The City of Buffalo's plan to grow its network of bicycle lanes includes recent additions in Elmwood Village. Cycling advocates say it not only promotes health but improves safety for all travelers along the routes. And they say there will be some who still rely on two wheels as a means of transport in the coming months.
Lanes were recently added on Bidwell Parkway between Elmwood Avenue and Soldier's Circle. When road repaving resumes, those lanes will be extended to Colonial Circle.
Under the City of Buffalo's "Complete Streets" initiative, more bike lanes will be introduced as more streets are repaved. The city plans an ambitious expansion of bicycle lanes through its Bicycle Master Plan.
"The plan lays out a total of 300 miles," said GoBike Buffalo executive director Justin Booth. "The mayor has made a commitment through that plan to get the city's bike infrastructure mileage up from the current 90 miles to 150 miles by 2018."
Booth welcomes the new bike lanes on Bidwell Parkway. He told WBFO that although the speed limit for autos is 30 miles per hour, the previously wider lanes were conducive to speeding.
"By simply changing the lines on the street, by narrowing the space where drivers ride, you are facilitating a behavior which is slower," Booth said. "It still efficiently moves traffic through but then creates those safe places for other modes."
Winter is coming, of course, and road projects within the city are wrapping up for the year. Booth says while there will be fewer people riding bikes during the winter months, there are still those who will rely on two wheels to travel, even in the cold.
"As we continue to create safe places and people feel safe doing so, we still see a large number of people riding bikes," he said.
GoBike Buffalo even hosts a class one per month for maintaining bicycles and riding in winter weather. The next such class was scheduled for December 18 at its Community Workshop at 98 Colvin Avenue, near Linden Avenue.