BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) A new collaborative planning process will be initiated to create a vision for the Scajaquada Corridor in Buffalo, according to the New York State Department of Transportation.
Tuesday’s announcement “resets” the discussion and moves the initiative forward. DOT officials say there’s been extensive planning and public engagement, but community agreement isn’t to the point where projects can proceed.
“Well, it shows you that 10,000 people can get NY State’s attention,” said Joel Giambra, who launched a Change.org petition in early September, calling for the DOT to raise the speed limit back to 50 miles per hour along the Scajaquada.
The latest initiative will be led by the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) and will help define the future of the area and the optimal transportation system for it. The group is credited with drafting a Metro Transportation Plan 2050 for this area.
Over the next year, the group will steer a collaborative process to address the future needs of the Scajaquada, according to GBNRTC Executive Director, Hal Morse. “We’re starting a new planning process. It’s separate from traffic and design issues, and given the rich assets in the corridor and the impact on the Buffalo and Niagara region, we want to focus on a longer term vision for the corridor and identify multi-modal transportation access and mobility solutions to achieve that vision.”
But the question of whether to keep the speed limit at 30 miles per hour or raise it 50 is not theirs to answer, according to Morse. “It’s a different discussion. We’re looking at ;land use, we’re looking at how the community would develop so the current speed limit is not part of our study.”
Since the petition came out, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has reaffirmed his support for raising the speed limit back to 50 miles per hour on both ends of the Scajaquada, but not on the portion which goes directly through Delaware Park.
“We are gonna be sending off a letter today or tomorrow to the DOT asking for a very specific timeline,” said Giambra. “When will the process start, when will it finish, when can we expect construction to begin.”
Giambra is familiar with the GBNRTC. “They’re funded by the county. It’s a professional group of people, architects, engineers, very well respected group of people. The point is that this is going to take a lot longer than people think.”
Officials say the GBNRTC will provide technical and policy resources for this initiative, and coordinate among all interested parties, including community leaders, stakeholders, officials, and the public.
A new study will examine how to capitalize and improve on built-in community assets.
The process will also develop strategic partnerships in the community to assist in completing the planning process and provide support for recommendations.