Sep. 4—NIAGARA FALLS — If you go to the intersection where Main Street becomes Lewiston Road and Chasm Avenue becomes Monteagle Street, look down at the new artwork in the road.
It's there thanks to GObike Buffalo who's working on a traffic calming intersection treatment, which will provide more space for pedestrians crossing the intersection.
Cindy Wood, a complete streets planner with GObike Buffalo, said this would make it so that cars would move through the intersection slowly and safer to use, along with connecting the community to the shoreline trails along Whirlpool Street.
"We took the opportunity to rethink the design of intersections," Wood said.
While the travel lanes for cars were 21 feet wide, gradually narrowing in the 150 feet before reaching the intersection, they will be narrowed down to 11 feet at the intersection, giving those crossing the street more space where there is no conflict with a car.
The intersection does not have crosswalks going across Main Street and Lewiston Road, with Wood saying that was one of the main reasons they chose this particular one.
"Our goal is to make sure crosswalks are provided at all four sides of the street to improve connectivity and to make people aware that people do cross the street here," Wood said.
GObike met with the City of Niagara Falls in October 2021 to identify potential projects locations, doing canvassing and working with neighbors in the process. This also has the support of Mayor Robert Restaino and the Niagara Falls City Council. The work GObike is doing is funded entirely with grants, at no cost to the city.
Cook said they did a traffic study at that intersection earlier this year, which showed that 50% of drivers were speeding through it, with the majority of them between 25 and 40 mph. The fastest car they recorded speeding through it was going 80 mph. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, between 2017 and 2021, seven pedestrians and cyclists were struck by vehicles in the area, each resulting in injury.
GObike did similar work with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in Downtown Buffalo, helping with a similar installation at the campus' Innovation Center. It's efforts also align with recommendations in Niagara Falls' Bicycle Master Plan of 2019, working to make more bike-friendly connections across the city.
The artwork, done by Niagara Falls artist Liz Kocsis, provides a geometric design of Niagara Falls, with plenty of zig-zags and shades of blue. Wood wanted to make sure that the artist they hired would be from the community, not just at random.
The process started this past Monday and hopes to be done by the end of the day Friday, with any potential delays having it finished over the weekend.