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More of Main St. may soon be open to cars in Downtown Buffalo

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 17:58:06-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Cars on Main St. in Downtown Buffalo is a reality for some stretches like the 500 block. Buffalo Cigars sits at the edge of the block on the corner of W Mohawk and Main. Euri Santana, an employee at Buffalo Cigars, said having cars be able to pull right up to the front door is a plus.

"I've had numerous customers just pull up, go on their phone or walk to the meter, pay for it, come in come out," he said. "It definitely has helped with business."

Across the street Main is still closed to cars. Cafe Taza, on the 300 block of Main, doesn't think being closed off to cars harms business. Lillian Cranmer, an employee at the cafe, says foot traffic is the cafe's mainstay.

"I don't know whether having cars going past would negatively impact that or not," she said. "The foot traffic that we have I think is a positive thing for our business."

What if the business is not a cafe, but a bank? One-thousand plus new M&T Bank employees will soon be heading to Seneca One Tower. A move that prompted Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) to ask for federal funding to open up more of Main St. to cars.

"So I am here today to launch a major effort to get $25 million in federal funding to complete the "Cars on Main" program," he said.

The senator and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who joined Schumer at the press conference in front of Seneca One Tower, say allowing cars on this stretch of Main is crucial to Buffalo's downtown resurgence. The specific federal funding Schumer is asking for would open Main Street between Swan and Exchange streets to vehicle traddic. A sight Santana of Buffalo Cigars would like to see.

"Having Main Street open does definitely help, and it is the best option," Santana said.

The $25 million grant still awaits approval, a process Schumer said can take 3-6 months. If the grant is approved the city said it will take at least two years for cars to be fully integrated onto the three block stretch of Main Street.