It looks as if the future of bike-friendly-Buffalo depends on all of us to participate. At least, that’s the way that GObike Buffalo looks at it. In a city with limited resources (financial and personnel), city-wide bike safety and connectivity is an issue that needs to be constantly addressed.
We’ve seen some incredible success stories with the dedicated bike lanes on Niagara Street via the Niagara Street Now infrastructure improvements. We’ve also seen plenty of dropped balls, such as the lack of Complete Streets infrastructure along Main Street, between the University District and Canisius College.
In order to “move the needle” quicker and further, GObike Buffalo is pushing even harder to get grassroots bike-forward measures up and running. Part of the plan is to secure permits from the City that allows the organization’s volunteers to paint sharrows and crosswalk ladders directly onto streets.
“After receiving our permits from the City of Buffalo, GObike is rolling full speed ahead implementing pop-up complete streets projects. Our all-female crew plus volunteers have painted 64 bike-icons and more than 20 crosswalks ladders onto City of Buffalo streets in that short time.” – GObike Buffalo
In a recent e-blast, GObike Buffalo chided the City of Buffalo’s Department of Public Works’ proposed street designs for Franklin, Chippewa, and Court streets, by stating that they “ignored recommendations from the Bicycle Master Plan and failed to ensure the safety of those walking and biking.”
^Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski – Fillmore District and resident Martha Heidinger joined GObike’s pop-up complete streets crew last week to paint four crosswalk ladders at South Park Avenue and Hamburg Street in the Old First Ward.
During a recent Complete Streets-inspired pop-up event in the Old First Ward, a number of passersby stopped by to ask what the group was up to. Seeing that so many people were curious about the undertaking, GObike Buffalo decided to put together a short informational Q&A, to help everyone catch up to speed with their tireless work.
1. What are pop-up complete streets?
Pop-up complete streets projects are temporary street treatments that provide a tangible visualization of how walking, bicycling, and public transit facilities can create safer, more engaging streets. GObike supports complete streets because we believe everyone has a right to feel comfortable and safe from traffic violence in their neighborhood. (Watch our outreach director, Rebecca Reilly, tell Slow Roll Buffalo about the program).
2. Do you have permits to do the work?
Yes, every project is approved by the municipality before application.
3. Shouldn’t the municipality be doing this work?
Yes! Call your local, state, and federal representatives to let them know you care about funding and maintaining complete streets and bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. Report local issues to 311. Until adequate resources are available for basic street maintenance, GObike will continue to work with municipalities, elected leaders, and community groups to develop creative solutions to ensure our streets are safe for all users.
4. Who funds these projects?
GObike receives funding from various sources, sometimes project-specific and sometimes for pop-up projects to be identified at our discretion. We work with community groups to identify areas in need of pop-up infrastructure elements. 2020 funding sources include NYS Department of Health Creating Health Schools and Community grant and the WNY Land Conservancy.
5. How can I help?
We need volunteers! Sign up to help paint via our volunteer form.
Aside from these pop-up initiatives, GOBike is also asking community members to weigh in on the Middle Main Rehabilitation Project, which extends from Goodell to West Ferry. Preliminary design work is underway, which is why it’s so important to participate by filling out this survey. Anyone that has ever tried to bike down “Middle Main” or “The Midway” understands that the endeavor is not pleasant and very risky. Finally, we will (hopefully) see some key bike-friendly infrastructure coming to a street that could use it most.
Live Stream with Buffalo’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Board
And finally, anyone interested in tuning in to a Live Stream of Buffalo’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Board can do so by visiting GObike’s Facebook page on Monday, 9/14, at 5:30 pm. This will be a great opportunity to learn how, why, and when Buffalo’s bicycle infrastructure is upgraded. Do we have to wait for a mill and overlay to see bike lanes on Delavan Avenue, between Main Street and Delaware Avenue? Is the City adhering to the Bicycle Master Plan? Are things speeding right along, or moving at a snail’s pace? What’s the timeline? What’s the process? What does the future of bike-friendly Buffalo look like?