GObike Buffalo’s recently conducted pilot project – Forest Avenue Healthy Streets Initiative – creates a safe connection for cyclists on Forest Avenue, between the Elmwood Village (and SUNY Buffalo State) and Niagara Street (with its own dedicated bike lanes).
Currently, GObike Buffalo has conducted a site takeover of Buffalo Rising’s Twitter page, to demonstrate the successes of the initiative. Kevin Heffernan (Communications Director at GObike) has posted a series of videos that discuss the benefits of the dedicated bike lanes (cycle track), crosswalks, bumpouts, etc., all of which are components of the Buffalo Bicycle Master Plan.
Ultimately, this project helps to create slower, safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians, while bridging neighborhoods in the process.
Heffernan calls the pilot project “A real life example of a survey question.”
You see, with a traditional survey, many people aren’t able to fully grasp all of the various components of a multi-pronged project of this nature, without experiencing the safety features firsthand. The pilot project helps people to better visualize the project – to interact with the safety design elements, whether in a car, or on a bike.
Basically, GObike Buffalo has provided a community service that will stand for three months, before being disassembled before the snow flies. At that time, GObike will reissue surveys, conduct interviews, and assemble project information, before sending all of the information to the City, as well as to those who took the surveys (and provided contact information).
“This project basically downgraded Forest Avenue from a highway scenario to a neighborhood street,” said Heffernan. “We want people to experience this, before giving final input to the City. We need those people who love it to become our biggest advocates.”
Forest Avenue has been falling apart for years. There’s a real opportunity at hand to create a street that functions and flows the way a great urban neighborhood street should. And if all goes according to plan, and the data collected determines that this is the safest way for people to get from Point A to Point B, then GObike Buffalo has done its job.
After all, Buffalo is not the only city that is conducting these types of projects – this is the way of the future. For far too long, our streets have been dedicated to cars. Now, there are opportunities at hand to make streets safer for everyone.
According to Heffernan, work is still underway to straighten out the yellow lines, and to add rubber form to better protect the bike lanes. Once that work is finished, GObike Buffalo will get busy with the surveys and data collection, before providing the information to the City, in hopes that this will one day be a permanent design fixture along the street. Community willing, that is.