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Advocates still pushing proposal to redesign Allen Street in historic neighborhood

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Buffalo: Advocates still pushing proposal to redesign Allen Street in historic neighborhood
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A proposal to redesign Allen Street in the city's historic Allentown District continues to gain traction. YNN's Kevin Jolly talked with two proponents of the plan who say the proposal could transform the old neighborhood for the better.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — If Matt Moscati and Ed Castine of the Allentown Association have their way, they'd like to see Allen Street look something like you'd see in some European countries.

It's a shared-use concept where cars, bikes, and pedestrians share a common street.

"What we're trying to do is transform Allen Street into a place instead of just a roadway that is much more collaborative and shared between bicycle, automobile, pedestrian, our commercial restaurants and bars," said Moscati.

The proposal was born few years ago when the Allentown Association began talks with the city about infrastructure repairs to Allen Street. Those talks evolved into making the street more pedestrian-friendly and finding a way to give the historic district an identity separate from other entertainment districts.

"It's an identifier, it's not just something that you pass through it's a destination," said Moscati.

At More Hair Salon, owner Sherry Robinson says she likes the idea of a renovated and redesigned Allen Street, but she still has questions.

"I think the number one thing is to address the parking. The meter maids, they come around a lot and that does drive businesses away, drives the patrons away, it discourages many of the merchants from coming back over here," said Robinson.

"We had some proposals where parking was increased marginally; however, to do that there were certain things from a safety standpoint that increased the risk of vehicular accidents and things along these lines," said Moscati.

Moscati says that plan was rejected and under the latest proposal, the number of parking spaces would remain the same at about 122 spaces.

While the plan is a long way from a done deal, Moscati say it's gained a lot of support from city and state officials. If the project gets the green light it could begin as early as 2014. The early cost estimate is about $10 million.

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