Buffalo, NY – Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that construction has begun on the fourth phase of downtown Buffalo’s Cars Sharing Main Street Project. Work is now underway to restore vehicular traffic along lower Main Street, between Exchange and Scott Streets, greatly increasing access to Canalside, and other destinations along Buffalo’s Inner Harbor.
“This next phase of work to bring vehicular traffic to the lower end of Main Street – from Exchange to Scott streets – will be a major boost for Canalside, including the soon-to- open Explore & More Children’s Museum, and the just-announced residential and historical projects on the Aud block, as well as the Key Bank Center, Harborcenter,”Mayor Brown said.
The $22.5 million lower Main Street Project is beginning with major utility relocation work in the intersection of Main and Scott Streets, and will be followed by the replacement of the infrastructure between Scott and Exchange Streets in order to accommodate the return of vehicle traffic. Due to the complexity of lower Main Street, with multiple stakeholders, the project is expected to extend through the 2019 and 2020 construction seasons.
“We’ve already seen the many benefits of improved access the Cars Sharing Main Street project has brought to the 500 through 700 blocks of Main Street, and we expect it to have an even greater positive impact on Lower Main,” Mayor Brown said.
Buffalo’s downtown Main Street plays a vital role in Buffalo’s new era of opportunity. Returning vehicular traffic to this 10-block stretch of Main Street has been a priority of Mayor Brown’s, since his earliest days in office. Under his leadership, the city has been opening Main Street to vehicular traffic block by block over the past several years.
The lower Main Street project continues the successful public works projects implemented on Main Street, totaling $31 million in improvements completed to date, using a combination of funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the State of New York, and the City of Buffalo. Since 2012, significant private
sector investment of over $500 million has been made in the area between the 700 block of Main Street, to the edge of the waterfront at Canalside.
Senator Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins have helped to secure over $40 million in federal funding for the lower Main Street project. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, as well as the City of Buffalo, provided the remaining $4.5 million needed for the project.
“Opening Main Street to vehicular traffic has injected economic energy to the City of Buffalo by giving residents better access to shops, restaurants and more,” Schumer said. “Stage Two -- opening up lower Main Street to vehicular traffic and upgrading the Metro Rail infrastructure -- will further connect our city in a way that boosts vibrant street life. Working hand-in-glove with Mayor Bryan Brown, I have been proud to champion the ‘Cars on Main’ initiative to speed up revitalization in Buffalo, and now we are happily witnessing the transformation come to life,” Senator Schumer said.
“This represents the latest phase in a nearly $43 million federal investment on Main Street in Downtown Buffalo,” said Congressman Higgins. “With the return of cars on portions of Main Street already completed in some areas we’ve seen the return of economic activity in once desolate blocks, including new businesses and residential living opportunities along Buffalo’s Main Street spine rom the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to Canalside.”
“As the state has made unprecedented investments throughout Buffalo and Western New York, returning vehicular traffic to downtown Main Street has been an important complement to our work to revitalize the City,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With this latest extension along lower Main Street, we will be able to better connect residents and tourists to the growing number of attractions at Canalside and the Outer Harbor. The turnaround of Buffalo has truly been remarkable, and this project will help to keep up the momentum and transformation of Western New York.”
“We are thrilled with the collaborative success of this project and are proud to take an active role in an initiative that will have such a positive impact on our community,” said Kimberley Minkel, Executive Director, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.
“The Buffalo Place Board of Directors is delighted to see the Cars Sharing Main Street project continue its transformative work in Downtown Buffalo,” said Buffalo Place Chairman and Senior Vice President for M&T Bank, Keith Belanger. “This pedestrian street template has transformed the north end of Downtown Buffalo’s Main Street, as evidenced by the private investment it has spawned in entertainment, dining, and living options, while simultaneously making the impacted area a better place to work. We are pleased to see the project continue in the burgeoning lower Main Street section of Downtown and look forward to the time when we complete all of Main Street, as this is a project that is a difference maker.”
“Opening up lower Main Street will have a lasting impact on downtown Buffalo, creating much-needed connectivity in our city. This project will have an especially positive effect on fans visiting KeyBank Center and Harborcenter, increasing the accessibility and convenience of our venues. As the construction process begins, we will work diligently with Mayor Brown and our Canalside district neighbors to ensure that our visitors are able to navigate the area as efficiently as possible, and continue to have an enjoyable experience downtown,” said Michael Gilbert, Senior Vice President of Administration, Buffalo Sabres, and General Manager, Harborcenter.
The $2.8 million 700 block was completed in 2009 and included a two-way conversion of Main Street and bicycle lanes. Construction on the 600 block of Main Street began in late 2012, with a total project cost of
$8 million, and was completed in January 2014. 500 block construction began in the fall of 2013 for a total project cost of about $21 million. It was completed on December 2015.