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Craziness: $200 Million Parking Plan Floated

It has only taken nearly three decades, but Buffalo’s 6.2 mile light rail system may finally be growing.  Unfortunately it would only be a couple of blocks, would put a ramp on Main Street to bring light rail trains to the upper level of the DL&W Terminal (when a South Park Avenue or Perry Street surface route would seem to be a cheaper alternative), and connect to a massive parking ramp east of Michigan Avenue at the edge of the Cobblestone District and Old First Ward.  All for upwards of $200 million.  The extension and ramp are aimed at satisfying parking demand at the Medical Campus and elsewhere.  
The officials are beginning to think about bricks, mortar – and new rails. Serious study is under way about extending Metro Rail to a new parking facility just beyond the system’s southern terminus at the NFTA’s Yard and Shops complex in the former DL&W Terminal as a way to shuttle workers northward to the growing Medical Campus. 

The idea begins with elevating Metro Rail tracks at the current special events station near First Niagara Center and raising them into a new station on the upper floor of the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Terminal’s vast train shed.

Metro Rail would then exit the DL&W and extend over Michigan Avenue about 2,000 feet to the new parking garage and ground floor bus loop that would serve as a commuter hub. 

No pots of money have yet been identified for a project that might cost between $100 million and $200 million, and the conversations are only preliminary, but just about everyone involved is looking to Buffalo’s subway system for answers to “growth problems” – something that has been absent from downtown for decades.
rail to ramp plan.jpg
Funding sources have not been identified but officials believe the private sector could build and operate the parking ramp and public funds would pay for the light rail extension.   
“Today’s meeting of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Board drew thoughtful discussion about the future transportation needs in downtown Buffalo. I commend Chairman Howard Zemsky and Executive Director Kim Minkel’s announcement that the NFTA will prepare a scope of work for a feasibility study regarding the future of the DL& W site and Metro Events Station,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.
Light rail expansion is long overdue but is this seriously the number one priority?  
Mass transit systems are typically expanded to fight against congestion and reduce the number of vehicles on the road and vehicle miles traveled.  Here expansion is planned to serve those that drive.  

Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • Rand503

    IF it means that no more parking will be built anywhere else in downtown, then perhaps it would be worth it. But I ain’t holding my breath.
    Parking lots and ramps are crack to Buffalo’s civic leaders.

  • paulsobo

    I oppose the elevated line to a parking garage. I’d much rather stick to the original plan to extend along South Park. This plan will not benefit South Park. Instead it will be insulated to its final destination.
    The positive opportunity here is to rewater the Ohio Basin and Canal for a new canal themed convention and conference center. The plan would already provide the light rail and provide the parking garage. Build the convention center and conference center and hotel then just dig and rewater.
    Imagine the benefits of connecting the canal district with the hydraulics district with downtown
    As usual Buffalo urban planning lacks vision and is half arsed

  • JSmith

    No, it never works that way, ever. When they built the 2,000 space ramp on Goodrich I thought that would be the end of it. And now they’re already talking about needing more parking.
    The last paragraph of the article basically sums it up for me. The purpose of a light rail line is NOT to be a parking shuttle!
    How about, instead of spending $200 million on a parking ramp and an extension to the train to serve the ramp, they spend $200 million on building a neighborhood of middle-class apartments, townhouses, etc., near the medical campus. Encourage your employees to live within walking distance and you won’t need to spend money figuring out where to store their cars on campus!

  • Old First Ward

    The Senecas are currently constructing a large ramp behind the casino on Marvin St. a half block from the location of the proposed ramp. They are reaching the third level of a precast walled ramp. So now what a new ramp city.
    Of course this would mean overhead rail bridges on Michigan and Moore St. and an unsightly ramp further impeding Perry St. along with the intrusion by HARBORcenter. Also trestles between the bridges. Again.

  • Tim

    The 200 million estimate did not even include the parking ramp. So, 50-100 MILLION PER BLOCK for a rail extension TO A PARKING GARAGE that is not included in the price. Am I being negative here? Or is that nuts? Are union wages responsible for these figures? Not being rhetorical. What gives?

  • DeanerPPX

    Certainly $200M could be better spent on other rail extension projects. But let me play devil’s advocate here:
    If this plan were to go through, it represents the first time in decades that anybody in power has viewed rail as an ASSET rather than an evil obstruction. If even barely successful, it could be used as a light post for further rail extensions and more intelligent parking solutions in the future.
    If developed properly, this would turn our already successful 6.2 mile system that carries 23,000+ daily riders into a 6.4 mile system that carries 27,000+ riders. Bragging rights like that also shed new light on the system for future development. It give MetroRail a little more weight and a little more swagger, something it is sorely lacking right now in the eyes of the powers-that-be.
    If the additional station is excluded from the free-fare zone, this brings additional revenue to the NFTA. A simple system could be set up that makes the new DL&W station part of the free-fare zone, while riding to the Michigan/Chicago station requires fare payment. What’s to stop people from parking in the new ramp and walking two blocks to avoid the Fare? Simple. Give control of the parking ramp to the NFTA and include a round-trip ticket as part of the parking fee. Instead of charging $10 to park in the ramp, charge $15 and you get a free day pass for the NFTA… Now that entire revenue goes to the NFTA instead of some deadbeat who bulldozed a historic building to earn some bucks off of a surface lot. And it gives drivers who park there an actual incentive to use the train and maybe even a bus or two.
    Extreme care should be taken that this extension is constructed with the potential to further extend the line. It should not be constructed as a terminus which would forever dead-end the south side of the rail line. If people begin to use the southern portion of the rail line, it could self-promote later extension to Larkin or South Buffalo. If this is built as a permanent end-of-the-line, we will forever have two bookends on a rail system that will never grow again.
    Notice the adjacency to the casino? We’ve all been complaining that the casino is a suburban nightmare, but this could prove to be a win-win situation. The Seneca’s plan does include a large empty lot on the south side of their property which could -even though they’ve never mentioned it- fit the high-rise hotel/resort that is sorely missing from their scaled-down plans. Add a rail station next door and they might get enough extra traffic to consider such an addition in the near future. Not a fan of the casino? Good for the city too because this provides a direct connection for casino visitors to ride into downtown and the rest of rail-served neighborhoods. Imagine a couple tour buses per day filled with blue-hairs that decide to stop for lunch or shopping in the middle of their gaming visit to Buffalo.
    What’s the adjacency on the other side? The Buffalo River and the grain elevators. Wasn’t there just an announcement this week that the ECHDC is committing to lighting up those structures? Haven’t we seen significant advances on park resources along the river, along with plans to improve Ohio St? A small extension like this provides better access to these projects, and these projects provide additional ridership so that the new rail station will be used by tourists and park-goers AS WELL AS people just needing a lace to park their car.
    On the downside, this extension would kinda kill any plans for extending the rail over the river and into the outer harbor area. That’s not a big deal when you consider that THAT will never happen until we have a reasonably developed outer harbor area to connect it to. Sure, we could wait 40 years and hope the outer harbor gets a stadium and convention center and beach resorts and enough density to warrant a rail extension. Or, we could view this as giving the rail an immediate better direction. By pointing the rail towards Larkin, the Buffalo River and South Buffalo, we take the waiting game out of hoping for some ethereal project that might or might not happen. We GAIN a sure thing by pointing the train toward parts of the city that are already full of residential, commercial and recreational areas that are growing as we speak.
    While many of us are loathe to build a rail extension that serves auto drivers, this has a real potential to turn that idea around and develop a car-oriented project that serves mass transit. By taking just a few hundred cars off the Niagara Section and downtown streets, we are making a genuine and practical effort to turn those drivers into riders. Several decades down the road, this could be integral to the dream of removing or downgrading the Skyway and Niagara Section. Personally, I believe that in 50 years, the city’s population will be up and fewer people will be driving. But in the few decades until then, we still need to accommodate Mary Hairnet and her world view that the world begins and ends at her front and rear bumper. If cars and trains can share Main Street, then cars and trains can work together to dampen our parking problems and other issues.
    Yeah. I’d prefer to see $200M go toward breaking ground on an Airport or Niagara Falls extension. But I don’t see anybody except us dreamers eager for that to happen. Here we have a reasonable interest from the NFTA, the BNMC and perhaps even the city to actually CONSIDER doing something.
    That’s a HELL of a lot more traction in one week than any other rail extension plan has gotten in the past 40 years…

  • DeanerPPX

    Not sure if $200M is a deal or not. It buys two new rail stations and a couple thousand parking spaces.
    For only $40M, we can demolish the Theater station and add 60 curbside parking spaces on Main Street.

  • DeanerPPX

    Also, moving the sporadically used Special Events station to a more permanent home in the DL&W gives greater access to the DL&W building for the myriad of projects that have been proposed for it. And it gives easier access to the cobblestone district to fuel the sparks of development that are happening there.
    A couple could even park in the new ramp, walk a block to grab dinner in the Cobblestone, and take the train to Fountain plaza where they’d only have to walk another block to catch a show at Shea’s 😉

  • Shoey

    I’m very pro extending the line, but this seems like nonsense to me.
    What kind of lunatic is:
    a)driving downtown
    b)spending money to park in a ramp
    c)waiting up to 10 minutes for a train to depart and another 5-7 to get to BNMC
    d)waiting to get on a train back to their car after work
    e)driving home
    it makes NO sense, it takes away the one advantage someone has using a car in the first place.
    If you did the same thing at University station this might make sense. Someone could look for a place near the line or commute from the Northtowns to University and take the train to work. The problem here is that what they’re doing is asking for people to inconvenience themselves AND to pay for it.

  • rockpile

    This whole idea makes no sense what so ever!!!!Going down Michigan Ave from the Cobblestone District to the Medical Campus is an easy commute via cars and buses.Why obstruct all the natural environment along the river with this kind of project,especially when you have an already built in rail line a couple hundred yards away or simply build an attractive rail line down South Park!This plan is not cohesive with anything.At the very least I would think residents of The Old First Ward will not stand for this let alone anyone with half a brain.

  • DeanerPPX

    Seriously, though, even though this looks like a small and simple project, I suspect the high price tag comes from the fact that it’s actually quite complex.
    Elevated tracks can be fairly cheap when they cover a longer distance and the sections mass-produced. But this elevated track is going THROUGH a century-old building that is actually being used on the lower level. That takes some balls. At the same time, an upper-level station is being built inside this structure and will need to have access to the street.
    There is also some difficulty in getting the train from street level up to the elevated track. A ramp would be easy. But at the same place where the ramp needs to be, a set of switchbacks is required to allow trains to access the maintenance yards on the lower level. That’s a lot to fit into a very tight space.
    Even the ‘easy’ part, the elevated section between Baltimore and Marvin, has stuff underneath it. The rail yard will need to be reconfigured and perhaps some buildings demolished or built around/over.
    (Honestly, I can’t imagine why they didn’t propose a simple grade-level streetcar along South Park)
    In comparison, the difficulties facing the north extension to UB/Amherst include some very tricky tunneling under a residential area, adding a portal someplace where there is no room for one and the geology doesn’t favor it, building elevated tracks over and through one of the regions busiest commercial areas, clearing an at-grade right-of-way and more elevated tracks through a cluttered mix of residential and commercial areas, and finally clearing a path for the line to terminate at the University.
    $200M wouldn’t even BEGIN to cover the *planning* stages for an Amherst extension. 20 years ago when I was in college, the Amherst line was considered an engineering nightmare nearly on par with Boston’s Big Dig. Even in the ’60s, the NFTA knew that Amherst was a challenge… and that was before they had to scrap and re-plan the entire downtown and Allentown segments. We’re lucky anything got built at all.
    For cost effectiveness, the Tonawanda spur and portions of an airport line are the only extensions that can be done ‘cheap’. And that’s only because rail ROWs already exist.
    The parking ramp, if built using prefab materials, would likely be the easiest and cheapest part of the project… Unless it included direct access to the 190. That would be a bear in itself.

  • The Boss

    Now if say a a Football Stadium were to be located on outer harbor with a short spur across the river then this type of plan might start making more sense.

  • Chris

    This by far was the stupidest idea that I heard until I saw that HSBC presentation.
    Thinking that ANYONE would willingly add a half hour to their commute is crazy. Building a garage downtown in an area that is ripe for redevelopment is crazy. Build a few small garages nearby. In a city that is gap tooth and lost a few there is no reason why there has to be an urban renewal style monolith.
    HSBC I can’t understand why we would bail out a development company that paid too much for a property. Instead of paying them funds why not give it to a business to relocate. Chicago did it wilt the sears tower and United Airlines.

  • charger

    This seems like one of those Buffalo ideas – like the Skyway, Pedestrian Mall and North Campus – that will have future generations saying “what the heck were they smoking when they came up with that?”.
    1. Cuts FNC and HARBORcenter off from Canalside with the ramp to get the train up in the air.
    2. Builds a parking ramp where there is little easy access by large volumes of cars.
    3. Runs a train through a floor of the DL&W that people are finally beginning to take an interest in.
    4. Does nothing enliven the Cobblestone District or Downtown.
    It would make much more sense to use this money to improve, as mentioned above, live-near-your-work options for BNMC employees around the campus and existing Metro stations, and build a large multi-use building to include significant parking on one of the huge vacant lots adjacent to Goodell Street. That location is well served by the 33 and Elm/Oak arterial and specifically designed to handle high traffic volumes.
    The plan seems to take the parking headache the BNMC has and impose it on the residents of the Perry/Old First Ward neighborhoods, while creating an rail ramp/bridge nightmare with money no one has that could be better spent elsewhere.

  • grad94

    plus there’s this magical thinking, contrary to all evidence on the ground, that lots & lots of parking will save your downtown, when all it does is destroy it.
    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/cars-and-robust-cities-are-fundamentally-incompatible/4651/

  • Soccerdude5719

    This would make more sense if Ohio street does became more of a major route into the city. They are working on that improve it but they skyway kinda throws a wrench in that since it diverts a traffic away from there, decreasing what Ohio street could be. But i’m not gonna argue about the skyway in this article.
    The $200 million figure I thought was the high end of the figures at least according to the article in the paper.
    I’m a little torn as to my opinion. If they increase riders and increase their profit. This could kickstart more expansion of lines and number of light rail trains in use. Though I do agree I would rather see expansion to north campus whenever that happens.

  • 300miles

    You basically described a Park-and-Ride lot. The only difference is people would have to pay. But as far as the inconvenience goes, thousands of people deal with that everyday when they park at a park-and-ride lot then wait for the train. Since trains can’t go to everyone’s front door, that’s then next best thing.
    I’m still on the fence with this project though. Glad to see the line extended to DLW and beyond, but not crazy about the parking lot destination. Elevating the tracks also seems like a costly decision. Can’t they use the lower portion of the terminal as a station?

  • No_Illusions

    As ridership increases the NFTA can provide more frequent service during peak hours.
    Paying to park is another issue, but you have to pay to park somewhere…however this why it makes more sense to have free parking at a park and in the suburbs.

  • biniszkiewicz

    You guys are all wet. This plan actually makes sense.
    You love to hate parking, and for reasons of density and street appeal, it’s easy to see why. But if downtown is to continue to grow and if we aren’t going to waste prime real estate on parking cars, then it has to go somewhere. And if it is to go somewhere other than the heart of downtown then it MUST be connected to light rail (else it must be right on top of the locations which need it). And if it has to be connected to light rail, pray tell: where else but right here? This makes a world of sense.
    -Making it bus/train capitalizes (minus Amtrak) on what Sam Hoyt wanted the Aud used for decades ago. It’s a good idea to combine those.
    -That very train terminal used to take big old locomotives on the second floor. It’ll handle light rail easily. How sensible: use a train station for what it was built as.
    -connecting the arena to the station is smart, convenient, weather protected. love it.
    -the prospect of riding ‘coatless’ from parking to the medical corridor in winter makes downtown a whole lot more appealing to those suburbanites trekking downtown for job growth we haven’t experienced in decades.
    I think this is a great idea. Seriously.

  • Jay D

    Wait….people do realize that they can park by ANY of the Metros stations and ride it to the medical park, right? Why in the world would they need a parking ramp that’s the FARTHEST away.
    A better, cheaper, quicker plan would be to actually advertise the other stops/parking near them.

  • benfranklin

    Seems like pricing would be key. I did ‘park and ride’ at the university station, to work downtown 20 years ago… but the price made sense (parking was free at UB), and the subway stopped at the door at work.
    If private money builds the ramp, they need a return. If the cost to park is similar, I don’t think people would change their behavior.
    On a slightly different note, I’d be interested to hear more about Palladino and Croce’s debate about the pricing of parking downtown.
    Finally… I’m a private sector supporter, but I do think public transportation should be close to free. If I’m a student, or low income person taking it to work, make it free. I’d subsidize that. Can’t stand to hear the NFTA is raising rates to increase revenue. The marginal customer they lose (because of the increase) is the exact person the system should be for.

  • Travelrrr

    Why can’t we just leave these plans to actual planners?

  • ReginaldQMerriweatherIV

    I agree. I just wonder what the long term costs are associated with elevating the train as opposed to using the first floor as the events/cobblestone station and building the NFTA new sheds on the ground level of the new ramp.

  • benfranklin

    Wow…so us citizens should be silent about what the government considers, but be vocal about property owners and how they preserve, or choose not to preserve, their personal property? Congrats on stretching the left wing agenda a bit further, did you come up with that on your own?

  • Jay D

    whats up with this guy?! ^

  • No_Illusions

    …um you do realize thousands of commuters come from the south everyday into downtown right? It looks like they want to recreate the success that they have had with UB South park an ride…though I agree that the location is not ideal. Then again hopefully this structure allow for the large expanse of lot parking in cobblestone to be developed.

  • 300miles

    bin: -the prospect of riding ‘coatless’ from parking to the medical corridor in winter makes downtown a whole lot more appealing to those suburbanites trekking downtown for job growth we haven’t experienced in decades.
    Sure, it makes it appealing to people that will just go from their car to work to car then home. If they are riding the metro coatless then they will only go to work and no place else… No restaurants, shops, or bars. All the other metro stops are outdoors. So this sort of plan just adds more convenience to people that aren’t going to spend any money in the city. Why do we keep catering to them instead of catering to people that are brave enough to actually step outside once in a while?

  • geomike

    So, let’s pretend someone has $200 MM to do this. Would it maybe be a better idea to take that, and extend the rail line south across the inner harbor on the bridge that Higgins seems be supporting? IF we added a rail bed to the proposed bridge, we’d get some economy of scale in the infrastructure investment, and it wouldn’t necessarily blow the auto-bridge option out of the water either.
    Yes we need more parking to support the BNM campus, but people don’t come up Ohio street in droves now, they come up Route 5. What if we built more of that parking in lots on the brownfields of Bethlehem by building a rail extension south that would create more parking on land that has limited other development opportunity, and would create a park and ride with enough scale to actually call it that? UB’s South Campus is the only park and ride of scale locally otherwise. I also would hate to see a parking ramp/lot along the Buffalo River that’s starting to turn a corner now, and this ramp/lot then restrict access, because I doubt ProPark etc would want a lot of public access on the space. Spending $200 MM to extend the line such a short distance doesn’t really expand the utility of the line much, it just solves the parking problem a bit for BNM.

  • suburban_hillbilly

    I agree, this is rediculous. If you are going to extend light rail to a parking facility to accomodate a commuter workforce, then that parking facility should be a park and ride in the burbs and the $200M should be spent retrofitting existing rail to reach it.

  • No_Illusions

    It should be extended down South Park, as it is 1000% more heavily populated. If the outer harbor does get developed then sure, but going down South Park kills more birds with the same stone.

  • Buffalo All Star

    Indeed…stuck on stupid. Boy I’ll tell ya wny leaders..creative problem solvers of the year. Lets plunk down 500 million for a light rail extension and parking garage in the middle of no where..miles away from where people work. All on the same day theres another article about the ills of subsidized parking and how were should do away to BCAR.
    Instead of extending metro rail and park/ride options to where BNMC workers live…WOW…
    If you are not going to do it right..do not do it at all. Its always more expensive to fix a mistake.

  • manski

    “This seems like one of those Buffalo ideas – like the Skyway, Pedestrian Mall and North Campus – that will have future generations saying “what the heck were they smoking when they came up with that?”.”
    I thought the exact same thing when I read this last night. Good that it’s being discussed, but holy cow is this plan awful.

  • LouisTully

    The idea has been thrown around on here several times, but has the NFTA ever looked at incorporating the old Belt Line? Lot of infrastructure already in place, right? Isn’t that one of the greatest costs of rail expansion? It’s not like the Belt Line doesn’t already go through heavily populated areas.
    I think the NFTA hijacking the 2nd floor of the DL&W is beyond stupid. Such a cool structure with awesome possibilities. That terrace on the west end would be an awesome spot for cocktail hour before weddings and such.

  • Jay D

    Yes I realize that, but the whole point is that there arent enough parking spaces in the medical campus, so they have to be somewhere else. I dont see a need to spend $200 million to extend this to a parking ramp, when there are plenty of other parking lots located near other stations. Just seems like a waste.

  • Rand503

    So much more could be done with that $200 million. Like launch an innovation platform that would create billion dollar companies, for instance.

  • JSmith

    “it represents the first time in decades that anybody in power has viewed rail as an ASSET rather than an evil obstruction.”
    Yeah, that is how I feel about it as well. I’m glad they are thinking about ways to use the rail, and it would introduce a lot more middle-class employees to the idea of riding the subway as part of their commute to work.
    But if we want to move towards being a more walkable city with less of a need to build parking ramps and lots, the only real answer is in getting more people to live within walking distance of their workplace or at least within a direct transit line that goes to their workplace. That’s why I say rather than blow $200 million on a project line this, it would be more effective to spend it building 1,000 new modern apartments or rowhouses in areas near the medical campus or near Main Street. That would return more property taxes to the city as well, which would be good news for everyone.

  • NBuffguy

    I think this is the beginning of a good idea. I’d like it better if the plan didn’t end at a parking facility, but continued past it. Maybe crossing back under 190, on Louisianna or Hamburg Street, and connecting the Larkin District to the grid.

  • HWA

    I completely agree. Did anyone else commenting here actually read the BN article? BNMC is going to eventually employ over 17,000 people plus patients and visitors – but they are not going to provide 17,000 parking spots on site. So all of you who say things like, why would you increase your commute to park here and take the train up are missing the point – of course it would be more convenient to park closer to the medical campus. But there will not be enough spaces to accommodate everyone who wants to park there. So good for all these people who are trying to think bigger picture and not just tear down buildings on Main Street or east side neighborhoods to provide convenient parking for 17,000+ cars. Also keep in mind, while this proposal might not make sense for someone who lives in the northtowns (who would be better served to park and ride from UB south) it could be more convenient for those coming from the Southtowns.

  • JSmith

    I believe the medical campus is already shuttling people in minibuses from parking lots down around the 190 and in the Cobblestone District. The place where I work looked into moving from Amherst to the medical campus a couple of years ago and at that time the boss was told people would have to park down under the 190 and get shuttled up to the Innovation Center.

  • benfranklin

    If you’re here for a few weeks…you’ll see Travelrrr telling private property owners how to behave (fix this, fix that). I just find it odd that his position with regards to this ‘plan’ is that we should leave it to those in the government.
    If you’re over forty, you can remember a time when this kind of rationale would have been laughed out of the room. Now… in this more enlightened time, its the norm.
    Government knows best. That’s scary to 48% of us.

  • paulsobo

    To elevate the light rail to the 2nd floor of the DL&W is a complete waste of that building which is just gaining momentum for re-use. THE POSITIVE JUSTIFICATION ABOUT A RAISED 2ND LEVEL LIGHT RAIL TO THE DL&W WOULD BE IF THE PASSENGER CONCOURSE STATION WERE REBUILT but that is not in the discussion.
    A light rail along South Park would contribute to a revivial of South Park Avenue and the entire First Ward District. Why would anyone pass up on an opportunity like that.
    A light rail to a parking garage for the Life Sciences Campus makes little sense but it makes a great deal of sense if the light rail and parking garage were part of a master plan to serve the Seneca Casino and a new convention, conference and hotel center.

  • Chris

    Instead of this goofy proposal… What about a multi modular station.
    Parking
    Amtrak
    Metro rail
    New Bus Station
    Car Rental
    Bike depot
    What are they thinking!!

  • paulsobo

    We cant just think about Light Rail.
    We cant just think about parking garages.
    We dont have the luxury, except through ignorance and stupdity, to think with a single focus.
    We have to think what actions or combination of actions would have the great spinoff potential.
    The spin off for Light Rail along the entire first ward of South Park has enormous development opportunities for that area….especially for a new convention/conference/hotel center.
    The spin off for Light Rail along existing ROW to the Larkin, Central Terminal, Galleria and Airport are enormous for that area of the eastside.

  • longgone

    To be fair…
    For those mocking this as a bad idea I think the reason why they want to do this is to avoid the fight regarding the train shed.
    Speaking of the train shed, lets be honest about it. It’s the train shed. The historical building was demolished in 1979. This is like tearing down the mansion and celebrating the garage that was left.
    If they are going to extend the line, they should demolish the train shed to save money and try to get the line as close as possible to Larkinville. That would be an improvement.

  • JSmith

    I think what he is saying is we should leave planning to people who are actually trained in planning, not people like Brian Higgins and the medical campus executives.

  • suburban_hillbilly

    …my spelling is also ridiculous*

  • Jay D

    I didnt see anything in his comment about governemnt.

  • Buffalogni

    Travelrrr, bitching about planning is why we all come to this site 🙂

  • Quixote

    OK. So is this a floater or a sinker?

  • benfranklin

    I replied to your initial question with an answer to the one you’re currently asking. I’ll exercise some discretion, and leave it at that.

  • Mormegil

    Disagree, re: that the purpose of a rail line is not to not to be a parking shuttle. Come to DC sometime and you’ll understand that IS a large portion of the purpose of the metro system. It’s why all the end and near-end stops in the suburbs have massive parking garages.
    Now the difference with the situation here is that the parking garage is in the city and not the suburbs. But this idea, as a general concept, is actually more consistent with current national practice than the people in this thread seem to realize.
    I don’t think this situation will work in Buffalo though – driving to a parking lot to take a train to then walk to your office. But in the DC metro area, this is standard practice.

  • Lego1981

    I see the need for expansion, but lets do it right. Is going through the second floor and off South Park ave going to be easy in the future if and ever we can expand further out to the Larkin District? Central Terminal? Airport? Etc.. Lets think big and think about connecting the entire region instead of doing something too fast for a few parking spots and regretting it after its too late.

  • benfranklin

    If you dropped the average Buffalo subway rider into the DC system, after a few minutes looking at the map, they’d say a few of the following things:
    1.) This is cool, and it’s pretty clean.
    2.) Look, lines actually cross at certain intersections.
    3.) I can actually get to hundreds of different locations, and not just the ten (roughly) stops along Main Street.
    4.) This is a real subway system that could replace my car.

  • rockpile

    I am for a parking ramp at this site,an underground ramp that serves a midsize mixed use building with office and condo’s at the top,the vantage point visually to downtown,Larkin District/OFW to the right,Inner&Outer harors to the left,oh and those ugly Grain Elovaters that I hate so much[sarcasim]in the rear!This would also ad a little better visual entering downtown from Ohio St. than another dreadful parking ramp.A long term plan that extends the Metro Rail to the Outer Harbor along side one of the future bridges planned would tie in to a master plan much better.I think this proposal is driven by developers[Senaca Casino,Harbor Center,and the Medical Campus]rather than any wise city planner!That being said this plan will never advance ounce level heads prevail as they look at the big picture for smart growth and sustainability.

  • ladyinwhite

    Growth problems?

  • longgone

    If you want to do it right, you either change the course of the line or you demolish the train shed and stay at ground level. It makes zero sense to elevate the section of the line just to save, what some inaccurately consider historic, train shed.
    My take is do a 90 degree turn at Exchange, just after HSBC, and use the existing ROW to lay metro tracks.
    While this would force people to walk 1,400 feet to HSBC, it would open up the Larkin district right away and be headed towards the airport.

  • Up and coming

    You’re right, because billion dollar companies grow on trees.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/kkefs9N1h_XyBArWgpoFELjjJfxs#fd7ed

    Seriously? The train already goes nowhere. Now, the idea is to make the train go up a ramp and run a few extra blocks further into nowhere? All to service the hypothetical commuting needs of people who want to park their cars at a hospital that is miles away? Only in Buffalo is stupidity like this rewarded.

  • Travelrrr

    Keep flapping your trap, Ben. What I meant is that govt agencies should not play urban planners. Of course the people should have input/visibility.

  • Up and coming

    It’s funny how there are three huuuuuuge parking lots which are less that 10 percent full during the day, right next to the DL&W station. Not to menton the F’in Center parking ramp. That being said, can someone tell me why we would gut the DL&W for some stupid connector to nowhere? How about creating a waiting center on the first floor of the DL&W for people who are waiting to catch the train. Wham bam thank you mam. Make the people walk a city block or, two. It’s not going to kill them. PS you could probably locate some first floor retail in there also, because I’m sure these people would like some breakfast.

  • No_Illusions

    You should read the BNMC master plan. It calls for the recreation of hundreds of residences in the Fruit Belt along with a ton of student housing. The Med school has not been built yet, so there they wont do that until at least that part of the plan is done.

  • Tim

    Thanks. Figured as such.
    ‘(Honestly, I can’t imagine why they didn’t propose a simple grade-level streetcar along South Park)’
    That was my first reaction too.

  • longgone

    A waiting center? Do you mean a terminal to the train shed?
    If so..that’s a good idea. I wonder if the train shed ever had a terminal before…

  • laldm

    There are some good nuggets in this idea, but overall it sounds unnecessarily expensive. The obvious solution, in my opinion, would be to extend the light rail as a streetcar down Seneca St. to Larkin and build a station along it somewhere (at Chicago Ave. as proposed above or elsewhere) and build that parking garage they want so bad next to it. The station should be built in a way that it could also serve the neighborhood around it, residential or the casino or whatever happens to be nearby depending on the location. This way, we kill several birds with one stone, and it would probably still cost less than $200M total because it is only about a mile between downtown and Larkin and they wouldn’t be elevating it. Maybe we can even make the neighborhood more attractive by building sleek new stations.
    But, yes, I am glad that the politicians are starting to see the light rail as an asset to the region’s future. Yes, the pedestrian mall was a mistake – no one’s denying that – but we got a pretty nice and fairly successful little train system out of it so we might as well take advantage of and build on that. A few more plans like this and we might actually get somewhere.

  • whatever

    Yeah at best that’s an arguable way to describe it, which looks like your point – although notice even in McCarthy’s BN article he (or his editor) did put quote marks around “growth problems”.
    I suppose if moving 2 big hospitals and an even bigger med school all to BNMC – each of which had a lot of parking at previous locations – counts as growth, then sure it’s a growth problem.
    There’s some merits to the moves so I’m not criticizing that. But the things at BNMC which are new growth are only a very small portion of parking needs for it all.

  • Buffaboy

    Three Words: Better than nothing.

  • whatever

    What I don’t follow about this idea is if they say the big need it would meet is BNMC employee parking, and they also say the parking garage part of the idea would be funded by the private sector – why not just let the private sector build it (with ground floor retail) somewhere near BNMC?
    Like maybe where currently Wendy’s and its parking lot is, or maybe where Goodrich Tire is, or several other possibilities around there?
    Or maybe could even be as upper floors where Allen station of Metro rail is?
    It just seems like a convoluted approach to put it almost 3 miles away at South Park & Chicago St then connect it using up so much govt spending which then can’t be spent on other needs or wants.
    On a related note – if BNMC will use so much daytime parking even if its south of downtown, then when we were recently told by folks including Old First Ward, Donn Esmonde, and Tim Tielman that it’s outrageous and unjustified for the HarborCenter to provide 800 public parking spaces very near to the existing Metro line, well …

  • PaulBuffalo

    why not just let the private sector build it (with ground floor retail) somewhere near BNMC?
    So you do actually care about design sometimes. Hurrah! Thumbs up for you.

  • whatever

    lol, sure, I’ve never doubted that retail space can be sensible where there’s a demand – for instance if they used the Wendy’s property for a new parking garage, some people would still want to be able to have burgers & frosties around there… it could even still have a drive thru along a side of it!
    I’d think that revenue might help make the building viable, in fact. I’ve noticed that parking lot seems pretty full of customer cars quite a bit.
    What I don’t buy into is the more extreme idea that just putting retail space somewhere will automatically cause enough demand to justify it.
    For example of that – when some people on here argued that the other big parking garage of BNMC on the Michigan St side should’ve had 1st floor retail. That made no sense to me.

  • PaulBuffalo

    I generally agree with you. Regarding … putting retail space somewhere will automatically cause enough demand to justify it, it can be chicken-and-egg situation. Fortunately, demographic data is becoming more accessible and much more accurate. If developers and small business take advantage of big data, it makes these situations less of gamble.
    The other question is do you build for today or tomorrow? I’ve seen many retail situations that have crunched the numbers to conclude that a dormant retail corridor today will be a bustling one tomorrow (and visa versa). Main Place Mall, for example, had the highest occupancy of any mall in western New York up until about 1990. However, it was already known that foot traffic would decline substantially. Retailers knew when to start looking for opportunities elsewhere.

  • paulsobo

    Buffalo is ignorant, riddled with patronage and corruption…this idea isn’t happening for the good of the public…this is an insider payoff

  • paulsobo

    Buffalo is ignorant, riddled with patronage and corruption…this idea isn’t happening for the good of the public…this is an insider payoff

  • biniszkiewicz

    Well, one reason to cater to those who won’t venture outdoors is that there are many thousands of them that we’re currently not attracting.
    Some folks don’t mind winter. Others despise it. It isn’t a matter of them coming one way or another, despite what we do. You know, kick them outdoors and tell them: ‘it’s good for you!’ and they’ll come either way. They won’t necessarily come as often or at all.
    Lots of office lease decisions are dependent upon what the employees themselves think about the location, not just the management. Management often listens to, even caters to, employee input. And if the choice is walking blocks in the winter wind downtown vs. parking in front of the suburban office door, many an employee will opt for the latter.
    Coat-less winters appeal. Want proof? Go to Toronto. You can walk for miles underground. It’s one big shopping kiosk. Go to Minneapolis. Winter cities thrive better when they accommodate thin blooded wimps. This broadens downtown’s appeal to some who otherwise wouldn’t find downtown an attractive place to work or visit half the year.

  • buffloonitick

    depends how much polish is on that turd.

  • No_Illusions

    That train shed…is still an active train shed.
    The NFTA occupies the first floor already. I’m guessing their plan is to have a station on the second floor to service whatever gets put in there, which might be a smart move in itself to help connect canal side with Cobblestone.
    Why tear down a building that is actively being used though?

  • 300miles

    Sure there are benefits and could encourage development. But what’s the point in empty development that has no positive impact on the city economy. With limited funds available, which option gives more bang for the buck? Spending $200+ million on a plan that attracts people to actually live in the city and use the sidewalks and shop in our businesses is better than spending $200+ million to attract people that have no interest in anything other than going to work then going home without stepping foot outside. We shouldn’t waste our time or money on plans that just add convenience to people that only spend their money elsewhere and doesn’t boost our economy.

  • No_Illusions

    Actually it probably wouldn’t cut it off anymore than it already is be the fenced in approach of the metro rail tracks into the DW&L Terminal extent pretty far. If they just build the ramp at the approach then no harm done.
    Also the Skyway was an elegant solution to a massive increase in vehicular traffic while providing unabated shipping on the canals/river below. Now it seems ridiculous only because shipping traffic is much lower than it was back then when the entire area was still industrially active. Also the good thing about the skyway is that you can have unabated pedestrian access to Canalside. If the skyway was at grade level it would be much more of a wall than it already is.
    The pedestrian mall on Main would have been a roaring success if people actually lived downtown. By any other logic Canalside should fall flat on its face for being so pedestrian orientated.
    UB North is much harder to defend. They needed space to undergo their massive expansion after becoming a SUNY School. Amherst was cheap at the time as the city still was filled with industry and half a million people at this point. It also didn’t help that it was designed during the height of student unrest and designed to keep students under control, which is why its designed as a fortress. Its very unfortunate that the planners could not see past the current events of the time.

  • Daniel Sack

    17,500 parking spaces for 17,500 employees is perhaps one of the stupidest theories floated by the Buffalo News.
    Hospitals run three shifts.
    Not every employee owns a car.
    Not every employee who owns a car drives it to work.
    Many patients don’t have cars.
    Patients who have cars don’t always take them to the hospital.
    30% of Buffalo households don’t have cars.
    Every person who may work on the study drives their car to work, same for NFTA executives, same for politicians who want to spend our money, same for Bob McCarthy I suppose.

  • whatever

    Yeah, McCarthy write weird things so often (voter suppression, etc) that sometimes I don’t notice them at first – but you’re right, this was classic even for him
    “The sprawling Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus taking shape at the north end of downtown is expected to employ about 17,500 people in five years – but without anywhere near 17,500 parking spots.”
    That said, even though he butchered the math like that – the W&C hospital is next to a big parking garage now near Elmwood, and UB med school has many spaces in its surface lots. When moving to BNMC eventually those two things alone would bring enough added parking needs with them which at least could fill a new good sized garage somewhere.
    (Not to mention anything else like if Cuomo’s AMRI thing really does grow to many hundreds of jobs – far fetched arguably, but that’s one of his ‘visions’).

  • Daniel Sack

    Those South Campus medical school parking spaces can be park and ride for $0. But of course who can make any money of that?
    And Carl Paladino and others are planning housing along the Main Street transit corridor.
    Instead of parking spaces for people working at the BNMC (and everywhere else) that encourages people to drive, encourage people to live along the transit line and not need to drive.
    An old idea called Transit Oriented Design. Of course this is contrary to the hospital model of repairing people’s bodies from the effects of pollution and auto accidents.

  • synthesis

    Meaningful subway service cuts into the A-ring suburbs, otherwise this lazy ass is planted in the drivers seat. The idea of a massive parking ramp to service park and riders is not a bad idea. The concept is just half ass. Wait, it’s not even a quarter ass. Basically the rail needs to extend out to the Airport and north campus. Build the worlds largest ramps out there because that’s where everyone is coming from and we’ve been pooping sprawl out in those toilets for decades anyway!

  • No_Illusions

    That is ridiculous. Why do you think there are so many restaurants and bars downtown?
    Its because these commuters do get out. They eat, and they drink with coworkers over happy hour.

  • No_Illusions

    Actually why can’t we use Amtrak as a commuter rail? WNY has three train stations. Normal service costs $11 to get from Depew to Exchange Street. Getting to Niagara Falls cost $13.
    Why can’t we increase service during peak rush hours, slash prices by at least half, and promote a park & ride at Depew? Exchange street is just a short walk from the metro rail.

  • No_Illusions

    I was just responding to the fact that for commuters from the south this is the first station they encounter and is not the furthest one away.

  • MikeN

    For a lot less than $200M you could probably run the tracks right down Main/South Park with car sharing options like Main and relocate the mainenance facility into a steel “temp”/fabricated building where it is currently suggested to end. No train ramp, no elevated platform to build and mantain, and the terminal building (upper and lower) are both vacated by the NFTA for development.
    And I agree, we do need to connect Walden/Depew with Terminal, Larkin, Exchange, Niagara St, Hertel with some sort of loop and push the rail deeper into Tonawanda/Amherst even if it doesn’t get all the way to North immediately, ie. Maple Road or Sheridan Drive areas are good starts. Then it would just require a northern junction to a beltline type transit.

  • LouisTully
  • synthesis

    I would be inclined to disagree with the beltline concept because I believe the goal should be to move people from the suburbs to their job in the city or from the Tonawandas, and Amherst east toward Cheektowaga. The latter example is the cause of the huge bottle neck at the 290/90 water tower. I think if the rail could be extended to our most populous northern and eastern burbs (like UB north and the airport) then that would be a better option because the beltline concept is for those who already live in the city. Lets face it, I don’t think our megaburbs are going anywhere, and changing the shape of our system to a sort of Y shape would move a lot of people.

  • whatever

    None of my business (don’t mean to pry), but I’m curious if you practice what you preach for others to not be able to have parking near where they work.
    Daniel>“Instead of parking spaces for people working at the BNMC (and everywhere else) that encourages people to drive”
    In other words, wondering if you really never parked your car in a space at or near an employer who’s located near public transit.
    If you really take say for example the Delavan bus every day instead of parking a car in a faculty parking space at your college (even during winters)…
    … then sincerely, I’d compliment your consistency for always meeting a standard you advocate for others.
    But the hypocrisy would be disappointing if you do ever use a parking space there where you work while you’re saying employees at BNMC’s future additions of UB med school & Women’s-Children’s hospital shouldn’t be able to park near where they work.
    Regardless of consistency or hypocrisy, it sounds wildly extreme if you’re really saying zero employee parking spaces should be added near either the whole new med school and new W/C hospital.
    That sounds as extremist in the opposite direction as did Bob McCarthy’s dopey mention of 17,000 spaces being needed for BNMC employees.
    Somewhere between 0 and 17,000 is a sensible middle ground.
    (this is separate from the idea for it being 3 miles away downtown plus tons of more govt funding for rail to/from it)
    Sure, some could choose to use Park-Ride spaces at South Campus, and some could choose to live near other Metro stations. Nobody’s stopping anyone from choosing that.
    They’d spend less of their own $ that way, so there’s a motivation.
    It would sound incredibly far fetched to expect that to be done by all or even most nurses, etc at the new W/C hospital and all or most secretaries, administrative staff, technicians, doctors, med school faculty/staff, etc, etc, …
    For one thing, some people won’t consider that a short walk from those Park-Ride lot spaces to/from the Metro – especially in rain or cold. It can be quite a hike.
    As a practical matter – wouldn’t it hurt efforts to recruit & keep good employees if BNMC took a screw-employee-parking approach?
    Why should it bother anyone, especially if a garage is privately funded, considering how much vacant or only lightly utilized parcels are nearby to BNMC?
    Hypothetically, would it really be a tragedy if for instance any parcel like Wendy’s or BF Goodrich or EPIC were replaced by a privately funded parking garage?
    This reminds me of FreeThrow’s satire…
    http://rising.wpengine.com/2013/02/louies-hot-dogs—we-will-rebuild.html#comment-143891

  • Daniel Sack

    “whatever” – I don’t work at any specific location. My work has me traveling (in a large SUV with a coworker) with 25 cases of equipment mostly to locations within 5 hours of Buffalo.
    When I am not working but going to someplace in Buffalo or suburbs I drive, walk, bus, rapid transit, bicycle (but not so much as I have tendonitis in my hands).
    I never worry about parking spaces. If I drive downtown I can always find a street parking space within a few blocks of where I am going. Last week I took the bus to City Hall and walked home. Sometimes I walk to the subway on Main Street. Not driving a car feels very freeing sometimes.
    Privately funded parking garage? Where is one of those in Buffalo?
    Hypocrisy? What I believe is that we must look at a larger picture than simply finding that the solution is more parking spaces. I have been advocating for broader solutions at public hearings, for decades. I own a car, is that hypocrisy?
    Yes we need parking spaces. Our taxpayer subsidized automobile culture has encouraged us to drive for more than a half century. We will not lose the addiction overnight. But this addiction is not sustainable and we must employ better designs for our transportation needs.

  • whatever

    Daniel – whether you ever ‘worry’ about parking spaces near your job wasn’t the question, but I was only wondering (rudely perhaps) if you ever regularly _used_ something which you’re advocating others shouldn’t regularly use.
    No need to worry about something if it’s sitting there.
    (& maybe I’m remembering wrongly… but I thought I’d seen you say in the Buffalo News one time that you’re are or were a long time prof at Canisius.
    If I’ve mixed you up with someone else – sorry for that, and also sorry if I overly personalized the topic)
    But hypothetically – yeah, how would it not be hypocritical if a hypothetical person who worked for years at a college such as Canisius and regularly parked in a staff parking space there instead of taking public transit – but now advocates that there shouldn’t be any employee parking spaces near new location of UB medical school and the new location of Women’s-Children’s hospital?
    But again, if that hypothetical person really truly skipped use of a staff parking space at their employer college and used the NFTA on a daily basis to/from there – then I’d at least congratulate consistency even while disagreeing about practicality of not having employee parking near new W&C or new UB med school.
    I agreed with you that the BN’s 17,000 number looks crazy-too-high, but then when it looked like you’re arguing for 0 more spaces after the other big employers move to BNMC that looked ridiculously-too-low.

  • whatever

    Daniel“Privately funded parking garage? Where is one of those in Buffalo?
    Hmmm… well, speaking of Canisus, don’t they have a privately funded parking ramp at Jefferson-Delavan?
    Here’s a pic… http://binged.it/YpX3qZ
    Didn’t Kaleida have one at Millard Gates too, on Linwood?
    This one? http://binged.it/YpYV3b
    Mercy Hospital on Abbott has a big one…
    here http://binged.it/YpYsOg
    So there’s 3 examples… maybe there’s more too…
    Anyhow, about private funding –
    that premise is from the BN article to which WCP linked…
    “They believe that the private sector sees enough opportunity in the garage to handle its construction and operation but that government money will be needed to build the first expansion of Metro Rail – albeit a short one…”
    Sometimes McCarthy gets things wrong, so who knows if the premise is true – but I also wouldn’t assume it’s false.
    Private sector could include Kaleida itself which is a private sector non-profit org, or for-profit owners of some parking garages in Buffalo.
    Like I said in my first comment, I didn’t like the sound of a bunch of public $ for the particular idea McCarthy wrote about for transit to/from a new garage 3 miles south of BNMC.
    But as for the general concept of a privately funded garage for BNMC employees – say if it was closer at one of many potential not-very-developed sites around it…
    I still don’t see what’s an argument against that happening?

  • Daniel Sack

    “whatever” Yes – Sears built that parking ramp that Canisius now owns. Millard Fillmore Gates is still a city owned parking garage, as is the garage near Children’s Hospital. Mercy, probably also City owned. The HarborCenter parking garage with hockey rinks and hotel will receive $37 million and I won’t be surprised if the City chips in more to own the ramp.
    ALL parking is government funded. Here the tax assessments on parking lots is so low that in itself is a subsidy. Street parking is on STREETS built, maintained, and plowed by the government for the benefit of people with cars.
    Never worked at Canisius. I have no idea why an employer would have special lots for employees. In many viable cities no employer worries about parking for their employees or anyone else.
    Transit systems were once privately owned and profitable to build and maintain. But not after the government began to build highways to compete with privately owned streetcar and subway systems. Who can compete with government that does not have to show a profit?
    If you build a city where people have to drive, people will have to drive. If you built a city with good public transit, transit oriented design, and walkable neighborhoods, guess what?
    There is no question in my mind that cars are killing our nation. If we don’t make a huge change in policy we will be buried by the costs.

  • pampiniform

    I don’t know about the other garages, but Mercy definitely owns its own parking garage. It fills a vital need, since the ramp is completely full everyday to the point that not all employees can even park there. It is currently in the process of getting some badly – needed maintenance and I know for a fact that the hospital is paying for it as part of its decade – long overhaul process.

  • whatever

    Daniel – ok, 2 of 3 garages I suggested as private are.
    As pampin said, the large parking garage at Mercy Hospital is privately funded. Also there’s the one at Canisius (originally Sears you point out).
    My mistakes about the garage on Linwood if that’s govt-owned, and about whoever I mixed you up with – sorry again for that.
    It still isn’t clear if you’re arguing that all parking garages, regardless of whether govt-owned or privately owned, should be illegal throughout all of Buffalo’s 46 square miles of land much of which has nothing on it?
    Are you saying the new GreenCode should forbid all new parking garages from ever being built anywhere in Buffalo?
    Looks as though you’re saying nobody including Kaleida should be allowed to build one at or near BNMC, and you’re also critical of Mercy Hospital having one, and of Canisius having one?
    Under what conditions should a parking garage ever be allowed in Buffalo?
    Or am I misunderstanding and you’re saying parking garages should be allowed, just that you feel nobody should ever choose to have one even though they should be allowed to?

  • whatever

    On a related note of practicality & unintended consequences – would it help or hurt researcher recruitment for BNMC as reported yesterday to tell the nationally-sought-after folks they’d have to hunt around for side street parking every day if they accept a position here?
    http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130303/CITYANDREGION/130309700
    “Recruiting top doctors and medical researchers to Buffalo is not unlike the Bills or Sabres going after blue-chip free agents.
    …Buffalo may not be high on their list of destinations – or on their list at all – when bigger, warmer or more lucrative markets are out there.
    Buffalo? thought Dr. Andrew Talal.
    Dr. Gil Wolfe was hesitant, too.
    And Dr. John Tomaszewski was sure Buffalo wasn’t for him, even before he stepped off the plane.
    That’s part of the recruiting process the University at Buffalo is going through right now as it grows its School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
    Over the next three years, UB plans to hire more than 100 full-time medical faculty members in preparation for the 2016 opening of its new medical school, which will serve as a linchpin for an emerging Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
    …”

    Or top researchers should be allowed to park near their jobs if they want to in staff parking spaces, but not their support staffs?

  • biniszkiewicz

    re: ‘There’s no doubt in my mind that cars are killing this nation’
    Gee, I don’t agree with that at all. Mind you, I’d love better mass transit, and I agree that Gov’t subsidizes roads and autos disproportionately. I’m all for building up local rail, for example. I’m in favor of each form of transportation supporting itself financially as opposed to government subsidizing each of them. That includes the expense of building and maintaining roads, as well as rails–let the users pay the true costs. If gov’t builds the roads, then tax the users to pay for the roads and don’t tax the non road users. Perhaps auto and truck ownership should be more expensive in order to cover more of the costs associated with this mode of travel. No argument from me about that.
    But I cannot for a moment agree that ‘cars are killing this nation’.
    When Henry Ford moved from his rural farm to the metropolis of Detroit, he walked the entire journey on foot, and took his possessions with him to go live in the big city with his aunt. It was a total distance of 9 miles. There was no bus service, no train service, no electricity, no pavement, etc. And if he took a horse (a big expense to maintain; hence: ‘eating like a horse’) what would he do with it when he arrived? The Tin Lizzy brought the luxury of autonomous travel to the middle class. Cars have certainly changed the world since then. But for individuals, the benefits have been manifold. And for society, too, there have been big benefits.
    As far as pollution is concerned, the methane and excrement from horses would probably be worse than auto emissions (and certainly this is true of, say, the Tesla S, or other electrics). Back when autos were novelties, they polluted orders of magnitude more than today. Yet they were hailed by civic leaders as a wondrously clean solution to the pervasive mess of horses. It sure was a stinky world.
    I’ll pass on traffic jams if mass transit can get me where I want to go conveniently. But give up the individual autonomy that autos provide? Society is not doing that, and neither am I. Better mass transit could make single car families more viable (as opposed to two or more cars). But even with the best mass transit system in the world, and some of the highest auto expenses in the world, Manhattanites, for example, still love their cars (at least those that can afford them).
    And what exactly do you mean, regarding ramps, by “it didn’t work for Canisius”? I think they’re pretty happy with that ramp. I know I was when I went there, long, long ago (and my first year, Sears was still open).

  • JohnMarko

    “I have no idea why an employer would have special lots for employees. In many viable cities no employer worries about parking for their employees or anyone else.”
    Really?!!! REALLY?!!!
    That has got to be one of the most ignorant statements I’ve seen posted here.
    When I used to work in Buffalo, that is the ONE thing that I considered when accepting employment, along with everyone else. And employers always gave you a choice of either paying for parking or providing a buss/transit pass as part of the total employment package. I chose the bus pass option eventually since I seldom had to drive to construction sites. And when I did, I switched to a parking pass for the days that required it.
    Moving to Honolulu, as an employer, when rates of almost everything went up the first time I had to consider it, it was not worth the effort to make my employees pay for their parking expenses compared to the overall cost of overhead expenses in running the business downtown.
    And NO firm I ever worked, at or considered working at, as an employee did NOT offer some sort of parking package. It just isn’t done.

  • whatever

    Good points, JM.
    Yes, the no-employee-parking-spaces-ever, and no-multi-level-parking-garages do look like new extremes.

  • Mark O’Hara

    Does anyone have pictures of the inside of the DL&W? I would love to see some artist renderings of what a new interior could look like. I just wish that the parking ramp could be built on the block immediately easy of the terminal instead of two over. It would be great to turn DL&W into a transit hub.