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Temporary Bike Lanes “Pop-Up” on Fillmore Avenue

This past weekend GObike Buffalo teamed together with the Buffalo DPW, and community residents and volunteers, to install temporary bike lanes along Fillmore Avenue, through MLK Park. The pop-up effort is to demonstrate the need for bike lanes in areas that could use some traffic calming.

Together, activists completed the city’s first Complete Streets Pop-Up. While Buffalo has made some strides in the bike-friendly department, there’s still a long, long way to go to make this city safe for cyclists. Trying to get from one end of the city to the other is risky at best. These types of pop-ups demonstrate to the community the importance of safe riding.

Justin Booth, Executive Director of GObike Buffalo commented, “This is a great example of how we can collaboratively address needs articulated by local residents with low-cost, high-impact solutions. We hope that these demonstration projects will inspire permanent changes that can greatly impact Buffalo’s neighborhoods.”

Community members painting inspirational messages

“The transformation of this street represents the power of our citizens to affect meaningful change through collaboration, vision and civic investment,” said NYS Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “Improving safety and access through Martin Luther King, Jr. Park supports the health and vitality of Buffalo’s East Side, and enhances the value of this park ― an important link in Buffalo’s singular Olmsted Parks System ― as a community resource and public recreational space.”

The number of lanes traveling through MLK park were scaled back from four to two, by adding a median and bike lanes. A combination of temporary and semi-permanent safety enhancements went along with the bike lanes. The community got into the act by painting planters, which helped to separate cyclists from traffic. Handmade messages were adhered to the barriers, featuring inspirational sayings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The chosen colors were those of the Pan-African flag.

Cycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape. Unfortunately, it can come with a price if there is a lack of safety features along our roadways. The addition of bike lanes and sharrows go far towards protecting riders. Hopefully, some day, we will see dedicated cycle tracks along streets such as Elm and Oak, in the city’s core. Michigan Avenue is also in dire need of bike lanes. These streets are imperative, because they traverse large swaths of downtown Buffalo, making it safe for commuters to get to and from work.

This MLK Complete Streets Pop-Up project was made possible with funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the P2 Collaborative of WNY, inc and was installed with the support of the local neighborhood, the East Side Bike Club, Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Brian K Lewis Funeral Home, the King Urban Life Center, Slow Roll Buffalo, Jes Breathe and GObike Buffalo.

Photos: GObike Buffalo

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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  • Michael DiPasquale

    Nice to see some “Tactical Urbanism” on Fillmore Ave.

  • Marc Rebmann

    With Filmore having previously been reduced to one lane each direction with sharrows north of MLK park to Ferry, and one lane each direction with bike lanes south of MLK park, it made absolutely no sense for it to remain 2 lanes each direction through the park.

  • Jonathan Hutchison

    How can you write an article supporting bike lanes and hoping the city improves bike infrastructure and then immediately call bike riding a great way to stay in shape? These people aren’t riding to stay in shape, they are riding because it’s the most economic way to get around. That’s what moves the discussion forward. Not cycling for sport or exercise or even being environmentally friendly. Yes, while cycling is good for those things, by far the most convince argument you can make is saving the city’s money and improving it’s citizens lives.

    • Johnny Pizza

      How do bike lanes save the city money? That is an honest question. I have read many arguments on why we should install bike lanes, but I have not seen that argument. I’m trying to understand the reasoning.

      • Josh Robinson

        Theoretically, bikes are much easier on infrastructure than cars and trucks, so more people biking should result in lower road maintenance costs. And the lanes themselves are very easy to maintain, just throw a coat of paint on every few years.

        Of course, we would need to reach a critical mass of cycling to realize these benefits, and I don’t think we’re there quite yet.

        • AH

          That, and they don’t cause anywhere near the carnage cars do which results in fewer hospital stays, rehab, lost work, property damage, all sorts of things. Even the difference between getting some low-level activity over sitting in a car reduces long term health problems in the population as a whole, so less spent in care that way. People who ride bikes are also more likely to stop locally and chat with neighbors or shop locally, helping to strengthen the area socially and economically.

          And less damage to roads (and other public property, like that fountain idiots keep crashing into) isn’t just theoretical, it’s substantial.

        • grovercleveland

          less people driving also decreases the amount of sales tax the city collects

      • Jonathan Hutchison

        As Josh mentioned, bikes are significantly less damaging to infrastructure than cars. This means far less maintenance on bicycle infrastructure than car infrastructure. Further, bicycle infrastructure employs more people than road infrastructure, this means that people have more money to spend, which means an increase in tax money. On top of that, people who use bicycles as a primary source of transportation save a significant amount of money that would otherwise be spend on their cars. On average, cars cost about $9K a year from insurance, depreciation, gas, etc. All this money leaves the local economy. Imagine if 100 people ditched their cars for bikes. Thats potentially $900K that could be spend locally.

        The biggest “savings” really comes from people saving money and reinvesting it locally rather than giving to huge companies that are taxed very little on the local level.


  • Catherine Reich Pitek

    Michigan Ave is my prefered route to downtown from North Buffalo. I would love to see bike lanes there. I am still upset about the work on Delaware Ave. north of Nottingam without regards to a bike lane.

  • BuffaloGals

    Comments are still missing all the outrage from the previous post about this.

    • Josh Robinson

      I think people quieted down once they realized this wasn’t vigilantism, but rather a concerted effort between the city, local residents and GoBike volunteers. Classic BRO overreaction.

      • Captain Picard

        Classic BRO overreaction works both ways, friend!

        • Josh Robinson

          Thanks, friend. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of overreaction at some point or another. Some accounts tend to be guilty of it quite frequently.

          • A J Hecha

            You mean Old First Ward. I have heard of food, movie, art criticism. But a renegade brick critic is beyond me…

    • Johnny Pizza

      Because the article is no longer missing every piece of crucial information that you’d think would have been in the first. Then again, Newell is a horrible writer in almost every category possible so you get what you don’t pay for.

      • A J Hecha

        Fake Newells, get it like Fake News, thanks I’ll be here all week.

  • Captain Picard

    I’m one of the people who opposed vigilante bike-lane installation, so I am very pleased to know that Buffalo DPW sanctioned and was involved in this. In fact, I can throw enthusiastic support behind it as somebody who believes bike lanes are an inexpensive and inoffensive way of accommodating our cycle-riding citizens.

    Next time put that in the first paragraph of the initial article.