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Assemblyman Sam Hoyt today called closing Main Street downtown to vehicular traffic in 1985 a "noble failure" and announced a state grant to study the feasibility of reopening all or part of the Main Street pedestrian mall to vehicles.

Hoyt, D-Buffalo, joined with Mayor Masiello and Michael T. Schmand, director of Buffalo Place, to announce the $50,000 grant from the state's Multi-Modal Program Development funds.

"Closing Main Street to traffic was done with the best of intentions," Hoyt said. "However, in recent years, it has become clear that the street just doesn't work as it's presently configured. This study is the first step towards making Main Street more viable."

Masiello agreed.

"While we've had a significant renaissance of our Theater District," he said, "I believe it's important now to carry through with this study and make plans to get vehicles back onto Main Street. Perhaps not the whole corridor, but as much as possible."

Schmand said he appreciated Hoyt's efforts and the mayor's support.

"This important funding will make possible our finding the answers to the long-standing question of whether it is possible, and practical, to reopen portions of Main Street to vehicular traffic. It has a great bearing on the future of downtown Buffalo," he said.

Masiello said the study would be administered by the Planning Department of the City of Buffalo, and Hoyt said he believed the study could be completed in as little as six months.

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