U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer has expressed his support for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to approve a plan that would permanently slow traffic and help make Rt. 198 safer.
“…I am urging the federal Department of Transportation to work with New York State and local officials to quickly approve this plan, which would pump the brakes on cars that speed through this area and add greater protection for families and children living in the neighboring Parkside community,” said Schumer in a press release issued today.
Also according to the press release, Schumer believes reclassifying the road would not only improve safety for drivers by reducing speeds, but it would also increase the area’s pedestrian friendliness. He is pushing for a plan that would, first, help the community implement increased safety measures and encourage drivers to abide by the newly lowered speed limit, which was changed from 50 mph to 30 mph following the deadly May crash. Second, the redesign would help create the possibility for bicycle lanes and crosswalks, as well as improved aesthetics along the side of the road. This would mean a greater buffer between the roadway and the park. Finally, the plan would help reunify the park, which was cut in half by this busy expressway. By better integrating the park with crosswalks, sidewalks, and a roadway with traffic signs and slower speeds, Schumer said this plan would increase the safety of the road and neighborhood, returning to the original functionality of this historic Olmstead park.
Schumer was scheduled to appear in Buffalo regarding this matter today but cancelled due to not feeling well. An article was published in the Buffalo News announcing his support.
Roughly 1,200 speeding tickets have been issued on the Scajaquada Expressway since the speed reduction went into effect in June 2015. We really appreciate the enforcement of the new speed limit but, as noted by the Buffalo News, this is only half the battle.
“It’s important to realize the police have a difficult task because we need to move the design of the roadway to 30 miles per hour and not just post signs stating 30 miles per hour,” said Justin Booth, spokesman for the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition and executive director of GoBike Buffalo.
Booth said the expressway, in its present form, makes it hard for drivers to comply with a lower speed limit. They see the expressway and want to move at expressway speeds.
The narrowing of lanes, placement of stop signs on entrance ramps and beginning construction on installing pedestrian crossings – moves undertaken by the state Department of Transportation since a car left the expressway and killed a 3-year-old boy on the park Ring Road – are good but are not enough, he said.
“There’s still more to be done and committed to, like the transition zones from the I-190 and Route 33. That needs to be implemented to make sure a pedestrian isn’t hit at these new crossings,” Booth said.
To read the entire article, go here,
After extensive discussions, the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition (SCC) and GObike Buffalo have not been granted the necessary approvals to host a Slow Roll on the Scajaquada on October 12th. Due to the short time frame, safety concerns and costs it became apparent that this was too ambitious to pull off.
All contributions via Gofundme will be refunded. There will still be a Slow Roll on Monday, October 12th, with another new route departing from the originally scheduled location of Big Ditch Brewing Company, 55 E. Huron St.
We are disappointed, but not defeated – while we look to a future date for this ride, anyone interested in this issue is encouraged to keep in touch with the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition (SCC) and our continued effort to rightsize Route 198 (#rightsize198). The SCC will receive the $288 in cash donations collected after last night’s ride to support their efforts.
We appreciate all who’ve supported this effort and Slow Roll Buffalo in general!
Great news! The SCC will be hosting a Parkside Revival Ride down the Scajaquada Expressway on 10/12! The ride will begin and end at Parkside Lodge on Monday, October 12th – meet at 5:30pm, roll at 6pm.
The Slow Roll Parkway Revival ride will give riders of all ages and ability the chance to experience the community vision of a bikable, walkable Scajaquada Expressway. Since Slow Roll Buffalo is all about promoting harmony, community character, and improved connectivity, it only makes sense to Slow Roll down the Scajaquada!
However, our pending approval by the New York State Department of Transportation and City of Buffalo is partially contingent upon funding. Money raised will cover the cost of the permit, insurance, and a company to implement the road closure, which includes placement of construction cones, signs, and flashing beacons.
We are calling on concerned community members to help us cover the substantial costs of the road closure with a financial contribution of any amount – and then join us for a Slow Roll Parkway Revival! We urge you to donate today at our GOFund Me site.
On behalf of more than 100 organizations and 3,000 citizens, the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition submitted comments to NYSDOT today regarding the community’s vision for future of the 198.
Right-sizing the Scajaquada has been the desire of the community for more than 15 years. Although the speed reduction to 30 mph on the expressway began the transition, there are still many improvements to be made, all of which lie in NYSDOT’s hands.
The SCC finds NYSDOT’s proposal to not implement any short-term measures for the next four to six years to be unacceptable. Without short-term physical measures in place to clue motorists to the 30 mph posted speed, the Scajaquada remains a mismatched route designed with a highway feel but with a 30 mph speed limit. In addition to being both dangerous and confusing for motorists, the plan continues to neglect the repeatedly expressed concerns of the surrounding community.
The SCC has requested the following changes to be implemented as soon as possible:
- Traffic calming measures, including speed transitions from I-190 and Route 33 such as strategically placed rumble strips, overhead signs, streetscapes, streetlights, and intersections;
- Lane width reduction from 12′ to 11′;
- Shoulder with rumble strips to reinforce narrower lanes;
- Removal of the median barrier;
- A bicycle and pedestrian plan including sidewalks, bike lanes, and raised crosswalks; and
- Focused landscaping developments at transitions.
To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.
A recent opinion article by Alan Bozer published in the Buffalo News expressed disappointment in NYSDOT’s Scajaquada public meeting on September 16. As noted by Bozer, the meeting simply regurgitated previous statements on the Scajaquada, adding only a traffic study conducted which found that decreasing traffic on the Scajaquada would cause an increase in traffic elsewhere.
“Naturally, taking traffic off the former expressway will increase traffic elsewhere, but it was difficult to understand how and why, and whether the assumption built in the fact that in similar instances in other cities where urban freeways have been removed, traffic simply reroutes itself. Besides, this should be more about urban planning than simply how to get vehicles from point A to point B,” writes Bozer.
“Times have changed. The public counts. The DOT needs to be more accountable to the public, and to get things done.”
Click here for the entire article.
A Buffalo News opinion article on Friday, September 25, shed light on the importance of reducing traffic pollution in order to improve health and safety in our community, offering yet another reason to support the calming of the Scajaquada.
Notes Sam Magavern and Daniel Cadzow, “Vehicles contribute as much as 90 percent of the air pollution in typical urban areas. Researchers have linked traffic pollution to diseases such as asthma, cancer and heart disease. Scientists have also found connections with many other conditions, including autism, obesity, lower IQ, anxiety and depression. Last, but hardly least, transportation creates 27 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
The future of the Scajaquada must incorporate the concerns and needs of the surrounding community, including the health and safety of the surrounding residents, instead of focusing solely on the fastest way to connect the 90 to the 190.
For the entire article, click here.
We asked and you responded… here are the top 6 things you asked for in Delaware Park:
- Bring Back Agassiz Circle
- Resurrect Humboldt Parkway/Bury the 33
- Reunite the Park
- Build Bike Paths Through the Park and on the Scajaquada
- Create a Safe Place for Families to Enjoy
- Make it Walkable
While completing her master’s in Columbia University’s Climate and
Science program, Melissa Bender spent the summer at WNY Environmental Alliance. She writes about the success of the group, including formation of the SCC. on the programs Earth Institute blog:
[The SCC] will bring Buffalo’s admittedly lacking transportation system into the modern era of walkable cities with public transportation options. This plan as a whole will improve access to the park system for all people instead of ushering traffic through it.
We certainly hope so! And we appreciate the support.
Click here for the entire article.
Last night, NYSDOT hosted a presentation on future plans for the Scajaquada Expressway. The presentation provided the history of the project, an overview of project alternatives currently under consideration, and a panel discussion with NYSDOT leaders, Bergmann Associates, a consultant hired to analyze impacts from alternatives, and Greater Buffalo Niagara Region Transportation Council representatives. Questions from the audience were accepted via comment cards.
The SCC is both disappointed and concerned with the dialogue of last night’s meeting.
Our concerns specifically include the following:
- Why was there not a more detailed discussion on the short-term traffic calming measures that, according to the timeline provided, could be the only alterations made for the next 4 to 6 years? We believe the proposed short-term measures on display last night do not go far enough with creating a road condition conducive to the 30 mph speed limit. We want NYSDOT to immediately install all of the community supported short-term measures in the 2005 EPP that was previously shared.
- Why is the main purpose of the long-term project focused on developing a “prudent transportation facility” instead of addressing revitalization of the city, economic development, improved health and safety, reduction in carbon emissions, or building quality of life?
- The presentation format seemed to ignore the community’s concerns and felt contrary to the urgency, energy, and focused attention we had expected to follow Governor Cuomo’s call to action.
- The presenters showed no interest or willingness to address the complete Scajaquada Corridor. Specifically, when asked about Main Street, attendees were told that it was too difficult and expensive to implement, and would not be considered despite this interchange being included in the initial 2007 NYSDOT study of the corridor, as demonstrated below.
We believe that this project is essential towards the future revitalization of our city and we strongly urge NYSDOT to include the community’s requests and vision in the planning of the Scajaquada.
Please send your comments in support of a right-sized Scajaquada directly to NYSDOT via their comment form. Comments are due by September 30, 2015.
NYSDOT September 16 Presentation
NYSDOT Scajaquada Corridor Webpage
WBFO Article: Change Expected to Arrive Slowly Along the Scajaquada Expressway