It wasn’t that long ago that the City dropped the ball, by not putting bike lanes on Main Street, between the UB University Campus and Humboldt Parkway. Just this morning, a cyclist reminded us about just how lame that decision was – the City opted to put in medians and planters instead, which basically shot the entire Complete Streets directive in the foot. The City claimed that, although the Complete Streets initiative was being rolled out, Main Street had already been designed, so they were not going to put down bike lanes. That’s like saying, “We know we’re messing up, but at this point there’s nothing that we can do, because the wheels are in motion.”
Poor timing was the worst excuse that the City could have come up with, especially because Main Street is designated “NYS Bicycle Route 517”. Whoops! Back in July of 2016, GObike Buffalo began to step up its efforts to push for the removal of the medians, starting with addressing the Department of Public Works (see inset letter).
Anyways, the cyclist that I previously referenced, AG Buerger, experienced an “accidental traffic calming” on Main Street as he was biking to work, as he explains here:
“Cones were down reducing the road from 4 to 2 car lanes, which provided excellent and comfortable bike lanes and no congestion in sight,” said Andy. “Drivers were calm and going the speed limit for once, it was glorious. Unfortunately I think it was for repainting, but it worked so beautifully – I’d like to get people asking the City to try a longer pilot project.”
The “accidental traffic calming” didn’t last long, and today the streets were back to their former non-bike friendly selves. “No more cones, and drivers are back to being all over the place and reckless,” Andy mentioned. “We finally have sharrows, but it’s nowhere near being a comfortable route to and from town.”
Obviously, the City has decided that it won’t go back and rectify the wrong. So it’s trying to make amends by adding sharrows. Now, as cyclists try to battle their way up and down Main, attempting to not get forced off the road, they can thank the sharrows for keeping them safe. A sharrow is supposed to be used on streets like Elmwood, where there is no room for bike lanes, yet auto drivers are made aware that they are supposed to share the road with cyclists. Putting sharrows down on Main Street is just lame. This was a big mistake, and a tiny bandage is not going to fix the problem.