From its grass-roots beginnings, plans for the new Main Street Clarence have included a place for the bicycle. 2018 should finally see the tangible result of those efforts. At Town Supervisor Pat Casilio’s State of the Town address in January, we’ve been told that sidewalks and bike lanes will be coming to a large swath of Main Street in 2018.
After years of improvements by private sector stakeholders and service organizations, this would represent the first substantial effort by the public sector toward a bike-friendly Main Street.
It’s not certain yet. Although last year’s formal adoption of the Vision: Main Street plan by the Town of Clarence included provisions for bike lanes on Main Street from one end of Town to the other, Main Street in Clarence is also Route 5, a State highway controlled by the Department of Transportation. As much as the Town is focused on Main Street being a destination people come to, the DOT is more interested in how quickly cars can move through.
The section of Main Street from Transit Road to Sheridan Drive is up for resurfacing, and this represents both an opportunity and a challenge. Striping the new surface to include bike lanes will be at minimal cost, but if the DOT doesn’t sign off in time, it’s unlikely engineers would allow new pavement to be milled up and new markings put down for several years. Town leaders we’ve talked to all believe final approvals will come through, and tell us the likelihood of DOT approval “is 90%.”
This makes 2018 a key year to show community support for a bike-friendly Main Street. Discover Main Street has been hard at work finalizing our most ambitious slate of community rides yet.
Since 2017 saw a collaboration with Slow Roll Buffalo that included their largest ride outside of the City of Buffalo, you can imagine we have some very exciting plans in the works. We expect to announce more shortly.
In recent years, our community has consistently supported bike-friendly activities on Main Street. In 2015, the Discover Main Street Fun Ride demonstrated this vision and helped residents see just how wonderful their Main Street already was by bicycle.
The following year, the Clarence Rotary provided a grant for a Bike Corral along the West Shore bike path at the Farmers’ Market. The Clarence Hollow Association added a self-serve bicycle repair station to the installation, which has become a key terminal on both the bike path and Main Street.