Tag Archives: public meeting

Proposed Plan for Scajaquada Transformation Does Not Achieve Community’s Vision

 

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has announced the next public hearing to solicit public feedback for their plan to transform the Scajaquada Expressway into a Boulevard on December 14, 2016, at the Fredrick Law Olmsted Public School 64 auditorium (874 Amherst Street) beginning at 5:30 pm. The project is currently scheduled to allow construction to begin in fall 2017.

Based on our initial review, the Scajaquada Corridor Coalition (SCC), which represents multiple stakeholders, including the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the Parkside Community Association, and GObike Buffalo, as well as community groups and thousands of individuals, opposes the current project design because it fails to meet the aspirational vision laid out by Governor Cuomo and supported by the community since this process began in 2001.

As we have seen in the City of Buffalo as well as cities across the state and country, communities desire Complete Streets. Through complete streets, we are developing multi-modal networks that provide safe access to jobs, education, health care and other essential services for all roadway users. This makes walking, biking and public transit viable transportation choices for everyone while contributing to the health, equity, economic vibrancy and quality of life in our city.

These objectives have not been met in NYSDOT’s current plan; instead, their proposed design continues to perpetuate the challenges of a limited access expressway with a 30MPH speed limit. The SCC vehemently opposes the current boulevard design due to:

  • The lack of a meaningful and engaging public input process while NYSDOT ignores multiple submissions by community organizations with constructive recommendations;
  • Prioritization of vehicle traffic over the safety of vulnerable users through:
    • Over-sized intersections that will make crossings unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists;
    • Medians throughout the corridor at the expense of park space and on-street bicycle facilities; and
    • Adverse impacts upon the Historic Olmsted Park and Parkway System as well as the surrounding cultural and educational institutions and business districts; and
  • The plan’s limited scope, including the absence of addressing impacted communities west of Grant Street and east of Parkside Avenue.

As the New Buffalo continues to re-invent itself becoming a great city once again, NYSDOT is stuck in the Robert Moses-era of planning mistakes by focusing singularly on moving vehicles through our community. At no additional cost, the community’s Scajaquada Boulevard vision could cement our city’s renaissance if vehicle traffic is not the sole consideration of its design; instead, people are.

A Disappointing NYSDOT Meeting

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.

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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.

Additional Resources:

NYSDOT September 16 Presentation

NYSDOT Scajaquada Corridor Webpage

WBFO Article: Change Expected to Arrive Slowly Along the Scajaquada Expressway