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500 block of Main Street opens to vehicular traffic

Chris Caya WBFO News

For the first time in about 30 years, vehicles are driving in the 500 block of Main Street in Buffalo. Mayor Byron Brown says it took many partners working together to get to this day.

Main Street was closed to traffic when the Metro Rail was built and the street was converted into a pedestrian mall. Brown says the closing of the street in the mid-1980s essentially killed retail downtown.

"We're very pleased to say today, with the project to reopen Main Street to vehicular traffic, retail residents businesses are coming back to downtown Buffalo in a major way," Brown said.  

Since 2006 there has been more than $500 million in private-sector development along Main Street between Tupper Street and the waterfront, according to the mayor. Near Roosevelt Plaza, several buildings are being renovated and new shops have opened.

"You're spending on new walkways. The buildings have been sold, most of them, and the landlords who are not responsible have moved out or been run out," said Common Council President Darius Pridgen.

The "Cars Sharing Main Street" project between Huron and Mohawk Streets has cost taxpayers $21 million. Mayor Brown says the next phase of the project will focus on lower Main Street near the waterfront.