Forest Avenue Healthy Streets Initiative

Forest Avenue and Grant Street

Background

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 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.

Forest Avenue and Rees Street

Forest Avenue and Rees Street

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.

Design Options

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

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:

Option 1 – Two-Way Protected Cycle Track

Option 2 – Dedicated Bike Lanes

Survey

Thank you for taking our preliminary survey for Forest Avenue! We’ve incorporated your feedback into design options. Find our analysis of the survey findings here.

Forest Avenue and Richmond Avenue

Forest Avenue and Richmond Avenue

Updates

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: Ongoing

We’ve heard your input and now we’ve got some designs to show you!

Join us on Wednesday, April 6 at 6pm where our team gets to present your designs. Register now!

We’re also having a pop-up informational session on Forest Avenue. Come see us Saturday, April 9 from 10am-12pm. We’ll have our designs displayed, along with some light refreshments from our friends across the street at Daniela (387 Forest Avenue).

Join us for one, or both, of these events. We’re so excited to hear what you think!