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March down Bailey Avenue calls for improvements to East Side infrastructure

Cyclists, skateboarders, roller skaters and walkers took to Bailey Avenue Thursday evening to demand the City of Buffalo improve its infrastructure in East Side neighborhoods, especially main thoroughfares like Bailey. 

The “Heels N Wheels on Bailey Avenue March” was organized by the Western New York Liberation Collective. They were joined by members of GOBike Buffalo and Colored Girls Bike Too.

Flanked by two other roller skaters, longtime Kensington-Bailey resident Katie said accidents on Bailey are a regular occurrence.

“I’ve lived here for 8 years,” she said. “It hasn’t been striped, there are almost no crosswalks, the sidewalks are crumbling so it’s not accessible for people with disabilities or people with children. And since I’ve lived here a lot of people have died; both pedestrians, bikers, a couple drivers, and these deaths are avoidable.”

Liberation Collective member Marie Taylor said in addition to making streets safer, the creation of a biking lane helps the many small businesses which line economic corridors like Bailey.

“Say there is like a cycle pathway for bikes to go down,” she said. “The chances are they are more likely to get off of their bikes and go into the businesses in this area than a car that is driving past. So that will actually be able to boost up the businesses in these areas.”

Thursday afternoon, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced a federally-funded infrastructure proposal, but GOBike Buffalo Executive Director Justin Booth said the city could jumpstart the process on its own.

“We all want to see the large infrastructure projects coming down the road and the millions of dollars spent,” he said. “But cities around the world, and around the country and even in New York State are doing these quick build projects; going out there, putting paint on the street, using that paint to reallocate the space on the street for people. So, people can safely walk, people can safely bike, they can access transit better.”

Regardless of the Mayor’s plans, the marchers say they will continue to call on the city to make their streets safer for everyone.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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