This Saturday, May 14th join local vendors and the team at GObike for the block party of the year and experience Buffalo in a refreshing new way! Bring your friends and family and bike your way to Forest Avenue in-between Richmond and Baynes Street from 11am-3pm for an afternoon of celebration for the positive changes being made to better our city’s cycling community!
By blocking off the street to cars for the afternoon, this event serves as a reminder about how awesome it can be to ride without fear, and encourages people with the possibilities that are to come. This event will be packed with local vendors, games (including bike polo and rock climbing), music and the overall sense of regathering the community after the long winter months we just endured.
Although this event might seem all fun and games, it serves an even greater purpose: an informal kickoff to the Forest Avenue Healthy Streets Initiative. According to GObike, “Along this section of Forest Avenue, between Richmond and Niagara Streets in particular, there are roughly 4,250 residents (American Community Survey 5-year; 2015-2019). Based on counts conducted by GObike Buffalo in fall 2021, 230 pedestrians and bicyclists utilize this corridor every day. Four different bus routes also pass through this area, and serve over 200 average daily passengers from this neighborhood (American Community Survey 5-year; 2015-2019). However, between 2015 and 2019 (American Community Survey), approximately 18 pedestrians were hit by cars, one pedestrian was killed, and 18 bicyclists were also hit by cars.”
The City of Buffalo continues to make efforts to improve safe access for pedestrians and bicycles consistent with the regional plan. As construction nears completion on Niagara Street for protected bicycle lanes as part of the Empire State Trail, additional investments are planned on Elmwood and Delaware Avenues. However, a gap in planning and investment exists along Forest Avenue to connect these new facilities. In partnership with the city of Buffalo, and with generous funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, GObike is working to redesign the street to slow traffic and make Forest Avenue safer for all modes of transportation.
Kevin Heffernan of GObike expressed his excitement for not just the city’s advancements, but also stressed the importance of an event like this, by saying, “This event is for everybody as this is a major piece in the bike master plan, to get an East West connector going from Niagara Street. It all starts with getting people comfortable on the street again and that’s why we are really excited to close it off to cars.”
By making this section of Forest Avenue more accessible and safe to pedestrians and bicyclists alike, this partnership with the city of Buffalo will create better connections between neighborhoods and business districts, and improve health and safety for its residents and visitors.
With these incredible initiatives underway, it’ll take a whole village to make all of this possible. That’s why GObike is asking for YOUR help!
Heffernan states, “We’ll be asking for volunteers that day to help us redesign the road to include a “protected” two-way cycle track. Which means we’ll be painting the entire street from Rees to Niagara, and installing rubber form and delineators to section off the bike lane. Work will begin early June.”
We promote active biking, walking and transit, trails and greenways, and complete streets in Western New York. We work directly with and connect communities through advocacy, education, planning, projects, and engagement. GObike’s complete streets work includes building temporary pop-up healthy streets initiatives like crosswalks, bike lanes, and other street features using paint and construction materials.
In an effort to make our roads safer for everyone, GObike is looking for additional support for pop-up healthy streets initiatives in Buffalo. Community volunteers are invited to assist in the implementation of a complete streets pop-up project on Forest Ave. This is an on-street, short term infrastructure project, repainting and reconfiguring crosswalks and refreshing bike lanes.
Key responsibilities include:
- Implementing pop-up healthy streets initiatives, including setting up stencils, painting crosswalks, controlling traffic, installing delineator posts and rubberform curbing
For those looking to get involved in the community and influence our city for the better, consider this volunteer opportunity! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with interest in learning more. Ultimately, they are looking for people who are able to stand outdoors for a few hours, potentially do some lifting, kindly engage with traffic to protect your install teams, and who know and understand traffic laws, including those for drivers, walkers, bikers.
More information about the Open Streets Party happening this Saturday can be found at www.facebook.com/events/680751076537527