Reopen Buffalo and Approved School Speed Zone Resolution

  • The City of Buffalo announced Reopen Buffalo, a new program allowing restaurants and small businesses to apply for extra space on streets and sidewalks to conduct business safely during the pandemic. 
  • The Buffalo School Board passed its speed zone resolution to encourage city council to enforce school speed zones throughout school hours. Next step, city council. 

Reopen Buffalo 

We congratulate the City of Buffalo’s creative approach to reallocating available curbside and public right-of-way space to support small businesses and restaurants with the introduction of their Reopen Buffalo program. Under the program, to assist the reopening of businesses and to preserve public health, beginning June 1, restaurants and small businesses can apply for extra space on streets and sidewalks through a free application process. The City of Buffalo will accept applications on a rolling basis through September 30. Since the beginning of the pandemic, cities across the globe have dedicated space previously occupied by motor vehicle travel to pedestrians and bicyclists to recreate and carry out essential transportation and allow businesses and restaurants more space to operate through street cafes. We’re thrilled to see Buffalo follow suit.

While this is an excellent first step in rededicating unused public space to support community, at GObike, we believe more is possible, as outlined in our Open Streets campaign. We need more space for people to be outside during the COVID-19 crisis. Many Buffalo residents have limited access to our parks. Many of our favorite parks and multi-use trails are full.

Taking a cue from global best practices, we propose open streets as a solution to our crowded public spaces. By reallocating unused public right-of-way from motor vehicles to pedestrians and bicyclists, we can increase access to allow residents to meet essential transportation and recreation needs.

If you agree, please consider signing our Open Streets pledge and letting us know where you think we should open streets for residents.

If you are an organization, consider signing our organizational pledge for Open Streets.

School Board Approves Speed Zone Resolutions

The Buffalo Board of Education passed the Traffic Safety & School Safe Zone resolution (7 to 2). The resolution asks the City of Buffalo’s Common Council to maintain school safe zones and their enforcement at the current 15 mph speed limit throughout the school day. The resolution also requests the formation of a working group between Buffalo Public Schools and the City of Buffalo to:

  • Establish a traffic safety plan to address the health and safety caused by current infrastructure surrounding all of our schools and present to the Board of Education before the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year to ensure that every student, regardless of circumstance, will be safe walking or bicycling to school;
  • Establish a financial plan to share revenue derived from the enforcement of school safe zones; and
  • Designate financial resources derived from the enforcement of school speed zones to the implementation of these plans to ensure every school has, at a minimum, high visibility crosswalks, safe bicycle facilities, well-maintained sidewalks and streets with design speeds that reflect the 15 MPH speed limit.

Though members of the school board had previously expressed support of the new school zone speed limits, the board had not formally issued a determination of support. The resolution will next be introduced to the common council for consideration.