Fillmore Avenue Gets Repaved, Reconfigured, and Bike Lanes

I have been wondering for years when Fillmore Avenue was going to get repaved as I often travel on the street on my way to the Central Terminal. It was a great day a few weeks ago, when turning onto the street, I was greeted with fresh asphalt being laid, but I was also worrisome. Fillmore Avenue is a perfect east side arterial to have bike lanes. It’s much too wide considering the amount of traffic not to accommodate cyclists.


Thankfully, about two weeks after the paving, bike lanes and markings were added to the street. Rather than two lanes of traffic in either direction, the street now has one lane in either direction, designated parking spots on either side, and bike lanes on both sides of the street.


The repaving stretches from Humboldt Park (MLK Park) all the way down to William Street for a grand total of about 1.3 miles. It’s a welcome addition to a part of town that is often shortchanged.


One-third of all households in Buffalo do not have access to a vehicle. If you spend any amount of time on the east side, you’ll notice that there is a significant cyclist population. Since a lot of that one-third is concentrated on the east side, it’s nice to see alternative transportation infrastructure being considered and implemented. Since these photos have been taken, the cyclist symbol has been added to the bike lanes.


For more photos of the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood, check out my Flickr page here.


BF-8151
BF-8148

About the author  ⁄ david steele

54 comments
pfk67
pfk67

Are there any pictures of what this area looked like in its heyday? I hear the east side wasn't always a hole in the ground. Just curious.

whatever
whatever

Huh? I don't get it.

What would Clarence have to do with a cop's bullet killing a motorist driving away who had been pulled over for a traffic offense, which in turn caused the car to lose control and kill a pedestrian bystander?

(I'm not saying either way if the alleged dragging of the cop happened or would justify the shooting. Not enough is yet known publicly about that. But how it is anything in the slightest to do with Clarence?)

On a related note -

Ivan's earlier comment was 100% wrong to refer to that incident as a "high pursuit police chases with heavy return gunfire shootouts". There were no return fire gunshots, never mind "heavy". And it wasn't a chase, never mind "high pursuit".

the_flats
the_flats

You are obviously an outsider to the subject of riding a bicycle on city streets, so I will leave you to your own devices.

whatever
whatever

Thanks, Tim.

I still have no idea what your namesake timatbuffalo was referring to about stealing and some of that other stuff.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

You must not ride on the Westside...where stop signs are optional for both bikes and cars....seriosly though,poor driving happens everywhere, both in the city and suburbs....the point was that Fillmore ave neighborhood is not very safe period....if people want to praise those sections of city so much, why don't they choose to live there...I guarantee it would be whole lot cheaper than where they're living now....Elmwood village, allentown, n. buff......eastside is a bargain compared to those areas...but no one has the guts to move there.

JM
JM

Sure, how else would you go if you wanted to bike from 1 Olmsted Park to another? This connects 4 basically, South Park, Caz, MLK, and Delaware Parks.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

Nope. People who cycle regularly have to deal with these kinds of incidents regularly (unfortunately). Last year, for the first time since moving to Buffalo, I biked quite a bit for a time. Until I got t-boned in Amherst by an SUV that pulled out of a side street square into me, throwing me into the middle of Bailey Avenue at a high-traffic time. I could have been run over, and as it was had to be transported to a hospital where I spent several unpleasant hours. It shook me up enough -- not to mention the damage to the bike -- that I haven't done much biking since.

Note that incident took place in the burbs. Even in a relatively heavily biked area (BTW the 2 UB campuses), the SUV driver never looked for a bike to be on the street. I never even came close to being t-boned anywhere in the city. Although in just that short period of time, I did have several incidents of being targeted by road-rage motorists. But like the experience of the_flats, none of those incidents were in lower-income parts of the city.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

Sounds like you're a fairly aggressive rider if you've had over 10 incidents with violence while riding your bike

the_flats
the_flats

I am a year round commuting cyclist who travels this stretch of Fillmore regularly. This is a positive thing and it is appreciated. To the chickadees making comments about safety in this neighborhood, I have had 10+ encounters with angry, aggressive, neanderthal commuters in the safest neighborhoods of North Buffalo. This includes getting hit on Middlesex by a slick upper class doof on his cellphone in his convertible, as well as many of the other incidents almost ending in violence. I have had 0 situations like this occur in the "worst" parts of the east side, which I travel regularly. Save your uninformed opinions please.

300miles
300miles

... but a potholed worn-out road will reduce crime and poverty?

They repaved a deteriorated road that's a major city artery. Why is that somehow a bad thing in your eyes? If you're just complaining that it "isn't enough", well we have to start somewhere and can't afford to do everything at once.

Tim
Tim

As usual, your logic/critique is spot on.

Tim
Tim

On a related note, I was at the party rental store on bailey a few months back. I was carting a large item to my car and a haggardly dude was hanging around me as I thought, 'god don't bug me.' He offered and gave me help loading it into my truck. Man did I feel like a twit. Harassed one too many times on Elmwood, I guess.

JSmith
JSmith

I know I would rather ride between the curb and a line of parked, mostly empty cars, than between the parked cars and 40 mph traffic.

This type of lanes is everywhere in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, and now being built in many cities in the US (e.g., NYC, Chicago, Portland, etc.).

Yes, there needs to be some buffer space between the passenger's door and the bike lane, but that's no different than when you're stuck between the driver's door and speeding traffic. I would much rather risk hitting the curb and falling than getting knocked into traffic.

grad94
grad94

if only drivers actually -did- check their rear view before swinging out their doors.

me and every cyclist i know who bikes for transportation (rather than occasional recreation) would not have gotten doored and would not narrowly avert dooring almost every day.

i learned the hard way that parked cars are often more of an immediate threat than moving ones.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

I guess so but anyone who doesn't acknowledge crime and poverty as the two biggest things holding back more private investment in these neighborhoods has a closed eye to the situation

sbrof
sbrof

the only way that works is if the bike lanes are actually up on the curb. Shoehorning bikers between cars and a curb is much MORE dangerous than between cars and traffic. Passengers don't often look for traffic like drivers are used to doing when they open their doors. If someone were to open their door in front of the biker there would be no place for them to go. Either hit the curb or hit the car. You completely stuck. I have been on bike lanes that and it was horrible.

M-Rodgers
M-Rodgers

Ummmmmm, other side of Fillmore than the area in this article.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

I guess it's safe riding a bike on Fillmore as long as you can avoid the high pursuit police chases with heavy return gunfire shootouts ...yep, two more dead tonight per the Buffalo News.....sounds pretty safe to me. I can't imagine why more businesses aren't opening up over there? Seems ripe for the picking..

whatever
whatever

tim - no, "lipstick on a pig" isn't apt. That expression describes something cosmetic and not needed. This repaving isn't cosmetic, and it was very much needed on Fillmore.

timatbuff>"Bridge rebuilding, Tree beds, curbs, lighting"

Yes, those could be good to, but it's a matter of public spending choices. I'd prefer for public $ to be spent on those kinds of things you listed instead of, for example, giving public $ to subsidize anything privately owned.

So I agree with that part of your comment.

Then you lose me again with this...

timatbuff>"yet created very few real jobs, just stole the money again"

Stole? Huh?

How is it stealing to pave a street that needed paving? And I don't see how creating "real jobs" is relevant. Not everything should be about using govt spending to supposedly create jobs. Much of what politicians claim is job creation really isn't anyway.

timatbuff>"poor work done!!!!!!!"

That's a lot of exclamation points, but what exactly are you accusing is low quality or "poor work" about this paving project?

Bekaval
Bekaval

That is great to hear! My car and I were getting tired of the potholes.

rpm40
rpm40

I'm glad they're going to be doing the same thing in my neighborhood, along Delaware ave in kenmore.I think it will make a big difference for pedestrians there, which will be great with the storefront renovations taking place.

rpm40
rpm40

I agree, I think it's much safer to get bikers closer to pedestrians and further from traffic- I'm not sure why most of the time they don't do wide sidewalks with marked lanes- but I'm not much of a biker, and most avid bikers always tell me this is wrong. I still don't get it, ah well.

rpm40
rpm40

They're just never going to extend light rail to the places you keep referencing. It's too expensive, and it's not going to happen.

rpm40
rpm40

I agree that more trees would boost the appeal, but I wonder what the residents want? Dealing with a few tenants on the east side, I ask for their opinion before making changes and they almost universally prefer not to have trees, as they feel that the open sight lines make the street safer.

Buffaboy
Buffaboy

I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. I voted you up becausethis is also really needed on both streets. Once again, out here in the burbs believe it or not it isn't all spaghetti junctions and freeways surrounding a giant Walmart parking tower like some people think. The sidewalks in the village of Hamburg for example are top notch. And, although this is unrealistic for the city, the roundabouts are pretty functional aesthetically and functionally. But I partly disagree with the poor work, it is a step in the right direction. Majority of it I agree with though, because economic and social recovery over there truly starts with infrastructure. I have my faith in the East Side, and that it something it needs right now.

laldm
laldm

This is great. It is the small things that make a city.

leggomyeggo
leggomyeggo

Too bad Byron and the gang seem to want to leave North Buffalo for dead.

timatbuffalo
timatbuffalo

As in the Elmwood Village it is Lipstick on A Pig!

There is no infrastructure redo, i.e. Bridge rebuilding, Tree beds, curbs, lighting that gives a warm fuzzy feeling. It was Election year and the powers that be wanted it to look like they have done something with your money, yet created very few real jobs, just stole the money again and left the neighborhood with no real new value! I'd like to see them all thrown out to get something of quality done and a true management of monies so we get something for our buck not just another rich developer and poor work done!!!!!!!

NorthBuf
NorthBuf

Used to ride my bike to the Top on Jefferson and Filmore to use the Citizens bank and get a little food while there. Never had an issue, not sure why you would.

norwalk
norwalk

Its amazing that the city just watches streets like Fillmore steadly decline..Each year it gets more depressed...They need to target these areas with agressive code enforcement...And to expidite them through the court system...Hopefully the city doesn't own all these properties....Until they get this cleaned up nobody will feel safe riding their bike down Fillmore..no matter how you pave and stripe it...BTW..What ever happened to the rental register fee going towards highering more inspectors???

Buffaboy
Buffaboy

No, nobody was shot as a persnal experience. Or raped, mugged, molested, etc. I'm just saying I have family there. And everytime I'm there, I see NO crime at all. It is a peaceful little East Side.

P.S.: I know crime exists there but I do not see it.

Yo Yeah
Yo Yeah

Or Sycamore, which sadly, is the most destitute commercial corridor on Earth :(

Buffaboy
Buffaboy

Let the condescending, stereotypical comments begin ^.

Now as far as this project goes, I wonder what the extent of the improvements are, and whether more are to come. Since this is one of the most Divided cities in the country (racially) there may not be many significant improvements like those of Elmwood and Southern Buffalo. But at the same time, this is all still Buffalo. City officials have long treated the East Side as a garbage dump, and therefore does very little improvement projects there. Look, I love Elmwood, and All those other streets getting upgraded. But in reality, which streets REALLY need the upgrade? Well, let's look, shall we?

###Buffaboy's List of Shoddy Streets###

-Fillmore (in progress)

-Delevan

-Ferry

-Humboldt

-Kensington/Gennesee

And SOOO manymore in between. I'm a weird guy, I know, and here's why.. I am a strong advocate for the rise of the East side and ultimatly the West Side because together we rise, and divided we fail. And with the last appx. 30 years, we have been failing. But we are coming back as we see everyday on this site.

But I live in the 'burbs and post from here (some of these backwoodsy-no traffic streets get repaved for no reason!). So why would I be writing about prosperity for the future of these detrimental communities? Because I have had personal experiences there, especially with my family members right in the mix. Interpret that how you want, but we need to see more action from the City to see projects like this, and where the REALLY need them.

And by the way, a crappy area the City should focus on is the stretch of Fillmore from Kensington to about William, I think (I don't really know directions but I know the city.)

Lego1981
Lego1981

Why not? Looks safe, zero traffic.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Agreed--it would make a huge difference. Re-Tree has a planting coming up in the spring.

Mike Puma
Mike Puma

I've biked on Fillmore many times and all throughout the "dangerous" neighborhoods of the east side. I've even locked my bike up on side streets that were questionable without a hassle or anything stolen. In fact, my bike was stolen outside of my office building on the west side, where people are constantly coming and going.

norwalk
norwalk

Would YOU ride your bike down Fillmore?

norwalk
norwalk

Would YOU ride your bike down Fillmore?

Jesse
Jesse

Planting is normally done in the spring.

u_u
u_u

Thats a good start, hopefully it gets "connected" with other bike lanes up to main, along walden/best etc

BFLOwatch
BFLOwatch

Wear your kelvar vest biking this area.

jag
jag

I immediately thought of that, too, but on second thought I figured that'd be pretty unworkable for plowing. Maybe I'm wrong and the original, common sense thought still should have been done.

grad94
grad94

keep it coming!

hoping for repaving & bike lanes out to larkinville (seneca & exchange). i've biked out there; very rough ride.

North Park
North Park

If only we could do this for Starin and Colvin in North Buffalo next. There is plenty of room, all those streets need are a few white stripes...

burnin8ter1958
burnin8ter1958

They should have put the parked cars between the traffic and bikers, makes the cyclists less at risk for being struck. This actually wouldn't even be hard to implement at this point.

HutchTecher
HutchTecher

Getting Niagara street done sometime this century would be awesome

paulsobo
paulsobo

Looks like no one lives there and no one drives on it.

That could change if the highway access ramps were moved further away from center city (downtown core).

or if Light Rail were extended to the Larkin District, Central Terminal and Broadway/Fillmore.

With the expanding Life Sciences Campus we should see improvement in Masten and the area surrounding Humboldt Park.

What good is repaving the road if there isnt a plan to put more traffic on this street....it was once a main artery connecting the city.

peripatetic
peripatetic

Great news. Noe if only Bailey Avenue could get similar treatment.

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