The more things change, the more they stay the same.
One has to wonder when we’re going to get it right when it comes to traffic calming measures in this city, especially where the Scajaquada Expressway is concerned. The New York State Department of Transportation has suspended work on two traffic crossings due to public concern regarding their placement. Work has been halted in order to reexamine the locations, and how they relate to the overall vision. NYSDOT will once again meet with community stakeholders and elected officials to discuss additional traffic calming measures, again this coming spring.
Mayor Byron Brown stated, “We’re pleased that, under the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the State Department of Transportation took immediate action and continues to engage local leaders and members of the community to review strategies to make the Scajaquada Expressway safe for pedestrians, motorists and the surrounding residential neighborhood.”
The two crossings that triggered the concern were located west of Delaware Avenue, and east of Elmwood Avenue (intersection of Iroquois Drive and Lincoln Parkway). Thankfully these were not simply steamrolled through in order to show “progress” on the Scajaquada project. Instead local stakeholders are wary of Buffalo’s past transportation blunders and don’t want to be left with a roadway that does not reflect the bounding historic neighborhoods and park system. Maybe for the first time the NYSDOT might actually take this to heart.
“Safety is our top priority,” Commissioner Driscoll said. “We will continue to work with the community and local leaders to enhance safety on the Scajaquada as we move forward with plans for long-term, transformative changes that will bring the corridor into harmony with the surrounding community.”
A public information meeting is scheduled to be held in spring, where stakeholders will once again speak candidly about the need for beefed up traffic calming measures, and the desire for a proper roadway reclassification.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said “It has become clear that a more comprehensive set of traffic calming measures must be implemented, and they must be implemented together in order to be effective. I am confident that engaging in a dialogue with stakeholders and community members with help to guide this process in a positive direction. I look forward to the upcoming discussions.”
“The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been applauding Governor Cuomo, plus State and local officials, for their committed actions to right-size this park roadway and restore this prominent historic landscape,” said Stephanie Crockatt, executive director. “A tremendous opportunity is before us and more than anything we want these short and long-term changes to be successful, thus the decision by NYSDOT to temporarily suspend crosswalk construction in order to procure and review stakeholder and community input, is a wise step toward ensuring design solutions we can all benefit from and support.”
Those interested in helping to guide the conversation can sign a petition initiated by Assemblyman Sean Ryan’s office that states the following guidelines:
- All proven traffic calming techniques should be applied to the project area to establish a 30mph design speed and create a safe and more accessible urban boulevard.
- Additional opportunities for public access crossing the Scajaquada via bicycle and pedestrian are needed.
- Adequate crosswalks with the appropriate safe crossing treatments.
- The Parkside and Scajaquada intersection should be greatly improved to provide a safer pedestrian crossing for the neighborhood and students from Medaille College that use it, current alternatives do not adequately address this issue.
- Roadway design and landscape restoration should be employed to minimize the intrusion of vehicle travel through the historic landscape of Delaware Park to the greatest extent possible.
- The Main Street intersection at the Scajaquada needs to be improved for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles. Improved access to and exit from the Route 198 corridor at Main Street is a critical part of improvements within the entire corridor. All pedestrian crossings do not meet the state standard for safety.
- Create a complete street that accommodates all roadway users; this includes vehicles, commuting bicyclists, recreational bicyclists, recreational joggers and walkers.
- On-street bike lanes and pedestrian walkways are desired connecting to the city-wide network.
- Gateways should be established within each end of the corridor honoring the historical significance of this area by creating a welcoming and inspiring user experience.
- Storm water runoff should be treated naturally throughout the entire Scajaquada corridor.
- Improved ingress/egress from Delaware Park and other facilities is necessary.
- Establish a long-term maintenance plan with all stakeholders and agencies.
- Coordination with NFTA to leverage additional investment as a way to encourage alternative modes of transportation and integrate the corridor into the existing metro system.