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Niagara Street being beautified into city gateway

Ashley Hirtzel

A major gateway construction project will begin in downtown Buffalo this week. The $16.3 million multi-phase roadway rehabilitation will extend along Niagara Street.

Mayor Byron Brown says the streetscape project will create a more welcoming entrance to the city for Canadian visitors and residential visitors.

“We want to calm the traffic. There were areas of Niagara Street where it was difficult for pedestrians to cross safely. If fact, there were pedestrians that were hit, at least one fatality. On Niagara Street, with help from the community, we have designed this to reduce the potential of that happening going forward. So we’ll certainly have a much more parkway-like look and feel,” Brown said Tuesday.

The various phases along Niagara Street will include resurfacing the roadway, repairing sidewalks and traffic signals, and upgrading to new LED street lights. It will also lead to new bus shelters and bike lanes.

Phase one will cost $2.8 million and will develop the gateway entrance from Virginia Street to South Elmwood. Phase two is set to begin in early spring of 2015 and will take place from Virginia Street to Porter Avenue. Phase three will involve improvements at the Niagara and Ferry Street intersection, and phase four will go from Porter Avenue to Ontario Street.

Rep. Brian Higgins says the updates are a great addition to all of the development happening in downtown Buffalo.

“We are confident that this investment will produce the kind of economic development activity, the multiplier effect if you will, that will really fundamentally change this area of downtown Buffalo with new private sector investment, which will enhance greatly the quality of life and economics of the City of Buffalo,” said Higgins.

The roadway project is being funded by the federal government, the city of Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and through New York Department of Transportation CHIPS funds.

Phase one is expected to be complete by mid-summer 2015. Niagara Street will remain open throughout the reconstruction project with some lane modifications.