Buffalo has made monumental strides toward becoming a friendlier city to sustainable transportation within recent years. This success can largely be attributed to the work done by the team at GO Buffalo Niagara, a program of GObike Buffalo. This program is doing huge things for our city by working with commuters, employers, and property owners to promote sustainable transportation choices. They provide free resources, tools, and rewards that help commuters in Erie and Niagara counties discover and switch to more sustainable modes of transportation such as walking, biking, public transit, carpooling, and others that don’t involve driving alone. GO Buffalo Niagara strives to help individuals and businesses save money, lead healthier and happier lives, reduce our collective impact on the environment, and facilitate the growth of our region’s communities with a focus on people, not cars.
Some of the statistics surrounding the use of cars in our city alone is staggering. According to research done by this team, on average one car pumps out enough carbon dioxide every year to fill half of Seneca One tower. That’s 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide sent into the air we breathe! Not only that, but using a car as your primary mode of transportation can actually steal days away from your life. That’s right- each year, drivers in the Buffalo Niagara region lose more than a day of their lives in traffic. The team at GO Buffalo Niagara is working to lower these statistics by encouraging people to consider how beneficial a new commute could be. While ditching the ease of a car can seem intimidating, the team at GO Buffalo Niagara is here to ensure that the change doesn’t have to be so scary- it could actually be fun. Kevin Heffernan, Communications Director at GOBike and lifelong cyclist, encourages people to rid themselves of the all or nothing mentality, and instead realize the difference that even small acts can make.
Programs from GO Buffalo Niagara include options for biking, walking, carpooling, and using public transportation that will help ease the stress of finding accessible routes. Brendan Seney, program manager for GO Buffalo Niagara and frequent cyclist and transit rider, encourages those with questions or doubts to visit the GO Buffalo Niagara website for a slew of resources that make changing your mode of transportation so much easier.
“We also have a commuter portal that’s powered by Commutifi. Folks can register and put in information about their commutes, and it’ll give you a commute score between zero and 100 that rates your transportation based on its sustainability. It’ll give you your daily and annual carbon emissions, the time you spend on your commute every year and the cost for your average commute. It gives you alternatives that might be more sustainable, cheaper and better for the environment.”
While Buffalo is still getting over the fear of not being 100% car friendly at every turn, it is beginning to consider more solutions that accomodate the 30% of the city’s population that do not own cars. The most notable example being the implementation of protected bike lanes on Niagara Street, which acts as a major connecting route in our city. With work in progress to expand these existing efforts (Forest Ave Healthy Street Initiative), we can expect to continue to see positive changes in how our city is designed for cyclists. By prioritizing the protection of those walking or cycling, it will increase the popularization of these alternative transportation methods.
“As we increase the infrastructure that we have available to make sure people can use bikes safely and comfortably, we’re getting closer to a point where biking, walking, and public transit are going to be considered more the norm than the outlier,” says Seney.
Outreach Specialist Christine Krolewicz shared that there are options for those with longer commutes, again keeping in mind that this isn’t an all or nothing mentality!
“For people that would have a 30 mile ride to work, these options can seem unreasonable. I’m not asking anyone to do that! But, I did develop a document that suggests places where you can park at the Outer Harbor, if you’re coming from the south towns or at the Lasalle Station if you’re coming from the north towns and then it’s just an easy three mile ride in on roads that have actual bike paths and things like that.”
By combining transportation options, you are still driving less and enjoying a different view of our city with the ride.
Some of the routes available are:
From the Northtowns
1) Park along Lincoln Parkway near Delaware Park and take a relaxing ride into downtown using bike lanes on Linwood, then Delaware and/or Pearl Street.
2) For a longer ride, park at Bird Island Pier and take the new cycle track along Niagara Street and the Shoreline Trail into downtown – don’t forget to take in the views of Lake Erie and the Niagara River!
3) Another longer option is to use the Park & Ride lot at LaSalle Station and ride through the Central Park/Parkside neighborhoods, then cut through Delaware Park and take Linwood to downtown.
For riders who are more comfortable riding with traffic, a more direct route from LaSalle Station Park & Ride includes Main, Fillmore, and Sycamore.
4) Park at Martin Luther King Jr Park and ride Fillmore to Broadway into downtown. Google Maps Directions
From the Southtowns
1) Park at the Lackawanna Victory Transit Center and ride Ridge Road, Fuhrman Blvd, Ohio St into downtown.
2) Park in the West Seneca Municipal Parking and ride Seneca Street and South Park Ave into downtown.
3) Park at Martin Luther King Jr Park and ride Fillmore to Broadway into downtown. Google Maps Directions
4) For a more scenic route, park at Buffalo Harbor State Park and take Ohio Street and Ganson Street into downtown.
The team at GO Buffalo Niagara all actively participate in using alternative modes of transportation, and are true experts when it comes to giving advice surrounding these topics. These services offered not only could better your life, but also impact our environment in a bigger way than you think. From their Guaranteed Ride Home program to their Carpool Matching program and more, GO Buffalo Niagara has everything you need to ensure that your ride is easy, safe and enjoyable.
For more information and to see all of the resources available visit gobuffaloniagara.org