Category Archives: News

NYSDOT to Host Public Information Meeting on the Scajaquada Expressway on September 16

NYSDOT will host a public information meeting on Wednesday, September 16, at 5 to 8:30 pm to discuss proposed project alternatives to transform the Scajaquada Expressway from an urban expressway to an urban boulevard that is in harmony with the surrounding community. The meeting will be held in the auditorium of Frederick Law Olmsted Public School 64, located at 874 Amherst Street at Lincoln Parkway in the City of Buffalo.

The meeting will include an informal open house with displays about the proposed project. A formal presentation and panel discussion about project objectives and the alternatives being studied is scheduled for 7 p.m. NYSDOT representatives will be available to receive public comments and answer questions. 

We greatly encourage all supporters of the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition to attend the event. We also encourage all supporters to review the 2005 short-term and long-term plans developed with extensive community input, which the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition continues to support.

The Scajaquada Corridor Coalition is particularly concerned with NYSDOT addressing the following points:

  • All proven traffic calming techniques should be applied to the project area to establish a 30mph design speed and create a safe and more accessible urban boulevard.
  • Additional opportunities for public access crossing the Scajaquada via bicycle and pedestrian are needed.
  • Adequate crosswalks with the appropriate safe crossing treatments.
  • The Parkside and Scajaquada intersection should be greatly improved to provide a safer pedestrian crossing for the neighborhood and students from Medaille College that use it, current alternatives do not adequately address this issue.
  • Roadway design and landscape restoration should be employed to minimize the intrusion of vehicle travel through the historic landscape of Delaware Park to the greatest extent possible.
  • The Main Street intersection at the Scajaquada needs to be improved for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles.  Improved access to and exit from the Route 198 corridor at Main Street is a critical part of improvements within the entire corridor.  All pedestrian crossings do not meet the state standard for safety.
  • Create a complete street that accommodates all roadway users; this includes vehicles, commuting bicyclists, recreational bicyclists, recreational joggers and walkers.
  • On-street bike lanes and pedestrian walkways are desired connecting to the citywide network.
  • Gateways should be established within each end of the corridor honoring the historical significance of this area by creating a welcoming and inspiring user experience.
  • Storm water runoff should be treated naturally throughout the entire Scajaquada corridor.
  • Improved ingress/egress from Delaware Park and other facilities is necessary.
  • Establish a long-term maintenance plan with all stakeholders and agencies.
  • Coordination with NFTA to leverage additional investment as a way to encourage alternative modes of transportation and integrate the corridor into the existing metro system.
  • Identify opportunities for additional street connections.

We also greatly encourage those with questions on traffic studies, traffic redirection, and corridor impact to attend the event in order to understand their ongoing analysis.

 For more information on the press conference and NYSDOT’s current reconfiguration efforts, see NYSDOT’s press release.

SCC Asks for NYSDOT’s Plans for the Scajaquada

The Scajaquada Corridor Coalition met today at the Point of the Meadow in Delaware Park to urge NYSDOT to communicate their plans for the continued calming of the 198.

NYSDOT originally stated that all short-term modifications, including the installation of three crosswalks, would be completed by August 31, 2015. To date, lane width has been reduced and stop signs have been installed at on-ramps to the expressway, but crosswalk installation has not yet been initiated.

NYSDOT also announced on July 6 that long-term plans for the Scajaquada Corridor will be presented at a public meeting in the City of Buffalo within weeks. No such meeting has yet to be held though a tentative date of September 16, 2015, has been named by NYSDOT.

Speaking on behalf of the SCC, Justin Booth urged NYSDOT to communicate their plans for the expressway.

Booth also encouraged the inclusion of the community’s vision in long-term planning as community concerns have historically been ignored. Residents of the area and members of the SCC have expressed for more than a decade their vision of calming the Scajaquada in order to increase the safety of residents, cyclists, and pedestrians; reduce congestion and noise levels; and reconnect the historic Delaware Park.

“Let’s return to a roadway in harmony with the community,” stated Brian Dold, Outreach and Advocacy Advisor for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

Amber Small, Executive Director of the Parkside Community Association, agreed.

“We’re not just a neighborhood of residents; we are a neighborhood of people who visit the park, people who visit the zoo. And we want to make sure we have a safe and positive experience for everyone,” said Small.

“The work we are talking about to the Scajaquada Expressway is not to stop cars from driving down this roadway; it’s to make sure that they do it in a safer fashion so that all park visitors, all neighborhood residents, and everyone who drives through the community can do so in a safe way.”

Community representative and professional architect Michael DeLuca also expressed his support for including the community’s vision in future Scajaquada planning.

“We want people to enjoy this part of the community; not just fly through it,” said DeLuca.

The SCC has asked for information from NYSDOT on future plans to no avail. Communications with NYSDOT is included here: SCC Letters to NYSDOT.

The 2005 community vision of the Scajaquada is here: 2005 EPP Long Term Design

SCC Holding Public Gathering Today in Delaware Park

The Scajaquada Corridor Coalition (SCC), a group of organizations with an interest in improving the Scajaquada area, will gather at 11 am today in Delaware Park’s Point of the Meadow to discuss changes to the roadway that the NYS Department of Transportation has yet to make.

The SCC would like to applaud Governor Cuomo for his expediency in making this corridor safer, the community has eagerly awaited this transformation for over a decade, however; the timeline for implementation of all the short-term changes identified by NYSDOT has already expired, and the SCC is very concerned that some of these key components will be further delayed,” said SCC spokesperson Justin Booth.

“The SCC has received significant public input from citizens, businesses, institutions and public leaders alike, with the vast majority supporting the Scajaquada’s return to a parkway. The SCC would like to see continued progress and a timeline on when we will see the completion of the short term measures and a timeline to begin developing the long term plan.”

Previously this summer, the public was assured that changes would be implemented by the end of August on the former Scajaquada Expressway. Among those changes were signalized pedestrian crossings and raised crosswalks, lane width reduction and a restriping of the roadway. These changes were announced by the NYSDOT on July 6, but the pedestrian crossings have yet to be implemented.

“The long-term changes included in the 2004 Expanded Project Proposal provided by the NYS Department of Transportation are strongly supported by the SCC. That plan also provided more immediate changes needed to begin the transition, and repair damages done by the roadway to Delaware Park,” said SCC Steering Committee member and Landscape Architect, Brian Dold. “Much work was already completed a decade ago and we would like to encourage NYSDOT to be more prudent in the implementation of this plan previously vetted by the community.”

“The speed-limit reduction has benefited the Parkside community, but we need more permanent changes to be implemented for pedestrian and driver safety,” said Michael DeLuca, Chair of the Parkside Community Association’s Traffic Committee and SCC Steering Committee member. “The Parkside Community Association has pursued right sizing the Scajaquada Expressway since early 2000s. Throughout this effort, our community has been clear that parkway condition at a low speed is needed. This lowered speed limit, coupled with additional traffic calming techniques along the entire length of the expressway, is essential to reconnecting the many communities that have been divided and damaged by this roadway.”

 

 

SCC Committee Meeting Minutes: August 18, 2015

Our committee, including representatives from all four of our advocacy planks, meets every other week to regroup and coordinate our efforts. Below are our minutes from August 18.

Advocacy Committee, led by Amber Small; focused on media efforts and outreach

Plan to outreach at some of remaining community festivals this summer; we will need volunteers. Events include:

  • Music Is Art
  • Elmwood Festival
  • Need materials: brochures, display boards, large vinyl banner of final design plan graphic, SCC logo; display board of short term improvements, bike/ped plan, cross sections, renderings etc.
  • Brian to make recommendations; Kerri to get quotes
  • Plan to make specific outreach to organizations:
    • Mike DeLuca will be speaking with Vision Niagara on Wednesday.
    • Brian to send presentation to Mike.

Thea has been working on updates to Facebook and Website:

  • Plans to add detailed timeline of advocacy efforts and testimonials.
  • Will outreach to Brian for additional info.
  • Thea needs access to website as an Admin. Alan needs to change her status.
    • In WordPress – under users – change editor to publisher.
    • Thea, Justin and Amber should all have access.
  • Thea has created a twitter account – @rightsize198…should give a shout out.

Schedule press conference at Point of the Meadow for 8/31.

No general email was sent out after the last meeting; should prepare an email for short term press event as follow up to group

Design Committee, led by Lou; focused on future design of corridor

At meeting on 8/6 @ Lou’s house:

  • Discussed project background; general discussion of individual thoughts on corridor
  • Focus on Vision for Future, not getting caught up on design details
  • Recommendation to educate public on EPP recommendations for short term
    • Need to provide access to document for committee and public
    • BOPC working on flipbook
  • Recommendation to advocate NYSDOT for ITE Standards Manual
  • NYSDOT has stated they do not want to meet with individual groups
  • BOPC planning to request meeting to discuss all operational issues relating to short term improvements.

Next meeting on 8/26 @ 7pm (Parkside Lodge)

Events Committee, led by Kerri Markovich; focused on awareness advocacy

  • Recommendation to schedule press conference for the last day of the month (8/31) at Point of the Meadow to discuss delays in short term improvements implementation.
  • Assemblyman Ryan’s Office has outreached to Region 5, Albany, and Governor’s office regarding possible shutdown event:  awaiting response.

Government Committee, led by Brian Dold; focused on government coordination for SCC 

  • Set up meeting w GBNRTC – 8/24/15 @12:30 (PhillipsLytle)
  • Continued plan for outreach to elected, specifically Hochul

Press Conference

  • Planned for 8/31
  • Further coordination required by email:
    • Speakers
    • Talking points
    • Time
    • Support materials

Buffalo Olmsted Conservancy Posts Position Statement

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has posted its position statement on the former expressway. See it here. It is the BOPC’s stated position that the former expressway should never have been imposed on Delaware Park, and it should be removed. In the event that it can be shown that the long-term needs of the community require the taking of public parkland, then any new roadway must be constructed in a manner and in design consistent with Olmsted’s goals as articulated above. There must be free and unimpeded access from The Meadow to Hoyt Lake, with the Delaware Bridge restored to park use. To date, none of the proposed plans meet this criteria.

ROCC Joins the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition

ROCC logo

The Restore Our Community Coalition joins with the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition in seeking to improve our community.  The ROCC notes that with respect to the purpose of the SCC and improving Delaware Park through reclaiming land taken by the former expressway, “the speed reduction to 30 mph should be thought of as an upgrade for the community, instead of a downgrade for commuters.”

Read the ROCC’s notes on  Reasons to Upgrade the Scajaquada Expressway here.