When members of Discover Main Street, Clarence Rotary and the Clarence Hollow Association arrive on Saturday, July 9th for the dedication for The Clarence Hollow Main Street Bike Corral and Repair Station, it will represent the culmination of a year-long project that shows what’s possible when everyone works together. Clarence Chamber of Commerce will officiate a ceremonial ribbon cutting to formally open the corral and repair station for public use.
Still, the dedication, at the east end of the Clarence Farmer’s Market at 12pm, is less about the completion of the project than just the first step in helping to build a bike-friendly Main Street in Clarence.
At a time when the City of Buffalo has become a model for bike projects, there is a recognition that support for cycling is one of the measures of a thriving community. Conversations about “complete streets” programs and multi-modal transportation (walkable streets, bike lanes and vehicles sharing the road together), shouldn’t be limited to the City and its residents. The bike corral project showcases how those elements can work in a suburban environment, and lays the groundwork for a future where standalone “rails for trails” paths can interconnect with dedicated bike lanes along the Main Street business district. One day, a network of suburban and urban connections can realize the vision of One Buffalo.
In short, cycling is a great recreational pastime, but it can also become a practical and healthy alternative to vehicle travel for shopping and business.
The corral sits at a logical interconnection, where the West Shore path crosses Main Street. The location, on the east side of the Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market, is already notable for being the only farmers’ market located along a bike trail. The corral is also a wonderful piece of street art, designed by Sculptor Mark Griffis, who has become well known for his work in the City’s Elmwood Village, Cobblestone and Niagara districts.
Pairing this corral with a state-of-the-art public bicycle repair station seems obvious, but it’s a first for Griffis and Western New York – and only one of four such repair stations in New York State. The station, which offers a heavy-duty pump and a variety of repair tools, also offers a series of helpful how-to videos for common repairs. Users can access the videos by scanning a QR code with their smart phone.
The Clarence community has been supportive of efforts toward creating a bike-friendly Main Street, including a strong turnout for the Discover Main Street Fun Ride last fall, which helped raise funding and showed community support for the project. Primary funding for the corral came from the Clarence Rotary, with sponsorship from member Paul Justinger. The repair station itself was donated by the Clarence Hollow Association, and the land where the corral was built was donated by the Gsell family.