The City of Buffalo has missed out on a big opportunity to enhance urban bike connectivity. A huge section of Delaware Avenue recently underwent a mill and overlay, leaving an awesome opportunity on the table for traffic calming and bike lanes. Instead, all of the turning lanes were put back where they were, essentially leaving this portion of Delaware bike-ped unfriendly, which is how it will most likely remain for at least another decade.
The reason that this is so unfortunate is because this stretch of Delaware extends all the way from Kenmore Village (already traffic calmed) to the S-Curves (with connecting bike lanes). This could have been a prime corridor for cyclists to get from Kenmore to Delaware Park!
When I first saw the roadwork underway, I thought to myself, “Complete Streets, here we come.” Unfortunately that was not the case. I called up a friend who was privy to the initiative and asked why there were no bike lanes. He told me “…it’s a NYSDOT project. They would never sacrifice vehicle level of service. I’m pretty sure it was left out of the Bike Master Plan as well because of that challenge.”
What a bummer. This was another example of The City sacrificing people over automobiles. As much as The City continues to pat itself on the back for being progressive on this front, it still can’t get out of its own way. This egregious mistake is almost as bad as the one that The City made on Main Street, when they installed a central median in place of bike lanes, from UB’s South Campus almost to Canisius College.
Apparently, The City only thinks that bike lanes are for connecting small grids instead of connecting an entire city. It’s too bad. The next time that a cyclist gets run off the road, or gets hit by a car, Buffalo has got more ambulance chasing lawyers than just about any other city on the planet. Maybe instead of billboards that feature “Hurt in a Car?” and “Injured in a fall, call…”, there should be one that says, “Hit on a bike, what a pity – this one’s on The City!”