A new pathway in one of the city’s most visible corridors will enhance bicycle access between two popular destinations, Delaware and LaSalle parks.
The project is part of the city’s push to increase accessibility for bicycle users all over the city and to encourage different modes of transportation.
The asphalt multi-use pathway, which will be separated from the roadway by green space, is just part of a $2.4 million remaking of Elmwood Avenue between the Scajaquada Expressway and Forest Avenue.
The project also includes a newly paved street, granite curbs, wheelchair-accessible sidewalks, new streetlights and new traffic signals suspended by a post and mast, instead of by wire.
The multi-use pathway will run on the west side of Elmwood Avenue between Forest Avenue and the Scajaquada Expressway, and also on the north side of Forest between Elmwood and Richmond avenues. It is expected to be done before Thanksgiving.
Richmond already has shared lane markings for cyclists, also known as “sharrows,” which use an outline of a cyclist to alert drivers that bicycles share the roadway. They are typically used on streets that are too narrow for a separate bike lane.
Cyclists will have a safer route from Delaware Park down Elmwood to Forest, over to Richmond and south to Porter, which has a bike lane and leads to LaSalle Park on the city’s far west side.
The multi-use path also will provide a better connector to the Jesse Kregal Pathway, which runs along Scajaquada Creek.
The path on Forest is nearly done, and the path on Elmwood should be done before Thanksgiving, said Gino Zagarrio, owner of Nova Site Co., the project’s general contractor.
New curbs will be installed on the west side before winter, but the east side curbs, new paving and signals won’t be done until next summer, Zagarrio said.
The four-lane roadway on Elmwood between Forest and the Scajaquada has two lanes running in both directions, and it will remain that way once construction is complete.
Eighty percent of the project is being paid for with federal funds, 15 percent is coming from the state, and the city is paying for 5 percent.
Cycling enthusiasts have welcomed the city’s effort to encourage motorists to share the road, though they note that accidents are still occurring.
Justin Booth, executive director of Go Bike Buffalo, which encouraged the city to adopt a “complete streets” model when roads are paved, said walkers and cyclists have been struck by motorists this year at an alarming rate.
The sharrows are expected to educate drivers and cyclists.
“The big message is sharing the road, making sure that everyone has space,” Booth said.
The city plans to construct “complete streets,” which better accommodate cyclists, whenever it does construction on a major thoroughfare, said Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak.
Separate bicycle lanes, one in each direction, have gone far toward calming the one-way vehicular traffic on Linwood Avenue, Stepniak said.
The new bike lanes are on both sides of the road, as vehicles travel northward in the center, and new streetlights and signs have been installed for cyclists.
Sharrows also have been added to Elmwood south of Forest in areas that were resurfaced, from Delavan Avenue to Highland Avenue and from Bryant Street to Summer Street.
The city has completed 10 miles of bicycle lanes this year, Stepniak said.
On the East Side, a new $2.3 million streetscape project on Fillmore Avenue between North Parade Avenue and East Ferry Street, scheduled to begin next year, also will feature sharrows and green infrastructure in the sewer system.