New green infrastructure improvements have appeared on William Street, downtown, between Michigan and Jefferson. The stretch of road features bike lanes, rain garden medians, and crosswalks.
It all starts at the corner of William and Jefferson, where Jesse Clipper Square is located. The refurbished micro park is in remembrance of Clipper, who helped to organize the first Colored Musician Local No. 533 in 1917. Clipper was drafted into the army to serve in WWI.
He was the first African American from WNY to die in the war (at the front of France). Ultimately, a legion post was named after Clipper, which resulted in a monument honoring Clipper and fellow black soldiers who have served and given their lives for this country.
Jesse Clipper Square was dedicated in 1935. Today, the square looks a lot better than it did in the past, even though it would benefit from some rain, and by having a trash bin at the site. There is a flagpole with a hoisted US flag and shady trees, but no park benches. This is the type of City park that could gain a lot by transitioning the lawn into a low maintenance Maintained Meadow Area (MMA) that would not be required to be watered – they are much more beautiful and pretty much take care of themselves. Just put in some pavers (for walkways) so that people can still access the monument.
Bike lanes heading in both directions, emanate from the square. The lanes are painted “safety green” in areas where there is merging traffic, or turning lanes.
The stretch of William has benefitted from a road diet that sees one or two traffic lanes in each direction, with turning lanes.
The central median was well thought out, due to the below grade landscaping that helps to retain rainwater. It looks as if mostly hardy indigenous plants were planted, as they are thriving. Some of the trees, on the other hand, look like they have already bit the dust. It’s been a very dry summer, which has been tough on the young trees.