The fight continues. This time, community activists will be gathering at Community Beer Works to send a message to the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) that the city is primed for a highway removal through Delaware Park. It’s times for cyclists and pedestrians to be given their city back. So much has been taken away from the citizens of Buffalo over the years – including parks and waterfronts. We might be stuck with some crappy sports teams for a while, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t fix our roadways.
The Right to Bike the Park is the lawsuit which seeks to create one Delaware Park through the declaration that the road known as route 198 is city parkland. This declaration will open up opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
Unfortunately, the NYSDOT will continue to bully the city and its people, much as it has done in the past. For the first time, a generation of Buffalonians are standing up, and speaking up, about the need for additional traffic calming measures. It’s time to fight for our rights, and what’s best for the future of this city.
According to The Scajaquada Corridor Coalition, “Final comments are due by December 18 on the DOT plans to take 14 acres of Delaware Park, to construct two big, new intersections and four pedestrian crossings, to install 42 new traffic lights and pedestrian signals, and to make permanent the division of the Park by a limited access highway. A public meeting will be held on the evening of December 13 to receive comments (site TBD).”
Attendees to the Thursday, December 7 event at Community Beer Works can learn more about the lawsuit that is intended to stop the DOT’s current shortsighted plan from being rolled out. The lawsuit has been filed by SUNY Buffalo senior and lifelong Buffalo resident David Saunders. Saunders has filed the lawsuit inNew York State Supreme Court (Erie County).
“I have done my research, and this is our road,” said Saunders. “The 198 is not the type of road on which the state or city can ban bikes.”
The suit asserts that the 198 at Delaware Park is neither a state expressway, interstate highway, nor the type of controlled access highway that can bar bikes.
“VTL Section 316 states that no authority can bar bikes from the highways.” said Saunders, who does not own a car, and relies upon his bike to get around WNY. “I want to ride my bike on this road with my fellow Buffalo residents.”
Saunders has extensively researched the situation, and has gathered that the sections of the roadway were never given to the State. He is also voicing that, since the highway is an “arterial highway running through a city”, the City should have a voice in what happens.
“The history and evolution of the 198 shows a gradual erosion of Buffalo’s awareness of our rights to the road,” says Stephanie Adams, attorney for Saunders. “The section running through the park belongs to Buffalo. That ownership, and the classification of the road, means he—and anyone else—is entitled to ride there. My client is not only fighting for the right to ride, but the rights of the City to control their roadway.”
Saunders is hoping to get an injunction, which would disallow tickets being issued to cyclists, pending final resolution of the case. That would mean that the NYSDOT would need to accommodate for cyclists on the roadway.
Learn more about this effort on Facebook.
Community Beer Works | 15 Lafayette, at Niagara | Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 5pm to 8pm