Shop, Rock “n” Stroll on Hertel

Tonight is Hertel Avenue’s first Shop, Rock “n” Stroll event of the season. 

Each year, Hertel’s businesses get together to promote eating and shopping on the street, and they do it in a very supportive grassroots manner. It all started off on the Theater Block, but last year we started to see additional businesses on bookend blocks joining the party. 
Festivities include food and wine tastings, live entertainment, long hours and store specials. It was Cat Newman (recently opened Essential Home Decor at 1478 Hertel -see here) who mentioned to me the event was taking place today. Cat is anticipating being a part of the growing event series now that she has opened on the street. “They started it on the Theater Block,” Cat told me. “And now other businesses are starting to catch on. It’s a great way to attract new people to the neighborhood, and say “Thank You” to the customers who already support the street. Today most of my block is open until 9pm. We’re very supportive of the effort – the theater block is just one block away. The way I look at it, the more businesses that contribute to the effort, the better. Being new to the street, I’m very excited to be a part of this event series moving forward!” 
With so many new businesses opening on Hertel, there is more to see and do than ever. If you have not been to Hertel in a while, this is the perfect opportunity to check out the thriving shopping scene. Plus, the weather looks like it’s going to be perfect for an evening stroll!
Future strolls:
Friday July 26th, 2013
Friday August 30th, 2013
Learn more about the Shop, Rock “n” Stroll event series on Facebook.
Shop-Rock-Sign-Buffalo-NY.jpg

About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

29 comments
whatever
whatever

Jnn - I don't know for sure, but to answer your question - maybe the change in stripes to add a turn lane made it feel wider to some people as a perception even if the # of feet between curbs remained the same?

Delaware Ave in Kenmore was recently changed in a similar way (a big improvement in traffic flow/safety, IMO).

Does that seem/feel wider now than before?

JnnTO
JnnTO

Hey there whatever, looks like you might be right... I thought it was widened back in 1998 for some reason... The block feels different, did they change the structure of the road? I seem to remember, some time ago - when Cheers was still on the block that it seemed narrower...

whatever
whatever

Jnn -

Disagreeing with your preference isn't necessarily bashing.

I'd think many people might be open to some aesthetic improvement ideas, although many would oppose ideas that would reduce room for traffic flow - like your suggestion for greenery in a middle lane.

You keep saying Hertel was widened 10+ years ago. How so?

The NYSDOT .gov link I included about the 2002 ribbon cutting doesn't mention widening when describing the work. That's here.

Also, someone else commented above that he doesn't think Hertel was widened back then.

And here's a N Bufalo Rocket article about it back then, also doesn't mention widening.

Is it possible you're mistaken?

What are you saying happened to widen the street? Sidewalk narrowing?

JnnTO
JnnTO

Yes Travelrrr! Thank you, thank you.

JnnTO
JnnTO

For all of those who bashed my comment, listen to this perspective... I'm not willing to downgrade my standards because it's Buffalo. Hertel, compared to so many other streets in the world, is not aesthetically pleasing - especially seeing as it's a "prime destination" in the city. The city and its residents should have higher standards. I find these comments to be a comparison against the rest of Buffalo - the real opportunity is to compare the city against the world. Hertel has made great progress over the years... Excellent work. Shopping is fantastic, restaurants are great - But the work has just begun. The street widening that happened 10+ years ago, was - from my perspective, a mistake. There are ways to make the street feel more beautiful, by adding greenery in a middle lane, or the many, many other things that will soften the appearance. I've taken out of town guests down Hertel, and they thought we were in a bad neighborhood. That's not okay. @Placemaker - your ideas are great. Things like that eventually make a big difference.

whatever
whatever

Hertel's big project finished in Oct 2002 according to this report of Pataki at a ribbon cutting.

https://www.dot.ny.gov/news/press-releases/2002/2002116?_piref685_15881113_685_15881108_15881108.portlet_edit=1

That doesn't mention any widening, but if Jnn or Placemaker, etc. perceives that it feels wider (or remains too wide) because of parking lanes & turn lanes...

they're free to advocate a narrowing.

However, probably that would be opposed by many stakeholders after the successful decade Hertel had since then of attracting businesses - not to mention some upcoming growth in traffic after 198 changes.

It's a nice variety that's gradually happened - many diverse ethnic markets & eateries, quite a few home furnishing stores (including a well known one who moved from more 'narrow' Elmwood - just sayin, lol), some other locals moving to or continuing to do well there (Dash's, Terrapin, Globe, etc.) and some popular nationals (Spot, Walgreen, Family Video, Dollar Gen) for people who like having those choices available.

Didn't a rebranded restaurant also relocate to Hertel from more 'narrow' Allen St, former Sample?

As others mentioned, people & businesses who prefer a more narrow street have much of Elmwood that way, and part of Amherst St, all of Allen, all of Grant, and others.

A diversity of options is good.

JSmith
JSmith

I agree. Elmwood seems to manage fine being a narrow street without turn lanes, and the side streets don't seem to suffer for it. Anyway, for a pedestrian-oriented shopping street, you *want* automobile traffic to be slow and congested, to make walking and sidewalk dining comfortable, and to encourage drivers to notice the businesses they are driving past.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

In addition to the aforementioned width issue, and the lack of greenery, that keep Hertel from feeling cozy, cheap signage and architecture muddling do the avenue no favors. It would be great if a bar could be set on the type of signage that can be used--to make the avenue feel more uniform and to set a bar for quality.

townline
townline

I think you're overstating the impacts to adjacent streets. You don't see bad traffic on Ashland, Norwood or even Richmond for that matter. Elmwood is slow and the traffic still stays on Elmwood for the most part.

That said, I'm not sure the benefit is there for narrowing hertel - the right of way is already too wide as it is and the sidewalks feel desolate most of the time. The street does need better bicycle accommodations, however.

LI2Northpark
LI2Northpark

It was a fun night as it usually is. As far as narrowing Hertel or taking away the turn lanes, I see what people are getting at but disagree. As someone who lives a half block from Spot and walks the neighborhood daily with my wife, child and dog I get a pretty good look at the traffic flow. If you slow down Hertel then Linden, Tacoma and Taunton would see an increase in traffic. There are already too many people speeding and blowing the stop signs on those roads and that would only get worse if Hertel was slowed down. I'd rather see lighting improvements together with more permanent and winter-resistant greenery. I would also really like to see the billboards done away with. They are truly awful and have no place in a residential,walkable neighborhood.

Either way, looking forward to the next Shop, Rock and Stroll!

jbny14
jbny14

Ha. *Buffalo Trolling*

LouisTully
LouisTully

Referring to north Buffalo as NoBu has to be one of the lamest things on this site in a long, long time.

Greenca
Greenca

How dare you commit the blasphemy of mentioning automobile accessibility.

jbny14
jbny14

Hardly denigrating. I'm just poking fun. I spend lots of time in the Village with friends, but I couldn't see moving over there. Not really my style.

In the 7 yrs I've called this area home, Hertel and most of NoBu has been transformed. There is an eclectic vibe about the strip and the roads do not detract from it at all. That vibe, and the businesses that come with it, has helped home values go through the roof, as mentioned above.

Sure, just like on Elmwood or Allen, the area could use some softening around the edges. Just don't go the Main st route with the center planters that seem to "trap you" on the road. I'm actually surprised there hasn't been more complaints about the lack of bike lanes with the width of Hertel being the focal point now.

Spock
Spock

Unless you are referring to a widening project long ago, Hertel was not widened during the reconstruction project about a decade ago. It was proposed to be widened, but the DOT dropped that part of the plan over neighborhood objection (dammed obstructionists lol). If my memory is correct, the turning lane was added in the late 90s as a traffic calming measure.

I disagree with your take on Hertel's poor aesthetics and function. The street seems to feature a good blend of pedestrian friendliness and automobile accessibility.

BufBeliever
BufBeliever

I'm not really sure why you feel the need to denigrate EV. I live there and I can assure you I do not own skinny jeans nor do I wear deep Vs or tortoise shell glasses. Why not just promote Hertel for what it is instead of trying to bash something else?

BufBeliever
BufBeliever

I'm not really sure why you feel the need to denigrate EV. I live there and I can assure you I do not own skinny jeans nor do I wear deep Vs or tortoise shell glasses. Why not just promote Hertel for what it is instead of trying to bash something else?

Captain Picard
Captain Picard

I have property in several neighborhoods, including precious Allentown and others. I'm simply calling him out on his ignorance. Hertel is booming, businesses are stable, housing prices are rising. Best of all, you don't have to deal with all of the horseshit that has been normalized in the name of "tolerance."

jbny14
jbny14

So, based on the wisdom above, Allen must be the best of the three since its about half the width of Elmwood? I really don't understand the constant complaining about street width. Hertel is awesome and people DO NOT speed down it.

If I wanted to be surrounded by skinny jeans, deep Vs and tortoise shell glasses then I would have bought a house in EV 7 yrs ago instead of NoBu. These neighborhoods all have their own features which, benefit the people living there and give them their own identity.

Stop trying to make Hertel into the Elmwood Village.

Placemaker
Placemaker

If anyone recalls, Elmwood was narrowed in the 90s. Many people - residents and business owners thought that it would be the end of the shopping district (the district was struggling in the 90s). As anyone can see, Elmwood not only did not shrivel up and die- it flourished. The addition of wide sidewalks encouraged more pedestrians to stroll along the commercial district and allowed many restaurants to include outdoor patios which enlivened the street.

Hertel could use some softening of the hardscape with hardy, salt tolerant plants (winter-time salt), people scale lighting, and artistic (yet durable) streetscape furniture. Encouraging business owners to include planters in front of their businesses could also go a long way in softening the edges.

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

As a shopping destination Hertal rocks. Visually it is a "hot" barren looking street due to lack of trees and green space.

10 points for store and restaurant infill

0 for quaintness

LouisTully
LouisTully

You sure are critical when it's someone else' neighborhood; and defensive when it's your own.

Tim
Tim

I'm pro downgrade but was kind of shocked and put off by the fact that people suggested truncating the 198 to restore the park completely. The argument that was made was that most people don't pass *through* 198, they get off at park side,'main, delaware, Elmwood, or grant. Since that is how I use it (always get off and on at delaware, never passing through), truncation, say, at park side and Elmwood, made a lot more sense as that wouldn't really affect my commute much at all. A tangent to this conversation, but it was a good point.

ivan putski jr
ivan putski jr

You have not been to The Vapor Lounge I see....the future is smokeless cigerettes

whatever
whatever

Just a coincidence that Hertel has experienced such an apparent upswing in businesses in the years since its car traffic was made more efficient by the turn lanes?

And more car traffic growth on Hertel is on the way eventually when even a moderate reduction happens in traffic volume on the downgraded 198.

I'd also wonder how many of the people who favor a full removal of the 198's so called "shortcut through the park" (or if not that, a more major slowing downgrade than what the DOT plans) would also favor narrowing Hertel to remove the turn lane?

And which streets they'd prefer to have east-west car traffic use if not Hertel or 198?

benfranklin
benfranklin

Had a nice dinner with the family, walked Hertel, places were busy. Band playing under a tent. Not sure I get the criticism of the street.

Captain Picard
Captain Picard

You are a moron. My house located a few blocks south of Hertel is worth 50% more than I paid for it eighteen months ago. Hertel is the future.

phil
phil

Conley Interiors is the only classy store on Hertel. They are a world class operation; everything else on the street is mediocre at best.

JnnTO
JnnTO

Widening Hertel was such an awful mistake. People rave about Hertel, but I just find it to be a really ugly street. I don't know why the neighborhood doesn't rally together to add a center lane with trees, or even better - evergreen type bushes that would look beautiful in all seasons. Without a cozy feel on the main street, it will never succeed like people hope.

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