July 18, 2019 – Buffalo Rising Online
By Newell Nussbaumer
Grant Street is getting a big boost thanks to an infrastructure revitalization project, which is being funded with $17,000 from the office of Majority Leader David Rivera and a $99,600 grant from the Oishei Foundation. New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan made the announcement, alongside the funding parties. GObike Buffalo Executive Director Justin Booth, Owner of G&L Flooring Paul Murphy, and Owner of Freddy J’s BBQ Fred Daniel were also in attendance, to share and discuss the investments that will be made on the street.
To start, the funding will allow for a technical analysis of Grant Street. Like any street in Buffalo that needs a boost, these types of studies can go a long way. Instead of throwing investment dollars around randomly, attempting to plug holes and apply bandages, infrastructure and traffic analyses can help to make much larger impacts on commercial corridors.
The Grant Street study, being led by GObike Buffalo and Preservation Buffalo Niagara, will include an analysis of commercial and community assets, while providing technical assistance for property owners. This is a big deal for Grant Street, which has been on the rise as of late, but still suffers from a number of missed opportunities, including jacked up properties, vacant street corners, litter issues, and lack of a unifying identity.
Ultimately, we’re looking at urbanist measures that could include traffic pattern changes. “Pop up infrastructure” such as removable bump-outs at intersections, temporary bike lanes, and creative reuse of parking spaces to support seating for restaurants will be implemented. The study will see how people react to (and hopefully embrace) these types of ephemeral measures… and yes, you read it correctly… “parking spaces to support seating for restaurants.” C’mon Buffalo! You can do it!
Moving forward, we’re already looking at some concrete street improvements coming our way thanks to a $252,500 grant from the Buffalo Billion 2 fund. The funding will go towards a storefront revitalization project, administered from the Better Buffalo Fund Main Street Initiative by Heart of the City. Altogether, six businesses will benefit, each of which will be restoring/improving their host buildings. The businesses benefitting from the funding are:
208 Grant Street – G&L Flooring – $50,000
119 Grant Street – Frontier Liquor – $50,000
185 Grant Street – Lorigo’s Meating Place – $50,000
251 Grant Street – Buffalo Cooperative – $34,166.68
195 Grant Street – Freddy J’s – $34,166.66
83-89 Grant Street – $34,166.66 (lead image)
Once again, this is great news because some of these building are dated, and could stand to see a little fixing up.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan stated that all of these measures and improvements are designed to create a more walkable Grant Street. 35% of neighborhood residents having no access to a vehicle, which is why it’s important that the street is as walkable and bikeable as possible.
“These are very exciting projects that will make Grant Street more accessible for the people living in our community,” said Ryan. “Success on Grant Street isn’t measured in luxury condos; it’s measured on the success of our new and old businesses as well as the success of a growing and vibrant refugee community. These funds will help to ensure our local businesses can continue to serve the community that has grown around them. I’m excited to see how these projects will help our neighborhood continue to grow.”
“Grant Street is the heart of the Niagara District and it is also the global marketplace of Buffalo. In just a few short blocks, you can travel from Burma, to Liberia, to Italy, to Nepal, and to Somalia. This project will be a community-led effort to enhance the streetscape of Grant, and provide much needed investment for our small business owners, some of whom have been here for over 30 years. I thank the Oishei Foundation for their support of this project. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Ryan, GoBike Buffalo, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, and the community to make Grant St that much better of a place for the neighborhood residents and visitors,” said Majority Leader David Rivera.
“GObike is pleased to experiment with potential street redesigns on Grant Street to create a streetscape that helps small businesses thrive, supports the health and mobility of community members, and supports the neighborhood’s values and culture,” said Justin Booth, executive director of GObike Buffalo. “We appreciate Assemblymember Sean Ryan’s leadership for the project and the support from Councilmember David Rivera and the Oishei Foundation which allows us to build a healthier, more connected Western New York.”