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Main Street transformation progressing, block by block

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The next phase of the Cars Sharing Main Street project was officially kicked off in downtown Buffalo Tuesday.

Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins joined Mayor Byron Brown to officially start the reconstruction of the 500 block of Main Street. The city is using $21 million in federal and state funds to restore vehicular traffic between Chippewa and Mohawk Streets. Schumer says it couldn't come at a better time.

"Downtown Buffalo is starting to grow again. Businesses are coming back. New businesses are opening. Jobs for the first time in a long time are being created here and people want to live here," Schumer said. 

The project includes new track bed and station upgrades for Metro Rail, as well as new curbs, sidewalks, and room for on-street parking. Mohawk Street will also be reopened between Washington and Pearl Streets.

In the meantime, Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak says the 600 block between Tupper and Chippewa should be open to traffic by spring.

"If you look at the 700 block, which has the landscaping, you see the benches, you see much more friendly and inviting atmosphere for people to come down and spend their lunch time. And to be able to access, to be able to drop off people [in the] Theater District, it's going to be great thing for Buffalo and it's going to be a great thing for downtown," said Stepniak.

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News
Rep. Higgins and Sen. Schumer joined Mayor Byron Brown in downtown Buffalo Tuesday.

When it's complete, motorists will be sharing one lane of travel in each direction with Metro Rail. Stepniak says he expects a smooth transition.