If you’ve spent any time on Elmwood Avenue lately you may have already noticed an initiative to make the city more bike-friendly. A new $50,000 grant will make areas of the city even safer for biking and other outdoor activities.
Executive Director of GOBike Buffalo Justin Booth said, “Our streets are one of our greatest public assets and this is a really great opportunity for us to utilize that space again. We’re looking to do five locations throughout the city. One location each month and have it open on a weekend for a couple hours in the afternoon.”
During the events, there will be no cars, no parking – just a place to have fun. You’ll be able to bike, skate, do Yoga, Zumba dancing. Essentially, the street will become a park. “BlueCross BlueShield has sponsored Play Streets around the country, selected only 10 locations in the United States to receive a grant,” said Gretchen Fierle, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for BlueCross BlueShield of WNY.
While there is a move to make the city more bike-friendly and a healthier place to live, the bike symbols recently placed in the middle of the driving lanes of Elmwood Avenue have left just a few people scratching their heads. That was especially the case with a few people that we caught up with on Wednesday.
Alyssa Valenti said, “I know there’s a lot of bikers down here. I’m wondering if the bikers can go with traffic. It is strange to see them on the road. I bet nobody is really going to know what they mean.” “Say if I open up my door and your coming and zipping by then you would hit my door then you would go right over my door onto your face. And half of the people that bike don’t wear helmets,” added Steve Procknal, another Elmwood Avenue commuter.
According to City of Buffalo Streets Commissioner Steve Stepniak, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the travel lane for vehicles has now become a bike lane. In fact, one of the reasons for placing the symbol in the middle of roadway is because there would be less traffic-ware.
“They’re not designed for them to ride in the middle of the roadway. They’re designed for the motorist to be aware of bike traffic in that area,” Stepniak explained. He added in order for the signs to be effective, both cyclists and drivers will need to observe NYS traffic law