While much focus has been placed on mid-sized, bicycle friendly cities such as Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Pittsburgh, Buffalo has also emerged as a national leader in bicycle-friendly programs and infrastructure.
The Buffalo Bicycle Facility Master Plan is a collaborative project with the City of Buffalo and GObike Buffalo working together to make the city more bicycle friendly. Over the past ten years, Buffalo has emerged as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community, due to the strong support of Mayor Byron Brown, a Complete Streets policy, an extremely effective advocacy group (GoBIKE Buffalo), and a network of 80 miles of greenways, bike lanes, and bike routes with shared lane markings. The 2016 Bike Plan provides the City with a blueprint for a well-connected network comprised of dozens of on- and off-street improvements including:
- An expanded greenway and rail-trail system
- Cycle tracks on four of the city’s most critical corridors to promote bicycling for all ages and abilities
- Numerous “road diet” projects with bike lanes on former four-lane roads build originally to handle traffic when Buffalo’s population was twice the number it is today
- Neighborhood bikeways on low volume, residential streets
- Where few options exist for striped bike lanes, shared lane markings and signage to enhance the comfort level for experienced bicyclists accustomed to riding with motor vehicle traffic
- A maintenance plan intended to encourage cycling year round (a huge task, given Buffalo famously snowy winters!)
The Buffalo Bike Plan incorporated evaluation criteria to score the various projects and determine the eleven designated “catalyst projects”. The catalyst projects include a range of facility types and promote system equity, as they are spread evenly throughout the city, including the impoverished neighborhoods on the East Side.
Helping inform the recommendations was a robust public engagement process where the team hosted public meetings and workshops in all corners of Buffalo to provide many opportunities for the community to participate and influence the outcome of the project. Supplementing the direct outreach is a project web site, on-line surveys and crowdsourcing tools so the public can give Alta direct, geographic-based comments in real time.