Work has begun on the first on-street, two-way protected bike lane in the region. Ridge Road in Lackawanna is getting a bike-friendly makeover, with the installation of a 1.4-mile protected bike lane.
The temporary pilot project will allow the City to determine the practicalities of the project, and study the cyclists’ interaction with the new feature, while determining the need for connectivity to existing and planned bike lanes and greenways, according to GObike Buffalo.
Ultimately, the bike lanes will provide ease of access to the Outer Harbor and the Erie County Industrial Heritage Trail, South Park Avenue, the City of Buffalo, and the Shoreline Trail’s planned extension to Woodlawn Beach.
If everything works according to plan, and the bike-forward infrastructure improvements prove to be a success (thus warranting permanent placement), the bike lanes will one day provide access to the proposed 80-mile Southern Tier Trail.
‘”We’re excited to partner with GObike to provide bicycling enthusiasts in Lackawanna and surrounding areas with the region’s first on-street protected bike lane,” said Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo. “This innovative design will provide a safe and convenient bike path to local recreational and cultural destinations along the Lake Erie waterfront, while also connecting the larger bicycling community to the great restaurants and shops we have in Lackawanna.”
Across the region and the nation, since COVID-19 outbreak, bicycle and pedestrian activity has drastically increased, with local estimates suggesting peaks of 3,000 percent increases in area bicycle activity.
This initial testing of the bike lanes might be considered a “pop-up” at this point in time, but in order to get some bike improvement measures moving along at a good clip, these grassroots initiatives are deemed imperative. GObike has previously demonstrated on numerous occasions the success of these types of urbanist tools. In the end, the City of Tonawanda, the residents, and the cyclists will all have a chance to weigh in.
“Our pop-up complete streets project program starts and ends with the community. We see and hear the demand throughout the region for safer, more comfortable streets,” said Justin Booth, 1 Executive Director for GObike Buffalo. “We prototype a proposed street design with the community and local leaders, allowing for a permanent solution to be developed that addresses any concerns or modifications that arise during the pilot project period.”
GObike supports complete streets because we believe everyone has a right to feel comfortable and safe from traffic violence in their neighborhood.
Due to COVID-19, not only is bike ridership way up in the US (upwards of 3,000 percent), visits to parks are also up around 122%. People are looking to get outdoors, safely, to get exercise and clear their heads, in more open public environs.
This unanticipated downtime caused by the pandemic is the perfect window to be working on these types of bike-ped infrastructure improvements. With fewer cars on the roads, and people looking to walk and bike more, the perfect storm for Complete Streets is upon us.
To view design concepts, and for more information on the Ridge Road protected bike lane project, visit here.