Community, city and GObike team up to install Buffalo’s first pop-up bike lanes in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

By Buffalo Rising

This past weekend GObike Buffalo teamed together with the Buffalo DPW, and community residents and volunteers, to install temporary bike lanes along Fillmore Avenue, through MLK Park. The pop-up effort is to demonstrate the need for bike lanes in areas that could use some traffic calming.

Together, activists completed the city’s first Complete Streets Pop-Up. While Buffalo has made some strides in the bike-friendly department, there’s still a long, long way to go to make this city safe for cyclists. Trying to get from one end of the city to the other is risky at best. These types of pop-ups demonstrate to the community the importance of safe riding.

Justin Booth, Executive Director of GObike Buffalo commented, “This is a great example of how we can collaboratively address needs articulated by local residents with low-cost, high-impact solutions. We hope that these demonstration projects will inspire permanent changes that can greatly impact Buffalo’s neighborhoods.”

“The transformation of this street represents the power of our citizens to affect meaningful change through collaboration, vision and civic investment,” said NYS Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “Improving safety and access through Martin Luther King, Jr. Park supports the health and vitality of Buffalo’s East Side, and enhances the value of this park ― an important link in Buffalo’s singular Olmsted Parks System ― as a community resource and public recreational space.”

The number of lanes traveling through MLK park were scaled back from four to two, by adding a median and bike lanes. A combination of temporary and semi-permanent safety enhancements went along with the bike lanes. The community got into the act by painting planters, which helped to separate cyclists from traffic. Handmade messages were adhered to the barriers, featuring inspirational sayings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The chosen colors were those of the Pan-African flag.

Cycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape. Unfortunately, it can come with a price if there is a lack of safety features along our roadways. The addition of bike lanes and sharrows go far towards protecting riders. Hopefully, some day, we will see dedicated cycle tracks along streets such as Elm and Oak, in the city’s core. Michigan Avenue is also in dire need of bike lanes. These streets are imperative, because they traverse large swaths of downtown Buffalo, making it safe for commuters to get to and from work.

This MLK Complete Streets Pop-Up project was made possible with funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the P2 Collaborative of WNY, inc. and was installed with the support of the local neighborhood, the East Side Bike Club, Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Brian K Lewis Funeral Home, the King Urban Life Center, Slow Roll Buffalo, Jes Breathe and GObike Buffalo.