More inventive thinking and planning is coming to an area close to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). Thanks to $75,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York State Department of Transportation, a plan will be developed that will identify further potential for smart transportation infrastructure and technology, along the Main Street corridor, from Goodell Street to Ferry Street.
The project, Creating a Smart Corridor Plan for Main Street in Buffalo, N.Y., will be drawn up in tandem with the City’s next big Main Street initiative – the start of a design process that that will see Complete Streets infrastructure introduced to that same section of Main Street. The BNMC and the City will be working together to come up with a plan that will incorporate smart transportation infrastructure and technology, while improving energy efficiency, and reducing emissions. Access, mobility, and traffic safety will also be taken into account. The BNMC study, which supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s nation-leading energy goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, will result in a set of recommendations and anticipated costs.
The primary goal of the project will be to create a more innovative streetscape to ensure a greener, safer, more efficient and integrated transportation system for the future.
According to William Smith, Director of Access and Planning for BNMC, “The funding affords us the ability to identify opportunities to improve the street for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists while at the same time, to plan for the future with new technologies such as sensing technologies, wireless communications, autonomous vehicles, and dynamic and smart parking technologies that can help Buffalo become a model of efficiency, safety, and more sustainable environmental approaches.” He added, “The timing is ideal, as we have the opportunity to work with the City of Buffalo as they embark on streetscape improvements that may allow us to integrate our recommendations simultaneously, vastly improving Main Street for all.”
The study is certainly great news for this section of Main Street, which will soon benefit from a $13 million streetscape improvement. It would be an opportune time to extend the progressive infrastructure enhancements past Ferry, all the way to the UB’s South Campus. Years ago, the City installed center median planters instead of a “Complete Street” with bike lanes. Looking back, that was a very big mistake, and should be corrected as part of an annex plan. Maybe the Smart Corridor Plan can make some recommendations for the near future?
“The Main Street corridor through the Medical Campus area is ripe for infrastructure improvements to complement the development that continues to transform this area. My administration has led the way in initiating the transformation of Buffalo’s transportation network following the Complete Streets model that accommodates bicycles, pedestrians and motorists in an equitable manner. Working with the BNMC on this grant will afford the opportunity to advance the Complete Streets model with the latest technology,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said.
Work on the Smart Corridor Plan will begin this year and is set to include:
- Developing an RFP process to choose a subcontractor who will work with BNMC and the City on smart corridor design considerations, anticipated benefits and associated costs
- Developing a project steering committee to guide the project
- Ensure coordination among stakeholders
- Provide relevant data, insight and information
- Review and comment on project findings
- Developing a Smart Corridor recommendations report which will include a review of existing plans, technologies and conditions, an outline of best practices and potential opportunities, and specific recommendations and anticipated costs
Some of the design and technology elements that the Smart Corridor Plan will focus on are:
- Wireless communications
- Sensing technologies
- Connected and autonomous technologies including connected safety systems
- Dynamic traffic control and crossing signalization
- Smart parking technologies
- Transit technologies including real time data and systems coordination
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency applications
The Smart Corridor Plan is anticipated to be completed within a year’s time. Moving forward, the planning team will be working with BNMC member institutions, transportation service providers, utility companies, surrounding neighborhoods, and local and national experts in the field of smart transportation and city planning.