The 700 block of Main Street in Downtown Buffalo has been returned to a two-way street. Through this conversion, there is not only better auto flow and circulation; contributed by the conversion of Tupper Street to two-way, but better access for pedestrians and cyclists as well.
A lesson was learned from the failed design of Main Street in the University District. The tree pits are up to code with the city’s Arboricultural Standards Manual (2004) and the survival of the tree median has been greatly enhanced through added irrigation. As far as tree species is concerned, the segment previously donned all Linden Trees, while an excellent street tree, they represent too high of a percentage of the total street tree population city-wide. The current mixture breaks away from this monolithic train of though and adds bio-diversity and added beauty through this stretch.
The bicycle facilities within this one block segment are something which should be emulated city-wide. The lanes are stripped and marked separating the uses on the street and are accompanied with the proper signage providing visual cues for cyclists and drivers alike to share the road.
Along the wide sidewalks, bicycle racks will be installed – up to twelve in total that will be in accordance with the bicycle rack standards that G.O. Buffalo assisted the city in developing. Other street furniture will also grace the street such as benches and pay and display parking meters. The pedestrian realm is inviting with scaled lighting and buildings built right up to the street, many of which have undergone or are currently undergoing a façade improvement. At the intersections, high visibility ladder bar crosswalks and neck downs (bulbouts) round off some of the pedestrian features.
Neckdowns is an excellent addition which is not often seen in our city (although it should be more common). It has many benefits including shortening the distance a pedestrian needs to cross, improving visibility and safety for the pedestrian, and clearly defining where the on-street parking begins and ends.
I would like to raise my glass of Rusty Chain to toast the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Place and the project consultants DiDonato Associates for designing an excellent complete street. This segment of Main Street, while only one-block, is the first block of hopefully many more city streets constructed under the city’s one year old complete streets policy. Cheers!