Buffalo - Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown and Congressman Brian Higgins, joined by members of the City of Buffalo Common Council, New York State’s U.S. Senators and state & federal agencies, Representatives of the Western New York State Legislative Delegation, cultural organizations and members of other neighborhood groups, businesses and residents, announced the start of paving as part of the $2.8 million redevelopment of the Niagara Street Gateway, between Virginia Street and Niagara Square. (Avenida San Juan) This investment is part of a much larger $28.7 million commitment to a multi-phased infrastructure improvement project along a 4.5 mile stretch of Niagara Street, called ‘The Niagara Street Streetscape Project: Niagara Square to Ontario’.
Mayor Byron W. Brown stated, “Keeping our streets in good condition is one of the most fundamental jobs of city government and our significant infrastructure investment and improvements along Niagara Street continues to be a major priority of my administration. I thank our many partners for working with us to secure funding for this multi-phased infrastructure improvement project that, when complete, will make our city an even better place to live, work and invest.”
“Niagara Street serves as the gateway to the city center and to the nation for our Canadian visitors,” said Judge Betty Calvo-Torres. “Combined, these infrastructure projects, supported by more than $10 million in federal funding, will transform Niagara Street into a corridor that better welcomes visitors, enhances local neighborhoods and invites private sector investment.”
The Phase-I roadway improvements to downtown Niagara Street, from Virginia to Niagara Square, began last year with improved curbs, sidewalks with ADA ramps, upgraded crosswalks etc. Once resurfaced, the first phase of this multi-phased $28.7 million infrastructure improvement project along Niagara Street will be done; Phase II work is now underway.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer stated, “Niagara Street is a key element to the City of Buffalo’s downtown revitalization, and I am proud to work with my partners in federal and local government to make the vision of this project a reality. The residents and businesses in the neighborhood will benefit greatly from an improved Niagara Street, and the entire City of Buffalo will benefit from this critical investment in the city’s infrastructure.”
“This funding through the Department of Transportation will help the City of Buffalo to improve the Niagara Street Corridor through redesign, green infrastructure, and increased pedestrian safety,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Combined with previously awarded federal funds, Buffalo will be able to continue the development momentum generated by these investments.”
“Sound roadways undoubtedly lead to stronger communities, and as Buffalo continues to experience a rebirth and revitalization, now more than ever we need to ensure that we’re investing in our infrastructure,” said Charles Torres- former President of the Puerto Rican and Hispanic day Parade said. “Every child walking to school deserves to get there safely; every employee cycling to work deserves a clear route to achieve the American Dream. By improving the city’s foundational infrastructure, Mayor Brown’s project will prioritize the safety, mobility and convenient access of all roadway users, and further help connect Western New Yorkers with all that the Queen City has to offer.”
Majority Leader and Niagara District Council Member David Rivera stated, “Niagara Street is returning to its prominence as one of Buffalo’s major thoroughfares. I thank Mayor Brown and Commissioner Stepniak for their commitment to a complete investment in Niagara Street. We want to make the street a gateway for residents to our waterfront, not a barrier. And that gateway is created by new bike lanes, bump-outs, and lane reductions that improve pedestrian safety and show Niagara Street is not just for cars, but for all modes of transportation. additionally , "This significant investment to the historic Niagara Street corridor will play a pivotal role in the continued growth and prosperity of our city and region. Through this comprehensive, phased-in improvement project, residents and businesses will have a safer, more accessible and more vibrant gateway to the City of Buffalo. I applaud Mayor Brown, my colleagues in government, and our many community partners who have made this a reality."
Assembly Member Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “This is a transformational infrastructure project that will make traffic safer and more efficient for pedestrians and vehicles alike. I congratulate Mayor Brown and his administration along with all the partners and participating firms; I am proud that New York State was able to play such a vital role in funding this initiative. I look forward to these types of projects happening throughout the city in the years to come,” stated Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.
Edwin Martinez of Panorama Hispano News said, "Niagara street is truly a gateway into the City of Buffalo, and the infrastructure improvements moving forward today will greatly enhance this important section of Buffalo's West Side. I thank Mayor Brown for working diligently to advance this project, and Congressman Higgins for securing critical federal funding for this project. With city, state, and federal funding, the Niagara Street Gateway project will provide for a beautiful and efficient entry into the City of Buffalo, and enhance the quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods."
“The transformation of Niagara Street is well underway and will soon become a vibrant gateway for our residents and visitors to our revitalized waterfront and downtown Buffalo,” said Common Council President and Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen. “The completion of this first phase of a $24.4 million streetscape project along Niagara Street is reinvigorating one of Buffalo’s major thoroughfares, spurring new investment and opportunity. I thank Mayor Brown and our other local government partners for their commitment and follow through on the Niagara Street Gateway project and look forward to the continued redevelopment of the entire 4.5 mile stretch of Niagara Street in the years to come.”
Majority Leader and Niagara District Council Member David Rivera stated, “Niagara Street is returning to its prominence as one of Buffalo’s major thoroughfares. I thank Mayor Brown and Commissioner Stepniak for their commitment to a complete investment in Niagara Street. We want to make the street a gateway for residents to our waterfront, not a barrier. And that gateway is created by new bike lanes, bump-outs, and lane reductions that improve pedestrian safety and show Niagara Street is not just for cars, but for all modes of transportation.”
Fillmore District Council Member David Franczyk said, “The resurfacing of Niagara Street creates a more-efficient corridor to help stimulate more commercial development as well as better serve long time Westside residents and stakeholders.”
North District Council Member Joseph Golombek stated, “It is a good project that residents of the North District fought hard for. The project will bring development to Black Rock and Riverside”
The $28.7 million Niagara Street Streetscape project is a multi-phased rehabilitation of Niagara Street as described below:
- Phase I: City of Buffalo, Niagara Street Gateway - $2.8 million project to develop a gateway entrance from Virginia Street to Niagara Square. (Completion by mid-summer of 2016).
- Phase II: City of Buffalo, Niagara Street (Virginia Street to Porter Avenue) – $3.7 million for mill and overlay, a new striping pattern; new LED street lighting, sidewalks, green infrastructure, traffic signals and new ADA ramps…complete streets design and implementation. (Construction in progress).
- Phase III/Phase IV/: City of Buffalo, Niagara Street (Porter Avenue to Ontario Street) - $17.7 million project funded via multiple funding sources for mill and overlay, a new striping pattern, new LED street lighting, sidewalks, green infrastructure, traffic signals and new ADA ramps. This project also includes improvements to “Robert Rich Way”, located on West Ferry Street between Niagara and Broderick Park that will further enhance waterfront access and incorporate elements of The Freedom Walk to historic Broderick Park. The design work has begun, with construction expected to begin in 2017.
- Niagara Street Corridor Program – $4.472 million project, led by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), to improve signal timing, solar power bus shelters, and a Park & Ride lot with current bus schedule data panels
“The New York Power Authority is proud to support such a wonderful project in the City of Buffalo,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “All of the projects funded by the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway committee are having a substantial impact on the economy in the region and transforming the way that the community can utilize the waterfront.”
"The EPA applauds the City of Buffalo for incorporating green infrastructure into its Niagara Street upgrades, and is proud of the $500,000 it has contributed to help make this happen," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Green infrastructure projects along Niagara Street, including porous asphalt and rain gardens, will prevent stormwater from carrying contamination into Lake Erie, improving water quality."
“Progress on this first phase is a welcome step for the Niagara Street Streetscape Project,” said Empire State Development Regional President Sam Hoyt. “Our Western New York Regional Economic Development Council named the Niagara Street Streetscape Project a priority project because it addressing smart growth goals and will have a profound effect on job creation, economic investment, sustainability and community revitalization. With funding from Governor Cuomo, good things are coming to this rapidly developing corridor.”
NITTEC Executive Director Athena Hutchins stated, “The work along Niagara Street is a great collaborative effort using technology to improve mobility and reliability for commuters, businesses and transit riders," said NITTEC Executive Director Athena Hutchins. "This will be the first corridor in the region to incorporate bus priority technology and will be used as a model for future corridors."
Oluwole A. McFoy, P.E., General Manager Buffalo Sewer Authority, stated, “This is a great project for the City of Buffalo and we’re excited to partner in our shared efforts to further improve green infrastructure along this premier gateway. Our $6 million investment will ensure that rainwater is absorbed on the spot – reducing stormwater and improving water quality.”
The investment in improvements along Niagara Street coincides with significant private sector investment, including the completion of the $18.5 million renovation project that converted the Rich Renaissance Niagara Atrium into the Rich’s new Innovation Center.
For more information about the City of Buffalo, please visit, www.city-buffalo.com or watch Government Channel 22. Follow Mayor Brown on Facebook and Twitter.