Motorists using Michigan and Masten avenues are now able to travel both north and south along nearly one-mile stretches of what had been one-way streets.
Buffalo streets crews have completed a $3.25 million effort to open the parallel streets to both northbound and southbound traffic between Main and North streets, a project designed to improve access to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the city's Fruit Belt neighborhood.
The changes make the entire length of Michigan Avenue a two-way street, from the Buffalo River to its Main Street terminus.
City Engineer Daniel Kreuz said the switch to two-way traffic on these streets is part of an overall plan to make downtown Buffalo and surrounding neighborhoods easier to get around.
"It's been a fantastic change because you can get where you're going without having to drive several blocks out of your way," Kreuz said. "There's always some initial concern and it takes a little getting used to, but all the changes we've made so far have worked out beautifully."
The traffic reconfiguration also provided an opportunity to retire several antiquated stop lights.
In all, 22 new traffic lights were installed as part of the project, accounting for nearly $2 million of the price tag. Both Masten and Michigan also were repaved and restriped.
Since 1995, eight downtown and near-downtown streets have gone two-way, including West Chippewa and large sections of Franklin, Ellicott, Huron and Washington streets.
Next spring, the final section of Washington Street, between Goodell and North streets, will be opened to two-way driving.
The city also is poised to study creating a two-way corridor in the 700 block of Main Street.
The Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council is expected to do a traffic-modeling study to forecast how the change would affect vehicle flow at the complicated intersection where Main, Goodell, Edward and Pearl streets converge.
The city also is expected to explore bringing two-way traffic to Pearl Street and the northern end of Ellicott Street.