Parking regulations in the Elmwood Village are being relaxed to help alleviate an increasing parking crunch in one of Buffalo’s busiest commercial strips.
The city will allow more on-street parking on selected streets around Elmwood Avenue, following a request from the Elmwood Village Association and positive feedback from neighbors.
The changes, which will allow parking on both sides of the street during the spring, summer and fall, have been discussed for at least a year.
The signs still need to be produced and installed, but the changes have been filed with the Common Council and should take effect in a few weeks.
A proposed mixed-use development from the Benchmark Group on an existing parking lot on Elmwood Avenue between Auburn and Cleveland avenues has concerned some business owners about what will happen when the 45 spaces there are eliminated.
Adding on-street parking is a “no-brainer” considering the loss of the parking lot, said Alice Eoannou, co-owner of Globe Market, which is adjacent to the lot.
“They should have done it simultaneously when they approved the project for Benchmark,” Eoannou said. “The fact that it was delayed and dragged is a shame.”
The city wanted to be fully aware of any issues before it moved forward, including impacts on city services, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Peter J. Savage III.
Affected blocks include:
• Ashland and Norwood avenues, between West Ferry Street and Lafayette Avenue. Alternate side parking is still in effect, but between April 1 and Nov. 15 is restricted to 9 a.m. to noon, instead of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• West Ferry Street between Richmond and Delaware avenues and Lafayette Avenue between Colonial Circle and Delaware. Alternate side parking from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will only be enforced from Nov. 15 to April 1, not all year, as it has been.
Construction on the mixed-use development at 766 Elmwood Ave. has not begun, and a Benchmark representative was not available to comment on Friday. Benchmark obtained a variance from the Zoning Board in July, though Planning Board approval is still required.
Benchmark also owns the former Blockbuster store across the street from the proposed development site. That location is the future home of Panera Bread, which is under construction and will likely add to the activity on the street, though there is a parking lot for Panera customers.
Council Member Michael J. LoCurto surveyed residents on the affected streets, and the response was overwhelmingly positive to changing the parking rules.
“With the potential loss of that parking lot, this should relieve parking congestion in that area,” LoCurto said.
The most support was on Lafayette, where 91 percent of respondents supported the change, and the lowest was on West Ferry, where 80 percent supported it. The average of all 252 surveys that were returned showed 86 percent of respondents were in favor of the change.
The parking changes will help students at morning classes offered by East Meets West Yoga, at 758 Elmwood Ave.
“Parking has been a real challenge for our customers,” said Carrie Jacobson, studio manager. “It can’t hurt.”