The Cars Sharing Main Street Project is back on track. Earlier today, Mayor Byron Brown announced that construction would soon begin on lower Main Street, between Exchange and Scott Streets.
“This next phase of work to bring vehicular traffic to the lower end of Main Street – from Exchange to Scott streets – will be a major boost for Canalside, the Key Bank Center, HarborCenter and the soon-to- open Explore & More Children’s Museum,” Mayor Brown said. “We’ve already seen the many benefits of improved access the Cars Sharing Main Street project has brought to the 500 through 700 blocks of Main Street, and we expect it to have an even greater positive impact on Lower Main.”
Mayor Brown has been a staunch advocate for bringing cars back to Main Street since taking office. His feelings were that the street had languished for far too long. What was once a booming downtown corridor became a virtual ghost town when automobile traffic was banished from Buffalo’s once burgeoning Main Street. Since car traffic has been restored on other sections of Main Street, the groundwork for a resurgence has been laid, with some encouraging results from the get-go.
- The $2.8 million 700 block was completed in 2009 and included a two-way conversion of Main Street and bicycle lanes
- Construction on the 600 block of Main Street began in late 2012, with a total project cost of $8 million, and was completed in January 2014
- 500 block construction began in the fall of 2013 for a total project cost of about $21 million. It was completed on December 2015
Project preparations are currently underway, which will ultimately lead to the construction phase. The $22.5 million lower Main Street Project will begin with utility relocation work, and the replacement of infrastructure, which will accommodate the cars.
- Senator Charles E. Schumer helped to secure $18 million in funding from a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant for the lower Main Street project.
- Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, as well as the City of Buffalo, provided the remaining $4.5 million needed for the project.
“The City of Buffalo will soon start work to add Cars Sharing Main Street to Lower Main, adjacent to Buffalo’s Inner Harbor and Canalside utilizing the $18 million in U.S. Department of Transportation grant funds I successfully secured for this critical project. This will mark the fourth segment of this project that is breathing new life into downtown Buffalo through improved access,” U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said.
“As the state has made unprecedented investments throughout Buffalo and Western New York, the Cars on Main Street project has been an important complement to our work to revitalize the City,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With this latest extension along lower Main Street, we will be able to better connect residents and tourists to the excitement happening along our waterfront at Canalside and the Outer Harbor. The turnaround of Buffalo and Western New York has truly been remarkable, and the extension of Cars on Main Street will help to keep up the momentum and transformation of this incredible community.”
The project is expected to extend through multiple construction seasons, due to the number of parties involved and the complex nature of that section of Main Street. Ultimately, the goal is to have clear car (and bike) access leading from the waterfront to the outskirts of the city, via Main Street.