Yet another study begins on the Scajaquada Expressway
We're now into the third decade of what to do about the Scajaquada Expressway and there is yet another study underway on how to spend the $100 million set aside by Albany for the Buffalo roadway.
A new team of consultants has targeted early next year to come up with recommendations. The team will be looking back at all of the earlier studies over the last two decades for guidance.
Different this time is that the consultants have changed what they are studying, from just the road to the road and the neighborhoods flanking it on both sides. They call it Region Central.
Consultant Ralph Denisco said the study area has been expanded to include the neighborhoods along the length of the road, to better understand what it does.
"The expressway's important as a regional connection and we know a lot about its importance as a regional connection. NYSDOT's studies and transportation plans have looked in detail about level of service and traffic movement and capacity," Denisco said. "What we don't have is all the same levels of information about just what the physical presence of the expressway and the corridor does."
Consultant Jeff Sauser said there's important information in those other studies.
"We don't want to start from scratch," Sauser said. "We know that there's been decades of previous plans studying all corners of Region Central. We've been sifting through dozens and dozens of plans, studies, reports, news articles, position papers to really try to get the full picture of where everyone is coming from, throughout Region Central."
The consultants said that new surge of data collection is turning up new things. For example, did you know that while the number of cars at one end of the Scajaquada matches the total at the other end, they aren't the same cars, as many get off and others get on along the route that wanders from the Kensington Expressway to the Niagara Section of the Thruway.
Consultant David Dixon said the data will updated and decide the recommendation.
"Feelings are not facts. Feelings may not be facts, but we hope all of you will join us in making facts feeling," Dixon said. "So when we make data clear about how you're moving and where you're going and where you're coming from and demonstrate how you will be able to do that in the future, whether it's one block across Region Central or from one end of the Buffalo region to another, please work with us to get the right answers."
There already has been a change in the study area. Buffalo State College and the city have paused their studies about the Dart Street City Impound Lot, a familiar field of aging and often wrecked cars sitting in a curve of the western end of the Scajaquada. The city was planning to move the impound, while the college was looking at buying the land for student activities, potentially sports fields. Now, all of that has been delayed while the road study is finished.
A timeline of the study targets community vision-building to continue through August, scenario building September-October, draft findings and recommendations November-December and final recomendations January-February 2022.