Downtown needs to be more pedestrian-friendly
I assume the understated goal of returning cars to downtown Buffalo’s Main Street is bringing back pedestrians to its sidewalks. It is disconcerting that despite a dramatic rise in residential units, pedestrian traffic outside of the waterfront is largely absent regardless of the weather.
To repopulate our sidewalks, city officials need to focus on downtown residents’ and office workers’ perception of their personal safety. Intersections need to be safe to cross and crosswalks need to be clearly identified and obeyed.
Adding green space within the central business district is also a pressing need. I believe a park-like redesign of Court Street between Niagara and Lafayette Squares deserves a look. While north/south traffic at the intersection of Franklin Street could continue, connecting these two highly visible landmarks with mini parks would certainly draw residents and workers outside.
The sustainability of the upward trend in residential units is the linchpin to downtown’s continued growth. It is guaranteed to stall or reverse if quality-of-life concerns are left unaddressed.
Michael J. Smith