and opened it up to the neighborhood.