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Buffalo, N.Y., Sees $10M in Push for Clean Transportation

The $10 million award to a Buffalo nonprofit is part of the $85 million New York Clean Transportation Prizes challenge. The funding will be used to expand access to e-bikes and an EV car-share program, among other things.

(TNS) — Electric bikes. Electric vehicles. Better use of public transit.

Those are some of the ideas in a new initiative led by the nonprofit LISC New York, and funded by a $10 million award, to promote "clean mobility" options for East Buffalo residents.

"This is really a historic investment in terms of expanding green mobility options in a neighborhood that has been under-resourced," said Tyra Johnson Hux, Western New York operations director for LISC NY. "That's the highlight for all of us."

A plan submitted by LISC NY and its partners was selected as one of 10 grand prize winners in the $85 million New York Clean Transportation Prizes challenges. The program is administered by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, in conjunction with the state Department of Public Service and state Department of Environmental Conservation.

LISC NY's partners in the three-year initiative include Heart of the City Neighborhoods, GOBike Buffalo, the Coalition for Economic Justice, Shared Mobility and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The plan promotes health, safety and mobility on multiple fronts.

"The East Side of Buffalo has been neglected in many ways," Hux said. "This is focusing specifically on the East Side to bring options that perhaps other neighborhoods have. But some of them are very forward thinking and give the residents of the East Side the ability to leap forward."

The initiative's ideas include expanded access to electric bikes, an electric vehicle car share program, using "transit ambassadors" to teach residents to use the bus system efficiently, revitalizing East Side trails, and identifying intersections that need safety improvements.

Hux said statistics show one in three East Side households lacks access to a vehicle, leaving many residents with no choice but to walk or take a bike to get around. "Making sure those routes are safe and accessible are a focus of this," she said.

At the same time, she said, East Side residents are subjected to emissions from traffic flowing past on the Kensington and Scajaquada expressways. "Much of the pollution that comes from cars may not even originate from those who live there."

While $10 million is a significant investment, the goal is to use the funds to leverage other investments already in the pipeline for the neighborhoods, Hux said.

Community input will be a vital component of the initiative, she said. "It's not just about adding infrastructure, adding mobility options, but it's about hearing and amplifying people's voices."

Organizers plan to hold a community outreach event, possibly in March, to kick off the initiative, Hux said.

©2023 The Buffalo News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.