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Plan for Seneca Street in South Buffalo unveiled

Two community meetings will be held in June to get input from people about proposed bike paths, crosswalks, and roundabouts on Seneca Street in South Buffalo.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Some big changes could soon be coming for a stretch of Seneca Street in Buffalo.

A streetscaping plan will be presented next month to make that stretch of Seneca Street more walkable. It includes traffic circles like the ones in Hamburg.

"Everything is really happening at a fast rate," says Marc Pasquale, founder of The Coalition for a Vibrant Seneca Street.

From downtown Buffalo, through Larkinville, to South Buffalo, Seneca Street is seeing a lot of changes.

"I think people are chomping at the bit to get involved in everything that's going on," says developer Peter Scarcello.

Next month, The Coalition for a Vibrant Seneca Street, a group of stakeholders and community activists, will unveil its streetscaping proposal. It's a starting point for making a one-and-a-half mile stretch of Seneca Street friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.

"So many times, we see the vehicles just sort of take over like the neighborhood and everything. We're looking at more things here like outdoor patios, places where people can sit and rest, etc., bicycle lanes,” says Pasquale.

The proposed redesign uses Hamburg as a case study. It includes more bike lanes and crosswalks, four roundabouts, and a street diet - going from four lanes to two in some areas.

The Seneca Street neighborhood is experiencing a hot housing market, and developers are renovating Shea's Seneca, a barber shop, and Hook and Ladder Development is turning St. John's near Cazenovia Park into a mixed-use space.

Hook and Ladder joined the Coalition about a year-and-a-half ago.

"Things have now become tangible, so there's a difference. It's not just this big great idea in the sky, people have really dug in, and they've gone out and done what they said they were going to do," says Scarcello.

The next step is to make the street more walkable so the momentum continues.

"There's this coming back to the city, and when you see a nice neighborhood like Seneca Street in South Buffalo, it makes sense for people again when they see all the things that are here, the parks, the water, and everything else, it's like, hey I want to be there," says Pasquale.

The community meetings are June 4 and June 11. The June 4 meeting is at St. John’s at 6:30 p.m. The June 11 meeting is also at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at St. Theresa’s Parish Center.

Organizers want to hear from everyone and none of these ideas are set in stone.

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