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Jeff Olson: Environmental Architect to Speak at Buffalo Forum

By Kim Sabshin
Even in Buffalo winters, many people who travel by bicycle swear by their preferred mode of transportation. And now, a New York architect who has worked to improve facilities for cyclists across the country is coming to Buffalo to talk about how biking is not only a means of getting around, but a way to improve life in general.
Architect Jeff Olson, director of Alta Planning + Design in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will give a speech at the Buffalo City Forum on January 19th at 12:15PM. WNED-AM 970 is co-sponsoring the public event, along with Leadership Buffalo. WNED is hosting the forum at their studios at 140 Lower Terrace in Downtown Buffalo.
Olson’s group helps create more accessible facilities for those who use non-motorized transportation in various communities across the country, in order to help promote a healthier environment. Alta has contributed to everything from bike paths and greenway projects, to safer pedestrian walkways and greener parks. According to their website, their goal is to “use the principles of transportation and recreation planning” in order to “design better places to bike, walk, play and live.”

Justin Booth, the Director of Green Options Buffalo
(GO-Buffalo), an organization that helps create greener and more community
friendly transportation for the Buffalo area, had a lot to say about Olson’s
upcoming lecture. One of GO-Buffalo’s programs is Buffalo Blue Bicycle, a
bicycle-lending program designed to offer convenient and affordable bikes for Buffalo
city residents. According to Booth, Olson’s visit is a step toward making
Buffalo a more environmentally friendly and sustainable city. He called Olson a
“leading advocate and planner when it comes to sustainability and multi-modal
transportation options.”

“The work that Jeff is doing is incredible,” Booth says. “In a recent bicycle master plan I saw, Alta calculates the carbon savings, health, as well as economic impact that investments in bicycle infrastructure can create for communities. Tools like this make advocating for implementation that much easier.”
Booth also said that encouraging people to use bicycles to get around could help the struggling economy. He cited a report, Portland’s Green Dividend (CEO for Cities, 2007) that compared the activity of Portland, OR, residents to that of people in other American urban settings. The study found that people in Portland traveled about 20 percent fewer miles each day than people in other cities, and that this contributed to annual savings of about $2.6 billion. Booth commented that some of this money goes directly towards the local economy.
“While bicycling is not the sole answer, it is certainly a part of the solution for a better future where Buffalo is a thriving city once again,” Booth concludes.
Jim Ranney, WNED’s Director of News and Public Affairs, will be on hand to host the forum. Highlights of the hour-long presentation will include an open question and answer session, as well as a buffet luncheon. It is also going to be broadcast live on WNED-AM on air and at the station’s website.
The forum is open to the public. Tickets cost $15 for members of WNED or Leadership Buffalo, and $20 for non-members. Both organizations encourage attendees to make advance reservations to reserve spots for lunch, and lunch reservations need to be in by Friday, January 15th. To order tickets, call Leadership Buffalo at 716.849.2626 ext. 17, or send an email to To learn more about Buffalo Blue Bicycle or how to become a member, visit Blue Bicycle.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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