Paving of the paving a segment of the Niagara Street Gateway – a $2.8 million redevelopment – is now well underway. The stretch of Niagara Street now has bike lanes, which is a giant step towards crucial bike-friendly connectivity in the city. The initial section being tackled between Virginia Street and Niagara Square is part of a two-phase plan. The entire Niagara Street Streetscape Project is a $28.7 million project that runs from Niagara Square to Ontario Street. Phase 1 began last year with updated curbs, sidewalks with ADA ramps, upgraded crosswalks, etc.
Mayor Brown stated, “Keeping our streets in good condition is one of the most fundamental jobs of city government and our significant infrastructure investment and improvements along Niagara Street continues to be a major priority of my administration. I thank our many partners for working with us to secure funding for this multi-phased infrastructure improvement project that, when complete, will make our city an even better place to live, work and invest.”
While this is a huge improvement, I feel that the street could have been narrowed into more of a boulevard. This is the real gateway to our city after all. The street still appears to be too wide and highway-ish due to all of the center turning lanes, but at least it’s a big step up from the eyesore that it is replacing. I love seeing the traffic calming curb bump outs. The new lamp standards are a step up from the old cobras, although they should be a more humanized scale.
“Niagara Street serves as the gateway to the city center and to the nation for our Canadian visitors,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “Combined, these infrastructure projects, supported by more than $10 million in federal funding, will transform Niagara Street into a corridor that better welcomes visitors, enhances local neighborhoods and invites private sector investment.”
The $28.7 million Niagara Street Streetscape project is a multi-phased rehabilitation of Niagara Street as described below:
- Phase I: City of Buffalo, Niagara Street Gateway – $2.8 million project to develop a gateway entrance from Virginia Street to Niagara Square. (Completion by mid-summer of 2016).
- Phase II: City of Buffalo, Niagara Street (Virginia Street to Porter Avenue) – $3.7 million for mill and overlay, a new striping pattern; new LED street lighting, sidewalks, green infrastructure, traffic signals and new ADA ramps…complete streets design and implementation. (Construction in progress).
- Phase III/Phase IV/: City of Buffalo, Niagara Street (Porter Avenue to Ontario Street) – $17.7 million project funded via multiple funding sources for mill and overlay, a new striping pattern, new LED street lighting, sidewalks, green infrastructure, traffic signals and new ADA ramps. This project also includes improvements to “Robert Rich Way”, located on West Ferry Street between Niagara and Broderick Park that will further enhance waterfront access and incorporate elements of The Freedom Walk to historic Broderick Park. The design work has begun, with construction expected to begin in 2017.
- Niagara Street Corridor Program – $4.472 million project, led by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), to improve signal timing, solar power bus shelters, and a Park & Ride lot with current bus schedule data panels
“The EPA applauds the City of Buffalo for incorporating green infrastructure into its Niagara Street upgrades, and is proud of the $500,000 it has contributed to help make this happen,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Green infrastructure projects along Niagara Street, including porous asphalt and rain gardens, will prevent stormwater from carrying contamination into Lake Erie, improving water quality.”
NITTEC Executive Director Athena Hutchins stated, “The work along Niagara Street is a great collaborative effort using technology to improve mobility and reliability for commuters, businesses and transit riders,” said NITTEC Executive Director Athena Hutchins. “This will be the first corridor in the region to incorporate bus priority technology and will be used as a model for future corridors.”
Oluwole A. McFoy, P.E., General Manager Buffalo Sewer Authority, stated, “This is a great project for the City of Buffalo and we’re excited to partner in our shared efforts to further improve green infrastructure along this premier gateway. Our $6 million investment will ensure that rainwater is absorbed on the spot – reducing stormwater and improving water quality.”