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Sen. Schumer launches push for funding for improvements to Main Street in Buffalo

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 16:36:37-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D - NY) was in Buffalo Friday to announce a push for federal funding for improvements to Main Street in Buffalo between Goodell Street and the Kensington Expressway.

Schumer called on the Department of Transportation to deliver $25 million for the project that he said would "finally repair the pot hole-ridden stretch of Main Street, which separates East Buffalo from downtown."

The project specifically would:

  • Completely mill and repave the roadway, addressing the pothole problems and allow for a new, safer traffic design.
  • Add new crosswalks and curbs with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps and signal infrastructure.
  • Create raised accessible bike lanes with barriers to prevent accidents.
  • Improve the aesthetics of the roadway with benches, bike racks, signage, LED lighting, and greenspace.
  • Showcase local artists and artisans with commissioned works meant to highlight Buffalo’s rich cultural heritages.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg can be found below:

Dear Secretary Buttigieg,

I write to express my strong support for the City of Buffalo’s $25 million application for funding under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program. This application seeks to build on the completion of the long-awaited Cars on Main project by revitalizing 2.5 miles of major roadway adjacent to the Masten Park neighborhood and will help reconnect East Buffalo to the rest of the city. As a main artery of Buffalo’s transportation infrastructure, it is critical that we finally invest the needed capital to make Main Street safe, multi-modal, and sustainable for generations to come.

Main Street in Buffalo, particularly a 2.5 mile stretch between Goodell Street and the Kensington Expressway, has fallen into disrepair as the result of construction and renovations along the corridor, as well as a lack of funding for improvements. Anyone who regularly travels along this thoroughfare can attest that potholes and uneven pavement can make this commute treacherous, particularly in the winter months, even causing damage to vehicles. This is especially true for bicyclists and pedestrians, who for years have complained about the state of the roadway and the dangerous terrain for those not in passenger cars. Main Street has always served as a barrier between East Buffalo and the rest of the city, and the condition of the roadway has only made that barrier more intractable.

Most importantly, this project will completely mill and repave the roadway, finally providing a smooth and safer commute for all who will travel on it. This will include a reconfiguration to improve traffic flow, which will feature a travel lane in each direction and a two-way left-turn lane. For pedestrians, new crosswalks and curbs will be added, including Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramps at intersections. A one-way cycle track on each side of the roadway will ensure Main Street is truly accessible to cyclists and help prevent accidents between bicycles and cars by establishing a dedicated lane for those who choose to bike. Furthermore, the aesthetics of the roadway will be completely changed as well. Reconstruction of sidewalk buffer zones will include new trash receptacles, benches, bike racks, signage, LED lighting, and artwork, as well as freshly planted trees to line the route.

These improvements will truly make Main Street accessible for all, especially those who live in East Buffalo. This is just the latest step in righting the wrongs of the past, which effectively segregated East Buffalo from the rest of the city. This project was designed with the goal of ensuring equity for all residents of the City of Buffalo, and meets the DOT’s stated goals for sustainability. With the impending completion of the Cars on Main project, which is finally returning vehicular traffic and commercial activity to lower Main Street, this project is critical to the goal making the entirety of Buffalo’s Main Street accessible and navigable for all.

I whole-heartedly support the City of Buffalo’s application and hope that it meets with your approval. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of my staff if you have any questions.