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Pearl Street Traffic Conversion Progressing

 Pearl Street Traffic Conversion Progressing

With design work underway, officials expect the conversion of Pearl Street into two-way traffic to begin next spring.

Pearl Street, one of the major north-south thoroughfares in the central business district, is one of the last one-way streets in downtown Buffalo. Many leaders have been pushing for its two-way conversion, dating back to the late 1980s.

Plans call for Pearl Street's two-way conversion to take place between Tupper and Exchange streets and will include the installation of a new stop light almost directly behind Shea's Performing Arts Center.

Bids on the work are expected to be issued this fall.

Pearl Street is one of several road and infrastructure projects either underway or in the planning pipeline for downtown Buffalo. Among them six streetscape improvement projects that have been identified by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.

The projects are:

• Main Street between Goodell and Allen streets.

• Ellicott Street between Goodell and Best streets.

• Delaware Avenue between Niagara Square and Chippewa Street.

• Chippewa Street between Main and Genesee streets.

• Pearl Street between Tupper and Exchange streets.

• Perry Street between Main and Michigan streets.

All of the projects including new street lighting, landscaping and other improvements.

"This is a good starting point for us," said David Stebbins, vice president, Buffalo Urban Development Corp.

Collectively, the projects total approximately $10 million, but the city has just $2 million in hand. Stebbins said a priority list will be cultivated and he should be ready to make a formal recommendation on the work load by BUDC's July 31 meeting.

"We will have to make some choices," he said.

Separate from those projects and already funded is a $1 million makeover of Genesee Street between Oak and Washington streets. New York state has allocated funds to an urban village motif for one of downtown's main entry and exit points.

Watts Engineering has been retained to oversee the project, which should go to bid this fall.

The work corresponds with several major projects that have taken hold along that block including the Genesee Gateway series of buildings.