BUFFALO, NY - Vehicular traffic returned back to portions of Main Street in Buffalo several years ago and now plans are underway to allow the same thing on another portion of Main Street.
We're talking right outside of HarborCenter.
There's so much going on at or near the waterfront, from the Children's Museum development, to concerts and activities at Canalside, now add opening up more of Main Street to vehicular traffic to the list.
The project would allow "Do Not Enter" signs near the MetroRail to come down. And, for vehicles to share the road with the MetroRail, between Scott and Exchange Streets, if you're not good with streets that's like saying between HarborCenter and One Seneca Tower.
"This project has been planned in such a way that there will be minimal interruptions to Canalside to the masses of people that come down here," said Mayor Byron Brown.
Back in the 80s, Main Street downtown was closed to vehicular traffic to build a pedestrian-transit mall, which actually drove away business. It wasn't until within the last decade the 700 block, 600 block and 500 block of Main Street were redeveloped, with traffic allowed to use the 600 and 500 blocks.
"We have seen an explosion of economic development activity along Main Street as a result of opening up Main Street to vehicular traffic," Brown said.
The focus is now on the 100 block of Main Street.
Crews are on site looking at utility lines, and construction is expected to start next month, bringing traffic back here in 2020.
"The rail service there will be some interruption but it will be overnight the actual track and rail infrastructure will be replaced as part of this project," said city engineer Mike Finn.
And for those who want more parking here, about 20 spaces will be added, just like on the 500 block.
The project's price tag — about $22 million in state and federal funds. When cars return here about $54 million will have been spent bringing cars back to Main Street.
Some of the MetroRail stations will be partially demolished, just made smaller. After the project is done, that will leave Main Street from Mohawk Street to Exchange Street -- about 9 blocks or so, closed to traffic. Mayor Brown says the city wants to open up that portion of Main to traffic, but that is a project way down the line.