Neighbors ask Buffalo leaders to tear down Main St. medians

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WiVB)- Neighbors are calling on the city to remove medians up and down Main St. They told News 4 the medians are a safety hazard and an eyesore.

“I’ve watched the progression of what happens to these medians and it’s just sad,” said Patty Ralabate, the groundskeeper for the Central Park Homeowners Association.

We drove down Main St. from Humboldt Pkwy to Bailey Ave. and saw that at least five of the 21 medians are damaged. Some were missing signs warning drivers of the median.

Ralabate is one of a few volunteers who has spent the last 10 years maintaining the medians. She showed us one spot where a car ran down a couple of trees.

“I’ve picked up more car parts on a Saturday morning from the medians than I want to think about,” said Ralabate.

She said the medians create shorter turning lanes and are a hazard in the winter when the snow piles up. Ralabate said it’s hard for plows to clear the snow on Main St.

Another issue, she said, is the fact that there is no irrigation system in the medians so it’s hard to keep the flowers, shrubbery and trees alive.

This year the city stepped in to help with maintenance.

“They just can’t maintain them,” said Ralabate. “They’re going to be broken and broken and broken and you know, and I know, it’s just going to be an eye sore.”

Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak told News 4 the city is evaluating the best way to maintain the medians and its looking at how they were designed.

He said they were installed about 10 years ago and paid for mostly by federal dollars.

Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt said it’s not easy to maintain the medians.

“Many times Public Works says someone runs into those medians and [the city has] to pay for it out of expense because they never get the individuals who did it because they can’t go to their insurance agent to get a repair,” said Wyatt.

Wyatt told us he’s received a number of calls from people who are concerned about the medians but he’s also heard from those who want to keep them.

“I have gotten a couple of people who say they like the median, they think it adds aesthetically to the University Heights District,” he said. “I guess I can understand that but I do know that there’s a lot of legwork that goes into play to maintain them.”

Wyatt and Council Member Joel Feroleto will meet with neighbors and the Public Works Department to talk about solutions. The meeting is Wednesday at the Gloria J. Parks Community Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Commissioner Stepniak said they’re willing to support the public with whatever it chooses but right now the city doesn’t have money to remove the medians, it would have to look for funding.

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