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Right to Bike Delaware Park

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

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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  • Mr. B

    “It’s times for cyclists and pedestrians to be given their city back.”

    Given the number of pedestrians who

    – walk in the street instead of the sidewalk
    – don’t look in any direction before crossing the street

    and the number of bicyclists who

    – ride into oncoming traffic
    – ride at night wearing dark clothing with no lights, reflectors, or vest

    I had no idea it had been taken from them . . .

    .

  • eagercolin

    Yes, people are oppressed by being told they can’t ride their bikes (or walk!) on a highway.

    • Cvepo

      Fun fact: In Oregon, you can ride a bike on many portions of the freeways. I don’t see it often, but it’s legal. It’s even in the Oregon Bicyclist Manual!

  • Johnny Pizza

    For too long Buffalo’s sidewalks have been for the use of pedestrians only. That’s why Citizens for Pavement Anarchy have filed a lawsuit against the City of Buffalo to end the egregious discrimination that occurs on our sidewalks daily. Come join us on December 15th to learn more about what you can do to help make our sidewalks great again.

    • AH

      What are you trying to say here? Pedestrians should have clearly defined space away from cars and other vehicles. No one’s calling for anything else.

  • A-BuffalLover

    “The right to bike the park when the weather is nice and by a few hardcore bike commuters the rest of the year”

    That sounds like a better name. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Delaware around 8:00 am. All that money on the bike lanes and barely anyone uses them at this time of the year.

    • Josh Robinson

      Roads configured with bike lanes offer other benefits, even if they aren’t currently in use. Delaware as a two-lane road with a dedicated turning lane flows much better and with clamer speeds than Delaware did as a four-lane road, where left-hand turns caused people to swerve into the right lane to avoid backups.

      • Johnny Pizza

        “you mean a little paint on the road?” – No more like the actual road that paint covers, and the cost of maintaining that road, and plowing that road and repainting that road. That section of the street may get less wear and tear than the car lanes next to it, but its not immune to the wear and tear that all Buffalo roads experience. And even then, if Delaware Ave were to be resurfaced I doubt the bike lane part would be in such mint condition that it wouldn’t also be part of the resurface project. The only real difference between the bike lane part and the car lane part is that the bike lane part is almost completely unused for a third of the year.

        • 300miles

          The road already existed, and snow removal and maintenance already existed. Hence, it didn’t “cost” anything more than painting lines on it.

          • Johnny Pizza

            I don’t agree with that. If space on the roadway is now dedicated to bike use then bike lanes should be allocated some % of the cost to maintain a roadway.

      • A-BuffalLover

        You are taking a small part of my point and arguing it. Fine – yes – I agree. There are other benefits.

        But the Minneapolis MSA is 6 million people. Buffalo is 1 million.

        My main point is that people do not bike here in the winter. It is the truth. People barely bike in the summer. I have heard estimates that it is 2% of the population. So why bend over backwards for a small percent of the overall population. And please don’t tell me “if you build it they will come”

        • Josh Robinson

          We’re a long way from bending over backward for the needs of cyclists, considering most bike infrastructure here is just painted lanes which do not offer any protection from vehicles using them as passing lanes or getting doored. Car is still king in WNY for better or worse.

          I don’t disagree that cycling is still in the nascent stages here, and practically non-existent in the winter. But we have to start somewhere. Minneapolis was at less than 2% of bike commuters in 2006, but is now up to 5-6% thanks in large part to increasing infrastructure.

          It doesn’t really matter that we’re a smaller metro than MSA as long as we grow our percentage. And having a relatively compact, flat downtown area should be favorable for growing cycling.
          http://www.startribune.com/bicycle-commuting-at-highest-rate-ever-in-minneapolis-and-st-paul/393618991/

          • Josh Robinson

            Sure enough, the comments on that MIN cycling story aren’t much better than the comments on BRO anytime the subject of bicyclists comes up.

        • Mr. B

          “My main point is that people do not bike here in the winter.”

          Go down Richmond, Bidwell, or Elmwood any day/night this winter — then, get back to me on people “not biking here in the winter” . . .

          .

          • A-BuffalLover

            I walk to work down Elmwood every day around 8:00 am. I would normally see one biker on the way to work to several hundred cars. This morning on my walk, I did not see any bikers. You are crazy if you think there is any where near the number of bikes in the middle of january vs. middle of July. And either way, it is not near the number of cars, buses, or even people walking.

          • Mr. B

            ” You are crazy if you think there is any where near the number of bikes in the middle of january vs. middle of July.”

            And you’re crazy if you think there NO bikers in Buffalo in the middle of January, which was the claim you were making when you said:

            “My main point is that people do not bike here in the winter. It is the truth.”

            .

          • A-BuffalLover

            FYI – 10 minute walk down Elmwood at 8:00 am this morning. About 20 walkers, zero bikes, hundreds of car.

            There may be bikers….just not as many that we should eliminate an expressway that 30-50,000 people use a day.

          • AH

            Funny you’re only talking about Elmwood, which clearly and obviously sucks ass to ride a bike on from any perspective. Whenever I have to run an errand there and half a dozen drivers attempt to murder me and I say something, the only response I ever seem to get is “don’t ride bikes on Elmwood, go miles out of your way instead. Cyclists aren’t allowed to shop or eat there, they’re second class citizens”.

      • OldFirstWard

        As of Wednesday, all bike lanes are closed for snowbank mounding.

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi

    Some thoughts on The Meadow…. (click for higher resolution picture)…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c6acc0537ac152c170edbef3ae99dde2934d8a522e454b401ae7d64793aa4134.jpg

    • Mr. B

      From the above:

      BUFFALO ZOO TRANSFORMATION
      – No entrance gates
      – No admissions fees

      I’m tempted to wonder how the hell the zoo is supposed to operate without revenue from admissions fees . . . but, since there’s no entrance gates anyway, they won’t need them since there’ll no longer be any visitors.

      Only thing missing from the above rendering is the transplanting of the entire park to Goat Island . . .

      .

      • Matthew Ricchiazzi

        The Zoo, as a more broadly defined venue, may be able to generate more operating revenue by changing its business model. I’m suggesting no admissions fee and no entrance gates, giving the Zoo an open access, campus-like feel. Instead the revenue focus would be on merchandizing, concessions, special events, parking, and vendors… along with corporate sponsorship of specific exhibits, and exploration or other advertising opportunities. It would increase attendance and public access to the institution, while evolving Delaware Park as a cultural destination.

        • Johnny Pizza

          And when a 6 year old kid building a snowman in Delaware Park wanders into the “open access” zoo and falls into the polar bear exhibit, how much longer do you think the zoo will stay open for?

          I’d venture to guess 2-5 lawsuits and they’d be pretty much bankrupt.

          • Matthew Ricchiazzi

            These are all design challenges. It’s entirely accomplishable.

          • Johnny Pizza

            So let me make sure I got this down:

            1) Cut the Zoo’s revenue by 22% (noting that fundraising and public contributions already make up another 34% of revenue)
            2) Institute massively expensive changes in the design and layout
            3) Hope concessions, merchandise and special events and sponsorship (which are already large sources of revenue) increase enough to pay for 1 & 2

            Thank god you are not the mayor.

          • Matthew Ricchiazzi

            I were Mayor, Buffalo would be the most boldly innovative government in America. We would be a model for participatory governance and would be investing in the infrastructure of the future, from highway removal to universal public broadband.

          • Mr. B

            If you were mayor, you’d be arrested after your second DUI then kicked out of office after suggesting these ridiculous plans . . .

            .

          • grovercleveland

            You tried that Matt. But you forgot you actually had to live in the city to run for Mayor.

          • Johnny Pizza

            You sound like a high school stoner who just finished Participation in Government. Eventually your plans would run into this thing called “reality” where there isn’t an endless supply of funding to spend on quality of life issues.

        • Cvepo

          Oh my god this is the stupidest thing I have ever read with my own 2 eyes

          • Matthew Ricchiazzi

            No, you’re just too narrow minded and stupid to have a civilized conversation.

          • Cvepo

            I really, really, really encourage you to look into AZA regulations (which the Buffalo Zoo is a part of) before you go and spew such ridiculous ideas of an entry-free zoo. The Buffalo Zoo is cheaper than most zoos across the country. If you got rid of the entrance fee, you basically just closed the zoo. Stop being so ignorant. The Mayor of Buffalo would have literally zero control over the zoo

        • OldFirstWard

          What do you want to feed the animals, quinoa, kale, and pumpkin ale?

        • Mr. B

          ” . . . giving the Zoo an open access, campus-like feel.”

          Well, hell — if you’re gonna give the zoo an “open access, campus-like feel”, don’t be half-arsed about it: extend that “open access” to the “residents” (i.e., the animals) . . . get rid of all cages and other barriers.

          I’m sure the big cats will enjoy the open access to deer, the birds of prey open access to small rodents, the bison and gorilla open access to humans, etc. . .

          .

        • grovercleveland

          Holy shit, this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever proposed. Which is impressive.

        • PaulBuffalo

          Mr Ricchiazzi, this is the most brilliant idea you’ve ever had. Are you planning to eliminate animal cages, too, to enhance the campus feel? Hey, how about combining this with your proposed cereal museum? You’ve got a true winner with this one. Don’t listen to the naysayers. They don’t have your vision.

  • Just get rid of the whole thing then.

  • Mailman

    The author forgot to mention the event is only for white people.

  • Will-Riker

    This may of been the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Thanks for the laugh.

  • nuvaux

    This is a lie: “DOT plans to take 14 acres of Delaware Park” . It does no such thing.