I’ve lived on the near West Side for upwards of 30 years now. During that time, my wife and I have almost been killed by cars at least 5 times, while riding our bikes. We are very wary of the most dangerous intersections, and overly cautious as we approach them. But for others, who are less familiar with these “red flag” intersections, there will unfortunately be times when they too will realize the impending dangers.
In order to alleviate these dangers, GObike Buffalo is always looking for ways to create street calming scenarios at these high risk intersections. This past weekend, the organization had this to say about the problematic bike-ped infrastructure on the city’s West Side:
12-year-old Marcell Yanders was killed by a speeding truck on Monday in Buffalo’s west side, just outside his school while walking home. Another pedestrian was hit and killed in Lovejoy, and two more were hit and injured in Buffalo and Tonawanda. All in this week, alone.
Tragedies like these are avoidable with regular investments in designing and implementing complete streets (where pedestrians are prioritized and drivers will not feel as confident speeding or driving while distracted) to ensure that our most vulnerable roadway users are always safe without the need for extractive enforcement measures. As a community, it takes all of us to advocate for these safer designs to be implemented around the region.
Along with the unnamed victims of the other crashes, our thoughts are with Marcell’s family during this devastating time. There’s a GoFundMe going on now: GoFundMeMarcellYanders
The West Side is not alone, where bike-ped safety issues are concerned. There are big problems all over the city. Recently, we saw that new speed humps were being installed via The Slow Streets Program. The speed hump program is just one way to get drivers to slow down.
As a way to demonstrate further effects of street calming initiatives, GObike teamed up with Fillmore District Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski and Evergreen Health to introduce a temporary traffic calming project at a troublesome intersection in the West Village (off Chippewa, near Niagara Street). An accompanying video offers some community feedback, in response to the initiative.
It’s good to see traffic calming measures gaining speed in Buffalo. Personally, I’m very familiar with the intersection featured in the video. There’s a lot going on there, with a nearby high school, residents, a corner store, and drivers trying to scramble from Chippewa to Niagara Street. It’s a recipe for disaster.
The traffic calming measures that have been introduced, albeit temporary, are great to see. Hopefully this project will lead to long-term action, with permanent safety features in place. Listening to the responses from neighbors, these types of projects should be considered “no brainers.”
Read the full report, along with data results, here. Lead image courtesy GObike Buffalo.