Paul D. Maurer loves what he sees happening downtown.
Maurer, a radio ad sales worker who launched Re-Tree WNY after the October Surprise storm in 2006, also is leading his fourth annual Buffalo Living Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Handlebar at the Hub, a bike shop and gastro pub at Swan and Elm streets, will serve as headquarters for the free, public tour designed to show off condos, suites and lofts that have repopulated renovated buildings. Maps of seven sites will be available at Handlebar – which will offer a three-hour Happy Hour after the tour – and online at buffalolivingtour.net. Trolleys will be available, but organizers encourage two other modes of transportation.
“For the first three years, we encouraged people to walk the route, which we thought would be a good way to see the progress of downtown, the architecture, so we aligned ourselves with the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo,” Maurer said. “This year, the fact we’re in the Handlebar at the Hub, we figured, let’s add a bike element.”
GoBike Buffalo helped map out a route using mostly bike lanes
Q. You’ve calculated the biking benefit of the tour?
If 1,000 people biked the route, there’d be 6,300 fewer pounds of carbon in the air. I figured, too, the average person, who weighs about 175 pounds, would burn 238 calories on the 7½-mile tour.
Q. Talk about the health benefits for those who’ve decided to move into the downtown core.
There are a lot of benefits to walking rather than driving your car everywhere. There’s the cardiovascular fitness, better joint mobility. You’re not dealing with the stress of driving in traffic. If you’re parking your car, you’re really doing a big favor for everybody else keeping the atmosphere more clear. The average car gives out 8,320 pounds of carbon per year. That’s 4 tons of greenhouse gas floating in the atmosphere, a staggering amount.
Q. What’s the must see stop on this year’s tour that most symbolizes a healthy lifestyle?
The Apartments at the Hub is the most indicative. It has the Handlebar bike shop in it. It’s got a fitness gym. It’s been transformed. Rather than tear it down, and kill trees for it, it’s a reuse building. It’s got a rooftop garden. It’s not that far a walk to the Metro Rail. If you want to be green and sustainable in not only philosophy but in health and fitness, it’s probably the place to be.
Q. What sort of healthy living choices do you expect to see in the coming decade as a result of this shift to more residential housing downtown?
I’d think they’d extend the Metro Rail. They need to go farther to the North Campus at UB. I can also see it going to the airport, as well. You’ll also see a lot more streets being planned not only with bike routes but treescapes, which of course I appreciate. I think more and more people would rather see that than ribbons of sidewalks and concrete.
I’d like to see downtown like it used to be. I think you’ll see a lot of reuse of materials, rehab of buildings. More geothermal, solar, and more national light with bigger warehouse windows, so you’re not using electricity as much. You have skylights, transoms, too. The idea behind Canalside is walking paths, getting out into nature, using the waterways, those paddleboards. It’s all about living better, living healthier, enjoying the stress-free recreational endeavors that are a part of living downtown.