West Village Traffic Calming Project

Background

With the financial support of Council Member Mitch Nowakowski and Evergreen Health, GObike was tasked with designing and implementing a temporary traffic calming project for the neighborhood to address people using drugs in their vehicles, parking illegally, driving at high speeds, and disregarding stop signs. The project started the week of September 13 and our staff placed flyers on vehicles to help notify in advance and encourage people to volunteer.

If you have not done so already, you have an opportunity to review the plans and post a comment. It is best viewed using Chrome as your web browser. A short tutorial for how you can use the program to review and comment can be found here:

Some initial questions posed by the community are below and we want to share the responses from our Executive Director, Justin Booth, who also resides in the neighborhood. 

I can’t say that I disagree. We have used paint and bollards to reallocate the space at the intersections to slow vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. This project is a pilot to test the reconfiguration of the street, make immediate improvements to safety and then plan for a longer term capital project that will be more aesthetically pleasing. Other cities, notably NYC, have done this extensively while also including planters and some public art which can be an option for our neighborhood installation in the spring.

Again, I don’t disagree. This project was spurred by neighbor concerns on speeding vehicles and the need for crosswalks. At the meeting in my garden I shared the plans and the intention behind it. I also included a link to review the plans in detail and a tutorial video on how people can make comments in the meting minutes. As this is a pilot project, we are still collecting feedback and encourage everyone to do so through the link provided above or feel free to email me directly (justin@gobikebuffalo.org). We will be collecting data in addition to comments to determine the efficacy of the temporary installation.

Mine too. Because the streets are 36’ wide, once you subtract parking lanes (8’ on both sides) we have 20’ travel lanes. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the optimal travel lane width is 10’ and in the City of Buffalo, most are designed at 11’. Wide travel lanes facilitate higher speeds by vehicles and higher speeds lead to serious injury or death if anyone, let alone a child, is hit. This temporary project is designed with pedestrian safety at the forefront while still providing easy access for all vehicle types. I would also note that the width reduction at the intersections also helps eliminate drivers who pass school busses illegally.

Absolutely. While painting the crosswalks myself today, there was a fire truck that past me twice and navigated the turn with no problem. Again, this is where travel lane width is so critical. The city has been installing permanent bump-outs for many years now and you can see new ones being installed along Chippewa. In fact, some of the first are on Whitney Place. All the designs conform to all federal, state and local guidelines and were completed by my licensed traffic engineer who has 35 years of experience. Before implementing, the plans are also reviewed by an engineer with the city’s department of public works prior to the city issuing us a permit for installation.

As a condition of the permit for the temporary installation, the bollards will be removed 11/1.

WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED

Cities across the country are expanding their sidewalks, shortening their crosswalks, and  making their communities safe from traffic violence.

Project Partners