Independent Health and Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Independent Health and Buffalo Niagara Partnership to Host Breakfast Forum on Making Buffalo a More Bike-Friendly City

December 5 program to feature Jeff Olson, former NYS DOT bike/pedestrian program manager, overseeing Buffalo’s Bicycle Facility Master Plan

BUFFALO, N.Y., December 5, 2014 - Local business, civic and community leaders will learn more about efforts to create healthy, community-friendly transportation options for Buffalo at an Independent Health-sponsored “Conversations for a Healthier Tomorrow” breakfast forum. The event features Jeff Olson, the former New York State Department of Transportation bike/pedestrian program manager, who is overseeing Buffalo’s Bicycle Facility Master Plan.

Olson’s presentation, titled “Paths to a Stronger Community: Access to a Thriving Workforce,” will be held at the Greatbatch Pavilion in the Darwin Martin House, 125 Jewett Parkway, at 8 a.m. on Friday, December 5. The event is co-sponsored by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Olson is an architect, planner, and author who has been involved in greenways, open space, active living, and alternative mobility projects for more than 25 years. His diverse career includes national, international, and local experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. This experience was recognized in 2014 by the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals with a Lifetime Achievement Award. His unique vision and leadership ability are important assets to projects ranging from regional planning to site-specific projects and programs. Olson teaches America’s first university course in bicycle and pedestrian planning, and is co-director of the University at Albany Initiative for Healthy Infrastructure, which creates model plans connecting public works with public health.

“Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Independent Health are focused on building a stronger, thriving community,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health. “By working together to encourage healthy, active lifestyles, we can simultaneously create a culture of health and drive Western New York’s economic vitality.

“As we look across the nation, towns and cities are beginning to take a stake in improving the health of their communities. Building a workplace with resources to foster health and well-being, including alternative ways to commute, helps draw 21st century talent by keeping them happy, healthy and connected to their community.

“Making our streets and surrounding locales more walkable, and more bike- and public-transit friendly creates the forward-thinking marketplaces where business will thrive. Buffalo’s economic development is trending upward with many significant plans already in place for downtown, neighborhoods, the waterfront and beyond. Through collaboration and engagement, we can build on the revitalization already underway in Western New York,” said Dr. Cropp.

More information about the City of Buffalo’s Bicycle Facility Master Plan being advanced by Mayor Bryon Brown, GObike Buffalo, Alta Planning + Design, and sub-consultants Wendel and Mustard Seed Consultant Group can be found at: buffalobikeplan.org.

The forum is presented in conjunction with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Development Advisory Council and its sponsors: Power Management, LaChase Construction, Seneca Commission for Economic Development, Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, Inc., Harris Beach PLLC, Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel, LLP, and National Grid.

About Independent Health
Independent Health, a not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Buffalo, New York, serves nearly 375,000 members and provides innovative health care products and benefits designed to engage consumers in their health and well-being. Established in 1980, our comprehensive portfolio of progressive products include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, individual and small group Exchange products, consumer-directed plans and health savings accounts, plus coverage for self-funded employers. Our subsidiaries and affiliate companies include pharmacy benefit management, specialty pharmacy and the Independent Health Foundation. The company has been recognized nationally for its award winning customer service, dedication to quality health care and unmatched relationships with physicians and providers. To learn more, go to www.independenthealth.com.