A faction of Buffalo citizens along with activist groups are rallying together to bend the ear and/or the arm of the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), to ensure that the agency does right by the citizens of Buffalo when it comes to properly downsizing the Scajaquada Expressway.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has announced the next public hearing to solicit public feedback for their plan to transform the Scajaquada Expressway into a Boulevard on December 14, 2016, at the Fredrick Law Olmsted Public School 64 auditorium (874 Amherst Street) beginning at 5:30 pm. The project is currently scheduled to allow construction to begin in fall 2017. Building opens at 4:30pm for review of designs. Formal meeting begins at 5:30pm.
Now stakeholders are looking to the DOT to do the right thing, by creating the best vision possible for the expressway. At this planning stage, traffic calming advocates such as the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition (SCC) feel that the DOT has not gone to great enough lengths to ensure that the voice of the public has been heard. The SCC gives the following reasons for basing this decision:
- The lack of a meaningful and engaging public input process while NYSDOT ignores multiple submissions by community organizations with constructive recommendations;
- Prioritization of vehicle traffic over the safety of vulnerable users through:
- Over-sized intersections that will make crossings unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists;
- Medians throughout the corridor at the expense of park space and on-street bicycle facilities; and
- Adverse impacts upon the Historic Olmsted Park and Parkway System as well as the surrounding cultural and educational institutions and business districts; and
- The plan’s limited scope, including the absence of addressing impacted communities west of Grant Street and east of Parkside Avenue.
“These objectives have not been met in NYSDOT’s current plan; instead, their proposed design continues to perpetuate the challenges of a limited access expressway with a 30MPH speed limit.” – SCC
Advocates feel that the time is now for a safer boulevard than what is currently being proposed. They point to an “aspirational vision” put forth by Governor Cuomo. They also point to Complete Streets initiatives that have been sweeping this city as of late.
“As the New Buffalo continues to re-invent itself becoming a great city once again, NYSDOT is stuck in the Robert Moses-era of planning mistakes by focusing singularly on moving vehicles through our community. At no additional cost, the community’s Scajaquada Boulevard vision could cement our city’s renaissance if vehicle traffic is not the sole consideration of its design; instead, people are.” – SCC