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Some frustrated over temporary bike lanes meant to keep drivers and bikers safe

forest avenue
Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 18:07:46-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — You may have noticed some changes on a few streets in the City of Buffalo. This includes new bike lanes in places like Forest Avenue.

The bike lane barriers around Forest Ave., are meant to keep riders safe, but there is one problem, a lot of drivers are not happy with them.

"The streets are tight — very, very tight," said driver Husseni Hassani.

Drivers who live in the area like Hassani said the delineators, or cones, are a problem.

"This might cause accidents a lot because, you know, especially Grant Street, it's a busy street," he said.

Kevin Heffernan, a communications director with GObike Buffalo, said what you see from Niagara to Rees Streets along Forest Avenue is only a part of a survey which so far has received a lot of positive feedback.

He says the purpose of this is to demonstrate what a two-way bike lane could look like in this area.

"To narrow those lanes and remove that comfort with speeding is goal number one. To create biking space was kind of the bonus and by doing all of that you actually make it safer for people walking and safer for drivers," Heffernan said.

He said the $50,000 project, which added these delineators, rubber forms and paint a few weeks ago, was all paid for with grant money, but after just a few weeks, bikers and drivers may notice they are knocked down and damaged.

"So every time a cone is knocked over that's from a bad driver and that's what makes it especially frustrating that someone wasn't paying attention," he added.

According to Heffernan, between 2015 and 2019, 36 people were hit by cars in this area on Forest Avenue. One of them was a child who was hit and killed. So for him, this is upsetting, because the goal for drivers should be simple.

"See them as their neighbor, not as their obstacles not as their reasons for being 25 seconds later to something," he said.

It's a problem the City of Lackawanna knows knows all too well. GOBike helped place permanent barriers on Ridge Road for a few years, but not everyone in the city was on board.

We got so many complaints that we had to have it removed," said Mayor Annette Iafallo.

She said although the barriers did not work out, the city still wanted to consider bikers who ride along the road by painting biker lines for them.

"So we have it shared and this works much better for our community," she added.

In Buffalo, Heffernan said the physical barriers and survey will only be up until November 15. From there, the feedback and findings go to city leaders, who will decide whether to make this permanent.