After three decades of rail-only access on Main Street in Buffalo, the first stretch of multi-use roadway is officially open Friday. The stretch between Tupper and Chippewa Streets was made accessible to cars, bikes and pedestrians, months after its expected opening.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was joined by a number of other officials Friday afternoon to officially reopen the stretch of Main Street in the heart of Buffalo's Theater District.
"Now Main Street will become the most complete street in all of upstate New York and one of the most complete streets in the entire state of New York," said Mayor Brown.
NFTA Executive Director Kimberly Minkel said one of the delays was caused by the installation of infrared cameras.
“That infrared detection system needs to communicate with the train control system, so that the rail operators know that if there’s a car coming out of the portal, they don’t crash into it. And, more importantly, in case a car inadvertently went into the tunnel system, it would communicate with our train control system letting the rail operator know," said Minkel.
Safety on the 600 block was one of the greatest concerns as construction was completed.
“The many engineers and planners who were involved in this project were very sensitive to our schedule, so it will not impact Metro’s train system. We’ll run on time all the time," noted Mikel.
Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak urges that when people walk or ride on the street, they treat it with the caution of going on to railroad tracks.
“This is multi-transportation. We’re going to have bikes, pedestrians, vehicles, and trains. And follow the signage, take your time. The fifteen mile-an-hour speed limit is designed to make people alert of what their surroundings are. Follow those guidelines that are posted. Common sense out here is going to be the factor," stated Stepniak.
“Welcome to the New Buffalo” is the greeting real estate developer Nick Sinatra gave at the official opening Friday afternoon. Sinatra’s company bought the block’s Market Arcade Film and Arts Center last year in anticipation of the multi-use roadway. Sinatra sees the area as more than just another improved thoroughfare.
“This 600 block is a phenomenal gateway to our great city, practically and symbolically for the new Buffalo. There’s progress all around the city, and this is just another major example of it," said Sinatra.
Sinatra praised the completion of construction as a fantastic representation of the public and private partnership happening in the development of Buffalo. Now, the Market Arcade will be one the many arts venues that will benefit from curb-side access.