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Bike lanes arrive on Delaware Avenue

Delaware Avenue has undergone an incredible transformation with the addition of bike lanes. Last week I wrote that The City was facing some opposition to the lanes that were slated to appear. After the post, City Hall received over a hundred phone calls from community members who were in favor of the lanes. I am told that the calls were welcome news, and that the overwhelmingly positive response from the public helped to show that the lanes were indeed needed. Whether that ultimately helped to move the project forward, I can only say that it certainly didn’t hurt.

Ultimately Delaware Avenue looks great, and is now a thoroughfare for cyclists from North Street to Niagara Square. Let’s hope that this connectivity will continue, so that cyclists can easily navigate from this stretch of Delaware to other parts of the city (including the waterfront – both Erie Basin Marina and the Inner Harbor). Michigan Avenue is screaming for bike lanes (Medical Campus to Cobblestone District), and North Street connectivity to Porter Avenue must be a consideration (unfortunately the street is super narrow). Regardless, the striping of Delaware Avenue is a huge push forward for the Complete Streets initiative and shows that City Hall is serious about creating a bike-friendly city.

Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • JSmith

    I rode the new bike lanes downtown this morning, and was pleased to see a handful of other bicyclists already using the lanes as well. I know Sunday morning isn’t exactly peak traffic time, but still, everything was moving smoothly and it was such a pleasure to be able to ride down a grand avenue like Delaware without constantly looking over my shoulder.

  • BuffaloItalianGuy

    It now looks like Delaware Ave in Kenmore, but they didn’t add any bike lanes to the Kenmore section.

  • orlanmon

    Came back from kayaking at the Outer Harbor and wanted to catch some of the progress going on downtown, Delaware looks incredible and the bicycle lanes are such a crucial element to making Buffalo a cycling friendly city. I am hoping Niagara Street will have the same makeover.

  • irishkwh

    Have fun getting to work now. 1 lane and the worst traffic lights in the country!!

  • jumpingbuffalo

    Would you have preferred a high speed four lane highway with off ramps so you don’t have to spend any more of your precious driving time in the scary city?

  • Bills716

    I do not think the bike lanes are necessary on Delaware. Do we need bike lanes on every street in the city? There are plenty of bike friendly roads in the city, why downgrade delaware, which will definitely lead to major congestion. Are Linwood, richmond, and Elmwood not enough N-S routes bikers? I’m sure the number of people who do not support bike lanes on delaware dwarfs the 100 people who called city hall in support of the lanes. Lets face it, those bike lanes will get a ton of use from November through April. Lets completely alter the infrastructure of the city so a few hundred bikers can have an easier time navigating the city 6 months of the year.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/FxFCjeIpmILr1s8UmNqaK.5EwqXO#b960f

    “I’m sure the number of people who do not support bike lanes on delaware dwarfs the 100 people who called city hall in support of the lanes.”
    Then those people should have made themselves heard . . .
    .

  • biniszkiewicz

    I pass bikers on Elmwood all winter long. I bet Delaware gets a lot more bikes now than we’d have thought. It’s not just the current bikers, but all those who previously wouldn’t hazard a ride with heavy traffic.
    As to whether it truly slows down Delaware traffic, I’m eager to see what the real consequences are. Bet they’re not as bad as one would guess. Hertel didn’t become a logjam after being reduced to one lane with a turn lane instead of two in each direction.

  • Shoey

    Buffalo has a street grid that far exceeds the needs of a city it’s size. Bike lanes on every major street wide enough to accommodate them is a wonderful idea. If congestion somehow gets too bad people will take another one of the dozen plus options to their destination.
    Furthermore the enhancement of Niagara street should include both dedicated bike lanes and bus lanes. We need to stop catering to people who’s only goal is to get through the city as quickly as possible.

  • NorthBuf

    Delaware has always been my prefered n/s bike route. Richmond and Linwood stop too far south to be helpful getting to the northtowns and elmwood is always mess. Delaware gets you to Nottinghamshire which makes it east to get to parkside,Colvin and strain. It was nice because would claim the right lane as mine and have a nice lane to travel in. Adding a lane will make if nicer

  • RaChaCha

    Do we need bike lanes on every street in the city?
    The major streets, yeah — especially since most of them were way overbuilt for the traffic flow in & out & about the city before the postwar traffic sewer system was built (A.K.A. the expressways) and can easily accommodate lanes in addition to their current peak traffic loads.
    Recent studies (last couple years) have shown conclusively that bike lanes and bike paths are the single largest factor in promoting cycling in cities. Other large cities have been doing this in earnest — Buffalo is playing catch up.

  • RaChaCha

    BTW, what was the source of the opposition to the bike lanes on Delaware–?

  • benfranklin

    Initial impression is that it’s pushing some outbound vehicle traffic over to Franklin.

  • grad94

    agreed. as climate change tames our winters, you’ll see lots more year-round cyclists.
    besides, we provide automobile lanes 24/7 even when significant portions of them get little use outside of rush hour.
    oh, and driving is down everywhere.
    http://bettercities.net/article/%E2%80%98driving-boom%E2%80%99-over-20241

  • irishkwh

    coming from the guy who probably lives in Kenmore and works in the suburbs! I would just like to drive from my street on Hodge to DT in less then half an hour being that its 1.5 miles!

  • Jesse

    If you live 1.5 miles from where you work, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DRIVING?

  • Ryan

    Do we need bike lanes on every street in the city?
    Yes! Just like you’d have sidewalks or even driving lanes on every street. There are exceptions (ie interstates), but the answer is yes!
    Unrelated, but interesting read on bicycles as transportation!
    http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/

  • NBuffguy

    Buffalo has been lucky in the past few years and had some winters that were not as miserable in the past. That does not mean that climate change (Global Warming) has “tamed” our winters. As a matter of fact, climate change is expected to make our winters more extreme, not better. Weather everywhere is expected to become more sever, more hurricanes, more tornadoes, more floods, and yes…more blizzards.

  • grad94

    you may well be right. i based my remarks on the past, oh, 13 or so winters, which have been blizzard and storm-free. i biked to work almost daily during the winter of 2012.

  • Cam33r4

    Yes we should have bike lanes on every street. Just because there isn’t a bike lane doesn’t mean it’s illegal for a biker to ride down it. So actually, bike lanes are safer for everybody, even for cars. So it takes you extra two minutes to get to work? Give me a break. “Downtown traffic” is an oxymoron in Buffalo…

  • benfranklin

    The longer the lake is not frozen, the later in the season remains the potential for lake effect snow. The path of the jet stream the last few winters has steered quite a few storms to our south and then up the coast.
    If we have one of these warm winters, then a cold snap in February with very cold wind across the lake, well, might not be too tame.

  • NorthBuf

    good god I’m illiterate when I try to write on my phone. I apologize in advance for any mini-strokes thatI caused anyone reading that abortion of a paragraph

  • NBuffguy

    No Blizzrd in 13 years? Where have you been? Were you around for the Surprise Storm in October 2006, which made Buffalo a presidentiall declared “major disaster” area and qualified the city for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The winter of 2008/2009 was also another brutal one. Expect more of those in the future.

  • grad94

    yes, of course i was here. but the october ’06 storm was in no way a blizzard.

  • JSmith

    This is not a downgrade for Delaware; it is an upgrade. Road diets like this are shown to increase safety for everyone, including motorists. And if you are worried about getting slowed down on Delaware while you are driving, the bike lanes will get bicyclists out of your way so you don’t have to be slowed down by them. Bike lanes invite people to ride bikes, and every person who rides a bike on Delaware instead of driving a car means less car traffic congestion for you.
    So drivers should support this as much as anyone!

  • NBuffguy

    OK, it wasn’t a blizzard. It was just a storm that brought the National Guard to our streets to help us clean up afterwards. I see your point. We’ve had plenty of rough winters and plenty of snow storms since then. Man, I wish I had your sense of optimism. Doesn’t seem based in reality, but the world must look real pretty through the rose-colored glass through which you see it.

  • Buffalogni

    Any chance we can tie these into a trail to Pittsburgh that will then allow people to bike from Buffalo all the way to Maryland:
    http://www.atatrail.org/

  • jarrett

    Should probably get rid of the bike lanes, we MIGHT get a storm. hahaha

  • Cam33r4

    Building off of this, if we have any hopes of attracting new, young, inventive workers to Buffalo, we need to stop catering SOLELY to the older, white-fight suburban population who want to get it and get out as if Buffalo is invested with the Bubonic plague. Young people LIKE saving money, and have been growing up using cheaper alternatives than a car. Since bus lines are not the most reliable, and our light rail mostly likely won’t get a huge overhaul, bike lanes are the next best accessory for any city wishing to move forward to bring it young workers.

  • Eric

    “Officially, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds causing blowing snow that results in low visibilities. The difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow. To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have sustained winds or frequent gusts that are greater than or equal to 56 km/h (35 mph) with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 meters or a quarter mile or less and must last for a prolonged period of time — typically three hours or more.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blizzard
    Wind wasn’t a factor in the 2006 storm.

  • RaChaCha

    Yes. Chautauqua Rails-to-Trails, via trails just over the border in PA, could potentially tie in to those Pittsburgh trails (which, as you point out, tie in to the Capital Region). So if we had a goal of tying into Chaut Co from the Erie/Niagara County rail-trail system…oh, wait — we don’t have an Erie/Niagara County rail-trail system. Hmmm.

  • benfranklin

    The last 50 years, I’d say three significant storms, 1 blizzard. Blizzard of ’77, 7 foot storm 12/28/2001, October Storm 2006 (only because leaves on the trees).

  • GinghamQuaker

    In no way am I defending his original statement, but there could be any number of reasons why an individual wouldn’t be able to walk or bike 1.5 miles. Not recognizing this is naive.

  • mmmmm…Buffalo

    Canada has done a great job with the Rails to Trails. There is one right over the border in Fort Erie, and goes up to Niagara-on-the-Lake. A great place to ride or walk that’s so close to us. By 2017 the trail will go from the Atlantic to Pacific, 13,500 miles.
    http://www.railstotrails.org/news/magazine/webExclusives/2012_Winter_Third-Feature.html

  • NBuffguy

    I think that splitting hairs over the technical definition of a blizzard and a severe snow storm pretty much says it all and proves my point. In how many places in this country do you suppose people actually do that?

  • grad94

    actually, i base my weather observations by going out in it every day. when i don’t bike to work, i walk, and winter after winter, i’ve had medium to good walking conditions.
    the october ’06 storm would have barely rated a blip on our radar had it occurred after the leaves were down.

  • Buffalogni

    Ahh, your comment strategy is ingenious. As you can see from my comment and RaChaCha’s comment, the interest in a big Rails-to-Trails effort is lukewarm, but you just turned it into a contest. This is now like the Space Race but with bikes. People will have to want this or they will be un-American, lazy dopes that want the Canadians to win.
    Well played my friend.

  • biniszkiewicz

    the blizzard of Jan, 1985 shut down the city for a week. Stopped me from returning to Boca, actually.

  • whatever

    Do any Buffalo streets have buses frequent enough to justify a bus-only lane?
    I’d also doubt that many (if any?) drivers who are passing ‘though the city’ are using Niagara Street for that purpose.
    It’s ironic that more of them might do that if the 190 was fully nonexistent as some might advocate… which in turn would result in a traffic surge on Niagara that would make bike lanes more difficult to politically accomplish on it.
    The existence of a parallel nearby highway helps make the bike lanes on Niagara St more feasible. Safer too.
    On the part of Niagara south of Porter or Connecticut, I might sooner eliminate one side of parking lanes to make room for bike lanes than to not have a turning lane. There doesn’t seem to be many businesses on Niagara with much need for 2 sides of on-street parking, quite a few have their own off-street parking.
    At least the City could consider that possibility.
    Cam33 made a good point that having bike lanes where feasible is also good for car traffic by removing the chance slower bikes would be sharing a lane with cars.
    There are some streets where there just doesn’t seem enough room for bike lanes (much of Hertel for example, & narrowed section of Elmwood south of Forest to Lexington, etc.), but it can be a good idea on those which do have room.

  • Lego1981

    What congestion? I’ve worked downtown for over 12 years and the only time I ever see congestion is when major events take place. Try driving down Main St. in Williamsville or Niagara Falls Blvd. in Amherst if you want to see real traffic congestion, lol.

  • No_Illusions

    Poor weather makes biking/walking a poor commute option for anyone in a suit…actually a poor commute, suit or no suit.
    Though, that is a pretty short bus ride.

  • No_Illusions

    New York has some pretty extensive bike trails actually.

  • Spock

    NBuff> “Man, I wish I had your sense of optimism. Doesn’t seem based in reality…”
    People have their own reason for having a generally positive/negative outlook on life. What I don’t get is how the whinny element insists on painting their views as “reality” or at least more “real” than those with a more positive outlook. Pout if you want, but pouting alone does not make your views any more “reality” based than others.

  • LouisTully

    There are sections far worse out of sync than Delaware between Hodge and DT. I thought it was a good day to play the lottery when I made it from Delavan all the way to Allen without hitting a red. After it happened several times, I was glad I kept my two bucks. I’ll propose Delaware between Amherst and Hertel as far worse out of sync. If you can get through Great Arrow and Amherst without a red light, that’s an accomplishment.

  • Dances*like*Jesus

    As both an avid driver and cyclist i find this news both appalling and exhilarating!

  • NBuffGuy

    @grad94
    Blizzard and storm-free.  I like the quote in this video where the guy says, “Snow blowing 24 hours a day. That’s the way it is on this street.”  How many cities would consider that normal?  And in how many would people consider that “storm-free?” 

  • NBuffGuy

    Stranded motorists

  • NBuffGuy

    Lake effect snow