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Buffalo developing new plan for bikes

The last time City Hall put together a master plan for cycling in Buffalo was in 1998. A kickoff meeting to develop a new plan is set for tonight at 6 at 640 Ellicott Street.

Bicyclists have become familiar parts of the city traffic pattern, no matter what season or what time of day or night.

Justin Booth isn't surprised. The executive director of GObike Buffalo rides year-round between his home and his Downtown office.

The new master plan will look at everything from bike lanes to neighborhood greenways. To prepare the plan, the bike planning firm Alta Planning + Design has been hired.

Booth says there are a lot of people who will never ride a bike but a majority will if they feel safe.

"That 60-percent of the population are interested but concerned. So if you made it safer to cycle on a regular basis for those one to three mile, maybe five mile, trips, and really connect to other modes of transportation, it's going to go a long way getting people out there riding more often, making it safer for everybody and encouraging a healthy lifestyle," Booth said.

Booth says there are a number of things which can be done without adding costs. The new striping on Delaware Avenue is an example. He says it allows bike lanes and still keeps traffic moving because there is a center turn lane.

The study will also look at putting the bike lane between parked cars and curbs as is done in an increasing range of cities rather than between parked cars and traffic.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.