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NFTA Seems Serious About Extending Light Rail Into Cobblestone

As investment pushes from Main Street and Canalside to Ohio Street, the NFTA is studying the possibility of adding a Cobblestone District extension to the stubby light rail system.  The extension and new station would run through or along the light rail maintenance yard at the old DL&W Terminal train shed.  While an easterly extension has been looked at in the past, the potential of a new football stadium in Cobblestone or further southeast along South Park Avenue make the extension slightly greater than wishful thinking.

The $300,000 study examined five alternatives before winnowing them to two.  The NFTA’s Surface Transportation Committee received an overview of the possible extension yesterday (presentation here).

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One recommended alternative would run along the south side of South Park Avenue with a new station behind First Niagara Center (Alignment #2).

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The second would run through and have a station within the train shed (Alignment #4).  One of the discarded options was to ramp the cars up to the second level of the train shed that the NFTA has never gotten around to getting redeveloped.

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Plans for a Cobblestone District extension have been floated in the past including a loop to the casino and a 2013 proposal to connect to a new parking ramp along South Park Avenue that would help meet the needs of Medical Campus and downtown employees.

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The NFTA is also studying options for extending light rail service to Amherst.  The consultant has committed to a December 2015 date for identifying the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).

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Written by WCPerspective

WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • North Park

    It’s nice that they are finally talking about this, but a three block extension isn’t too much to get excited about. They should be linking to another destination such as larkinville or South Buffalo (by way of the new solar factory). Otherwise this is just an extension to nowhere (barring a new Bills stadium being the terminus). You don’t build light rail hoping for future development at the terminus, you build to capitalize on development already underway or completed.

  • flexme

    North Park I don’t see the benefit of linking to solar City. Would there really be that many people with a need to travel from the 1,500 employee solar factory to downtown? At the most i would think we are talking 100-150 or so riders per day. i do not think that is enough to justify a multimillion dollar expense.
    An extension to CrossPoint in Amherst would make much more sense. CrossPoint already has over 10,000 employees on site and is next to UB North which with it’s thousands of students that actually HAVE A NEED to go to the South campus. An extension there would add thousands of riders to the metrorail on a daily basis – guaranteed. Plus that extension would open up jobs in CrossPoint to City residenst that may not have reliable personal transportation

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Like it or not you’re going to need connections to the suburbs for the NFTA to be a success.
    Extending the SAME line 3-4 blocks further is great, but you’ll still have to drive to the tip of the line on Main Street to park.
    I’d love to see some sort of line out to the Eastern suburbs (cheektowaga, depew, lancaster) with additional park and ride lots out that way.  It would also reinforce some of the struggling first ring.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Same theory…how many Crosspoint employees live near the only rail line in the area?  I would guess a fraction of a fraction of those 10,000 employees. 
    I think a connection to solar city makes sense..ideally SORRAA and solar frontier will be somewhere in the area as well.  Maybe an extension to South Buffalo someday?

  • North Park

    flexme North Park When you build a rail line you need to have capacity for two way traffic. Essentially, you need to have destinations on either end.

    Expanding to South Buffalo will allow commuters from points North to travel to work at the Solar plant while allowing commuters from points south to travel to downtown and the medical campus. Both directions will be utilized.

    An extension to crosspoint is valuable because it will hit the University and have commuters going from Amherst to downtown, and students/employees heading to crosspoint and UB. Again traffic in both directions.

    I favor both expansions, but the UB/crosspoint expansion is far more expensive and fraught with potential problems.

  • North Park

    BuffaloAllStar But, it would open up crosspoint jobs to city residents that couldn’t have commuted there is the first place. Also, don’t forget that there would be stops all through southern Amherst as well. You would be connecting your two largest municipalities to crosspoint via rail, which is a good thing.

  • costrander08

    North Park +1 on connecting thru to Larkin. I’d love to see a spur run up through Larkin all the way up to the airport.
    I presume this extension is in preparation of a new stadium – although the NFTA quotes don’t imply that. By extending these few blocks, they not only open DL&W for development, but the spur is prepared to push further down South Park and up to a stadium site whether that be in Cobblestone, the Perry Projects or elsewhere in that area.

  • costrander08

    North Park BuffaloAllStar selfish thought here from a DT perspective, but I’d rather not give Crosspoint the help since I’d much rather see those 10K jobs filling space in the central biz district rather than the border of Niagara County.

    If they’re planning to extend to North campus in the future I think that’s plenty. A park and ride at the northern terminus of the line would be a quick trip down Millersport for the employees of Crosspoint.

  • The DL&W terminal needs to be made into a marketplace like Faneuil Hall in Boston.  Like it or not there still isn’t a lot of attractions in Buffalo.  This would actually be a reason for people to come from the suburbs and do something downtown for the afternoon.

  • North Park

    costrander08 North Park BuffaloAllStar I understand where you are coming from. I too would prefer that crosspoint’s jobs were all downtown. But, I think it is critical for the poor that they be connected with rapid transit to the areas large business districts. I think that outweighs the other concern.

  • solonggone

    @BuffaloAllStar  
    I disagree.  There are simply too many issues in those burbs from seeing a return on investment.  Not only do you have to go a great distance to get there but when you get there the homes are laid out in such a way it would be extremely expensive to the point of being cost prohibitive to build density around the stations.  
    I think the best return would be found in simply connecting the City of Buffalo.  I am not sure who owns what but even just running a line through the First Ward would bring a very quick return IMHO.  
    For starters, it’s a short distance to connect this neighborhood.  Second to this, there are several empty parcels and the properties that do exist (outside of historic ones) would be much cheaper to acquire, demolish and rebuild.  
    Imagine a line that from FNC down Ohio and cut over Republic and ended near Gene McCarthy’s (the best bar in Buffalo).  You have several large parcels that already exist or could be created with removal of less than 20 homes.  The existing warehouses would instantly become prime for conversions.  
    In turn, the rest of the First Ward would become the ‘next’ neighborhood to live in.  The people who live their could instantly find either the equity to update or cash out.  
    Also, the DL&W terminal does not exist!  The train shed exists.  The terminal is landfill today.

  • costrander08

    North Park BuffaloAllStar Would you agree that if the UB North connection was completed that a park and ride up Millersport would likely accommodate for 90% of people needing to get to Crosspoint?

  • North Park

    costrander08 North Park BuffaloAllStar Sure, but that’s inefficient and time consuming, especially when you consider that most of the travelers would likely start their trip by bus and have already transferred to rail. Could make for some long commutes.

    On the other hand, cost constraints could prevent such an expansion, and I can sympathize with that. I’d rather the line end at UB North than not exist at all.

  • North Park

    solonggone True. Our far and away densest burb is Kenmore. And, there isn’t any push to bring rail to Kenmore that I can see. A streetcar from downtown all the way down Elmwood, crossing over to Delaware at the Regal Cinema/Target Plaze and continuing down Delaware to terminate in Tonawanda/North Tonawanda would link Buffalo densest neighborhoods. But, I’m not sure I would get too much support for such a line.

  • costrander08

    North Park costrander08 BuffaloAllStar agreed on that last point. I bring it up because the NFTA is fighting with limited funds from their own coffers and the goverment to begin with, so choosing the most pressing upgrades/improvements are consistently on my mind. Therefore, finding funding to extend to North Campus and the airport sit at the top of my personal wish list.

  • LouisTully

    BuffaloAllStar For the NFTA to be a success, or rather expand it’s operations successfully, there’s going to need to be a culture change in those suburbs.  You think more convenient access to a train downtown is going to sway enough people to call it a success?  I don’t live far from the Allen station and to go to the arena it’s still easier to hop in the car and drive down there.

  • EAHS 1972

    North Park Actually out here in Portland they discovered the exact opposite, that extending the MAX and streetcar lines fostered development to previously undeveloped or underserved areas of the city.

  • You know it hit me yesterday. I was wondering, “when is BRO going to run another story about the Metro Rail?” And it’s here!!!
    This is such a needed extension, and I can’t even picture the transformations that can happen to the DL&W terminal as a result.
    This needs to happen.

  • USRT

    A state of the art Metrorail station in the DLW terminal would be huge. That second floor concourse screams Quincy Market type of development. Escalators to the second floor, and a skybridge right into the First Niagara Center makes public transit to arena event so much easier and seamless and that means more ridership on the line. 
    Peer sports venues in Boston, Brooklyn, Montreal, Toronto, New York (MSG) and Washington all have public subway stations connecting right into the arenas. They work well there. Why not here?
    Let’s get this done!

  • LouisTully

    What does $300,000 get you?  If it’s some analysis, renderings, and surveys of stakeholders – as the News article states – I feel like you can get a bunch of BR commenters together to do the same thing for the price of pizza and wings.

  • LouisTully
    Or a few pints!

  • JSmith11

    North Park costrander08 BuffaloAllStar Whether connected by car or by public transit, job sprawl is a bad thing. Bring the jobs back downtown, don’t feed the monster.

  • No_Illusions

    The metrorail is already a success if you look at ridership numbers.
    You really don’t need many long expensive lines through low density neighborhoods.
    Instead we should be focusing on short cost effective lines in the city that connects with park and rides near the major highway entrances.
    This would also be the catalyst we need to remove said highways and promote dense development within the city.
    The exception would be several corridors with high density or the potential to develop as such. A line to Crosspoints Business Park, another one down main street in Williamsville, the airport corridor, and one to North Tonawanda.

  • No_Illusions

    Ideally it would expand at least to South Park.
    So you have) the line serve a lot more businesses (maybe as many as 10k), Trocaire College, 75,000 residents of South Buffalo + parts of Lackawanna, then attractions such as the Botanic Gardens and The Basilica for tourists.

  • No_Illusions

    A lot of Crosspoint employees are young and do the reverse commute from the city, so actually a significant number.

  • runner68

    solonggone LouisTully North Park No_Illusions The NFTA owns the line from the DL&W to Riverbend, the one that cuts through the OFW. This line was actually supposed to be phase 2 of the original plan. Now that Riverbend is ramping up, I am pushing even harder for a line from the DL&W to South Buffalo. It may not have a lot of stations in between, but the end of it could theoretically reach into Lackawanna which has the possibility of grabbing a lot of Southtowns riders as well as Lackawanna and S. Buffalo. Not to mention Riverbend, which will be a huge employment hub. There is no harm in connecting that type of development with Downtown ad the rest of the area. 
    This line along with the line to UBN are the most important. Then, from that point we can talk about short, incremental lines from DL&W to the Central Terminal, Central Terminal to Galleria, and then Galleria to the airport. It doesn’t have to be all built in one straight shot. Incremental is best for our region at least. It’s what should’ve been happening from the start. But there is no better time to start then now I guess. 
    Then we can talk about a Belt Line expansion north from the CT to Elmwood/Buff State, where it would become a streetcar on Elmwood. Less likely, sure? But still completely possible.

  • BuffaLife

    tbk125 Completely agree!  The nice thing about Faneuil Hall is that there’s a lot of entertainment and performances as well.  In Buffalo, Canalside is becoming that destination, so the DL&W is a great extension of that.

  • BuffaLife

    How much money has the NFTA spent on studies?  Aren’t they studying this thing every year?  If you want more users, make it go more places.  End of study.

  • runner68

    Alignment 4 seems the best. 2 is okay but it doesn’t do a great job of connecting the line with the redevelopment of the terminal, as well as not allowing easy extension of the line to Riverbend and S. Buffalo. I had a long explanation of my choices all typed up, but it got deleted by accident.
    In short, we need to encourage short extensions and improvements to the existing line. Alignment 4 does the best job of that. It gets my vote. With alignment 4, we could have a more Station Square type thing like Pittsburgh, which should be the model for the DL&W. Alignment 4 is the most flexible, and thats the one that should be considered.
    Lastly, I want to say that Im happy that they decided to discard the street running option on South Park. While it’s okay that we have a street running section in Downtown, we need to remember that our system is a rapid transit system. We need to maintain that. Street running slows the system down, which is what we don’t want. It’s okay to be going a bit slower when you’re on the train downtown, because thats most likely your destination. Outside of downtown, we need the train to go fast so that riders are encouraged to take the train, as well as for a lot of other reasons such as time and reliability. 
    Alignment 4, with eventual extension into South Buffalo.

  • flexme

    No_Illusions South Buffalo has about 25-30K residents not 75K. Solar City only anticipates having 1,500 employees There are not another 7,500 employees in that area.

  • flexme

    JSmith11 North Park costrander08 BuffaloAllStar The jobs at Cross Point would never be located in downtown Buffalo or any other downtown in the country. Those employeres search for suburban campus like settings and no wishful thinking on your part is going to change their business model.

  • flexme

    North Park flexme South Buffalo and Lackawanna are simply too depressed economically and far too de populated  to support investing in a rail spur.
    The Feds would never fund rail to a portion of the region with a large population decline. It is only the population  AND traffic growth along the proposed Amherst corridor that prompted the NFTA to study it for a rail solution in the first place. 
    There is no areea in the US where a transit corridor with a quickly declining population base was funded for a rail project by the federal government.

  • North Park

    flexme North Park Is South Buffalo really depopulated? It’s still far denser than Amherst.

  • flexme

    North Park flexme Yes it is really depopulated and littered with empty homes and empty store fronts. Are you really tring to say that S Buffalo is more economically viable than Amherst? Fact: there are more jobs in Amherst than in downtown Buffalo, Fact: Amherst has the most retail sales of any community in upstate NY. Fact: the largest University in NY STate is in Amherst. Fact the town of Amherst is the fourth most populated communit in Upstate NY. 
    But you thinkg a rail spur to depressed South Buffalo is a better option? All I can say to that is LMFAO

  • Whatever happened to that plan to build a parking garage for the medical campus employees?
    It seems if you could extend metro rail down southpark further to a parking garage which is inland and not on a cobble stone street it would make much more sense.   You need an intermodal hub for people to come and go with whatever transportation mode they want. 
    Version 2 seems like it would work better as a temporary solution to then extend further if there ends up being a downtown football stadium.  I would imagine a football stadium would need several platforms for metro rail to operate on sort of like a grand central terminal.  Where you could fill many cars and stagger their arrival and departure pre and post gametime.

  • North Park

    flexme North Park Sure there is retail vacancy on South Park.

    If you read my posts throughout this thread you will see that I’m supportive of a rail line to UB. But, way to build a straw man that you tore down so thoroughly.

    My point stands, South Buffalo is far denser than Amherst, and is likely to have high ridership numbers for any rail extension, especially with the 1500+ employees that will be working in Reverbend in a couple years.

  • flexme

    North Park flexme No offense but chances for Federal funding for rail through South Buffalo in our lifetimes are moot. It just does not meet any of their criteria and with a rapidly declining population is not likely to ever meet their criteria.

  • greenca

    flexme No_Illusions
    And many of the future 1,500 Solar City employees may or may not live in close proximity to the existing of future extension of the rail line.

  • greenca

    costrander08 North Park
    So much of the east side is depopulated.  There’s not the density to support a rail line to the airport.

  • flexme

    greenca flexme No_Illusions That’s true. No one builds rail for any destination that only has 1,500 people going to it daily. It was had enough to get funding to downtown Buffalo which at the time had over 50,000 downtown employees and dozens of stores including 5 department stores. Even at that the funding received in the 1970’s was less than what was applied for by enough that the original plan was cut back to what we now have.

  • flexme

    greenca No_Illusions 
    Today’s paper has a link to the 1975 funding quest – 40 years ago today !
    http://history.buffalonews.com/2015/04/24/april-24-1975-three-congressmen-helicopter/

  • reggdunn

    EAHS 1972 North Park Absolutely, positively 100% true. In almost ALL cities real-estate values soar wherever light rail is easily accessible, and neighborhoods grow around those lines. Larkin would be a great next stop. And Portland circa 2005 is a great blueprint for Buffalo’s future growth. Buffalo has even more potential.

  • BuffaloAllStar I don’t know for sure, but I would venture the lines already exist. I spent some time on Long Beach in Long Island, and IMO the whole region’s connection to the NYC is fundamentally rail. With an improved rail service, All of the towns along the Lake and  Erie PA could be tied in to a practical metropolitan region, as well as the Tonawandas and Niagara Falls. Combined with the Belt line, Buffalo could be the next Boston of the 80s?

  • greenca

    BuffaloBoi
    Because of the lack of money and a stagnant population.  It’s very simple to understand in a non Sim CIty world.

  • apet20

    At minimum it needs to extend to the Larkin district…

  • micahh64

    http://rising.wpengine.com/2015/04/nfta-seems-serious-about-extending-light-rail-into-cobblestone/
    Good.

    Now, get serious about extending it to the airport via the CT/Galleria . . .

    .

  • BuckLaFarge

    I don’t understand why everyone is worrying about the metro line and where it extends when by October 21, 2015 we are going to have flying cars.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    I agree…I’m in sight of LaSalle station and I couldn’t tell you what the train looks like.  Mainly because my wife and I are against paying for parking and parking in the C.O.B. is the easiest thing in the world if you’re willing to use your feet.  Couldn’t tell you what the inside of a train looks like, by the time I walk there and my train comes I’m at my destination in my midsize SUV.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Came across a map of the original plans at one point..very extensive.  Shame it didn’t happen. 
    i think buffalo’s a great size now…1.5 hours outside of downtown boston..you’re still in boston. 
    In Buffalo?  I don’t know how well Rochester would take to being annexed. LOL

  • BuffaloAllStar

    What jobs are Buffalo inner city poor getting at cross point? 
    Lets be honest with ourselves here…any job that a lower income city resident could qualify for its already taken by a struggling college graduate English major that probably drives. 
    I do not think extending a train to the 5th ring of suburbs would do anything to discourage sprawl–it would only enhance it.  You’d see Crosspoint 2 in a minute with their advertising mass transit access with just as many parking spots in Crosspoint one.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    I agree…we shouldn’t be encouraging ADDITIONAL development that far into the woods.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    How many?

  • LouisTully

    BuffaloAllStar I agree.  It’s wasn’t ever very difficult to get a free parking spot not far from the arena so I never bothered when going there or to Harborcenter.

  • PanAm Expoh no

    I suggest that the 40 of us stop repeating the same useless argument of rail extensions all over the region because we view this as a live action Sim City game. Instead we all need to take a look back at the actual article (and maybe not repost the article link in the article itself….looking at you micahh64)
    Instead you should all be wondering why and more importantly how $300,000 was spent on an embarrassingly uninformative report. These 16 pages of in depth stakeholder analysis (somehow resembling a last second ditch effort power point of a baked, unambitious, community college, communications dropout) provide us with 4 nearly identical proposals. At $75,000 per proposed idea we should receive more than a suggestion to utilize 3 extra blocks of essentially already existing track and infrastructure, to a non-existent stadium.
    Wake up and smell the Cheerios, you can get the same resulting concepts (and probably improved Photoshop renderings) from anybody that spends their days yelling on one of the many corners of Main Street, or at the very least a college intern for free.

  • North Park

    LouisTully BuffaloAllStar 
    1. You’re both old.
    2. You can both afford cars.
    3. You both want to pay for cars.
    4. Not everyone is just like you.

  • North Park

    BuffaloAllStar Geico is absolutely chock full of COB, Cheektowaga, and Tonawanda residents.

  • North Park

    reggdunn EAHS 1972 North Park Yes, but both of those cities are growing, so the rail lines capture the growth. The Buffalo metro isn’t growing, there isn’t any growth to capture, or it would have happened all along the route we do have.
    Now, I’m not saying that growth will never return to Buffalo, but I don’t think speculative rail lines are the right concept. Connect areas that are already dense with a rail and you will have ridership from day one.

  • LouisTully

    North Park LouisTully BuffaloAllStar I don’t know what that means.  I’m 31.

  • North Park

    LouisTully North Park BuffaloAllStar You’re cranky like a 60 year old. I’m 33. Funny.

  • LouisTully 
    That’s old!

  • greenca

    iloveagoodnap micahh64
    Exactly.  How many people a day that fly into the airport go only downtown and back again?  They rent cars, get picked up, or take cabs.

  • No_Illusions

    You’re forgetting about Mercy Hospital, Trocaire College, General Mills, and a hand full of other manufacturing plants.
    You are also forgetting about populations in the first ward and Lackawanna this would serve. Definitely over 50,000.

  • micahh64

    iloveagoodnap micahh64 
    “Buffalo is too small and so is its airport to justify it.” 
    Per the FAA & Bureau of Transportation Statistics, BUF handled more than 4.7 million passengers in 2014 — more than double that of ROC (2.3 million), and way beyond IAG (215,000), which is an international airport in name only (it’s more of a small AF base.)
    Not bad for a “too small” airport . . . and don’t forget, about one of every three of those 4.7 million was Canadian, many of whom may be in town for shopping, tourism, a Sabres game, or business — I’d think they’d welcome a means of transportation to DT Buffalo that would spare them the additional expense of a rental car or cab.
    Plus, in between downtown and the airport happens to be the largest shopping mall in the area, with 18 million visitors annually; a transit stop there would be sure to be used by local and out-of-town shoppers, as well as employees.
    Doesn’t sound like a waste to me . . .
    .

  • greenca

    iloveagoodnap
    The MTA doesn’t even run to LaGuardia.  There is a vast amount of travellers that go through that airport that can’t access the NY subway system to Manhattan and other points.  I never understood that.  JFK is only slightly more convenient with the AirTrain connecting to the subway.  This puts the need for a rail link between the Buffalo airport and downtown in perspective.

  • reggdunn

    North Park reggdunn EAHS 1972 True to an extent. There’s a strong case to be made that PDX’s growth was additionally spurred on by infrastructure improvements. Companies look for, at least in part, locations with great infrastructure. When the original rail line was built in Buffalo, people had already fled or were fleeing the city as I understand it. Yet, it has turned out to be a pretty decent idea. If new jobs are coming to the city and new events (like a stadium), people will park and ride. Personally, I think a line to the airport with some stops in-between would pay dividends in the long run. Hopefully this short extension would just be the beginning of greater expansion.

  • reggdunn

    greenca iloveagoodnap Sometimes it’s a matter of having access to connect the two systems. They are just now connecting LAX to the labyrinth of light rail around LA. Hopefully that’ll take a few cars off of the road.

  • caseyinBuffalo

    2010 census puts South Buffalo at about 40K residents. So not as low as you said but not as high as 75K either.

  • Whirlpool138

    greenca BuffaloBoi
    Isn’t the population growing, especially with younger people? Public transportation is one of the number one things attracting Millennial’s to cities. You might not like it now, but this is really an investment to attract future generations into Buffalo.

  • Whirlpool138

    LouisTully BuffaloAllStar
    Do you not realize that a huge portion of Western New York cannot afford a car and hasn’t even been to Buffalo for that reason? Not everyone lives right in Allentown. That’s about as far out of touch as can be from people living in poverty out in Niagara Falls, the East Side or any of the college students on UB’s north campus.

  • micahh64

    iloveagoodnap 
      “If you don’t believe Buffalp is tiny compared to the major hubs whom
    have light rail access, you need to get to some more airports.”
    I’ve flown in/out of the following airports, both as a civilian and while serving in the US Navy:  SAN, LAX, DFW, ATL, BUF, JFK, LGA, ORF, PHL, AMS, and SEA.  (All have light rail access except SAN, ORF, and BUF.)
    Are your out of town friends Canadian?  If so, I’d bet they don’t mind the small size of the airport nearly as much as they’d mind the bigger ticket prices and surcharges (and longer wait times) they’d have at a larger airport.

    And anyway, I think you missed my point:  it isn’t about extending light rail to the airport just to extend light rail to the airport; there are businesses along that route that would benefit (not the least of which is the Galleria.) BUF would be merely one endpoint, not the sole destination.

    As BuffaLife said below:

    “If you want more users, make it go more places.”

    And if you’re gonna make it go more places, doesn’t it make sense to make it go to places where the people are?

    .

  • Whirlpool138

    BuffaloAllStar
    Did he even say anything about Rochester? That kinda just makes you look like an asshole that didn’t really read his comment. He was referring more to Niagara Falls, the Tonawandas, Amherst, Williamsville and Cheektowaga.

  • OldFirstWard

    LouisTully
    Last year you said you were 38.

  • BuffaloGals

    greenca iloveagoodnap The subway to AirTrain to JFK is a NIGHTMARRRRRRRRE. Nothing to do with Buffalo, but true nonetheless.

  • LouisTully

    OldFirstWard LouisTully No.  I never would say that.  Because I’ve never been 38.

  • LouisTully

    Whirlpool138 LouisTully BuffaloAllStar What are you talking about?  Did you read what my comment was responding to?

  • greenca

    The city’s population is approaching a point where it is hopefully no longer losing people, stopping a dramatic 60+ year trend. The metro area (sprawl) is somewhat stable, certainly not growing by any appreciable measure. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain federal mass transit funds where so many other competing cities are growing (think Charlotte, Atlanta, Portend, Austin,etc.).

  • greenca

    The problem is that a light rail route between downtown and the airport would pass through a huge swath of the east side which has lost an enormous amount of population and densith needed to support light rail.

  • greenca

    That’s very true. That’s part of the point I was trying to make. If NYC hasn’t found the means and will to connect its airports with the city (Manhattan) by rail, especially given the huge amount of travelers who fly in and out for business in Manhattan, that makes the case for connecting our airport to downtown so much weaker.

  • greenca

    He’s cyber-stalking you.

  • Lastcall4am

    The infatuation with light rail is silly. The cost is too great for us to collectively support. Do you know what makes sense? Buses. They’re not sexy but incredibly effiecient and adaptable. They move people quickly, can drop them off anywhere and can be mobilized in minutes. If you want them to be environmentally friendly, push for buses that rely on natural gas.
    After living in a big city and relying on public transportation before, I realized that the reason people use it is because it is the most cost/time effective. Who wants to deal with tolls($14, traffic, parking($40) when you can buy a train ticket and subway pass for same cost as a sandwich and a soda??
    When I drive downtown, I don’t pay tolls, don’t sit in traffic and can find street parking. Taking the light rail seems a bit inconvenient all things considered

  • BuffaloAllStar

    greenca iloveagoodnap micahh64 Not many…not many at all.  Any business man going or staying downtown for a meeting is taking a cab or renting a card…period.
    Buffalo pays no attention to tourists ever so theres no need to worry about them!

  • North Park

    Matt Ricchiazzi When presenting things on maps, it usually pays to ensure that North is up. Otherwise people have a hard time visualizing what they are looking at. 

    Or, are you so drunk that you think North is up? Don’t get behind that wheel!

  • BuffaloAllStar

    micahh64 iloveagoodnap We’ll see how well the airport does in years to come. 
    Oil is not going up anytime soon…Canadian dollar is the lowest its been in a decade.  It’ll be interesting to see how travel in Buffalo is effected by layoffs in Alberta.

  • North Park

    iloveagoodnap It isn’t just about the airport, obviously. A metro rail to Transit, near the airport will also serve ECC North, which gets 50% of its students from the city.
    It also serves the Galleria, which has a huge amount of shoppers & employees that live in the city. Galleria also gets tons of shoppers from canadians staying at airport hotels.
    There are a bunch of destinations on that line, or near it.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Whirlpool138 greenca BuffaloBoi The population is growing because of large scale refugee immigration.  Many of which (sorry to put it this way) are bribed with NYS benefits to stay here. 
    There is no avalanche of Millennials moving into Buffalo/WNY.  You’ve got local college kids that haven’t moved..yet…but no Millennial tidal wave.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    greenca WNY is going to be in some serious trouble over the next decade.  Demographic speaking we’re old and not getting younger.
    The exodus is getting slower (a no growth economy is helping) but our high death rate is only going to get worse and our low in migration/birth rate does not appear to be getting better.
    I’m interested to see where WNY is in a decade.  There are many parts of Erie county that I’m having trouble envisioning a future for, some city, some suburban.

  • North Park

    BuffaloAllStar Whirlpool138 greenca BuffaloBoi That’s not exactly true. The percentage of young people with college degrees is rapidly growing in Buffalo, far beyond similarly situated cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo, etc.  Buffalo is still losing poor people of every race, but the educated professional class in the city of Buffalo is growing.
    Something lik 2% of the cities black residents are leaving every year…same general trend holds for poor white residents from areas like Riverside, Lovejoy, Schiller Park, and Kaisertown.
    The city is maintaining on the backs of refugees and professionals who are fueling the growth of downtown, the west side, EV, and North Buffalo.
    TLDR version: It’s complicated.

  • North Park

    BuffaloAllStar greenca I agree. There isn’t much a future, at least in the near term for the East Side, Cheektowaga, West Seneca, & Lackawanna.
    Interestingly, the census bureau will release their city population estimates in May and we can see where Buffalo is at. The county states were released in march, and the county is holding steady after decades of decline, which bodes well, especially taking into account our very high death rate. We are replacing the elderly with the young.
    Job counts are growing while the overall workforce size is shrinking…this means that we will need to import residents to fill our vacant positions. Anecdotally, I am seeing far more out of towners at local bars and restaurants than ever before. We are starting to attract young people here in quantity for the first time in a long time. I’m feeling bullish on our prospects.

  • North Park

    BuffaloAllStar micahh64 iloveagoodnap Hard to say on oil, all it takes is one disruption in the middle east and the whole dynamic can change.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    LouisTully North Park BuffaloAllStar 28 years OLD…

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Whirlpool138- Cool comment bro…
    I can read…you must be from Rochester.  Those people are pretty touchy.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    flexme North Park Any additional connection the City of Buffalo can make with Amherst would be ideal.  Amherst/City of Buffalo is the center of just about everything in Erie county.

  • iloveagoodnap micahh64 at last check there were 26 gates

  • BuffaloAllStar

    North Park BuffaloAllStar micahh64 iloveagoodnap Lots of issues in many oil producing countries right now.  Not a blip?
    Caught an article this week about energy independence by 2020..Saudi Arabia is burning thru cash reserves like nothing. 
    Canadian tar sands are the most expensive to refine…Canada is a petro-country.  VAriety of studies out there on debt to income ratios and over leveraged real estate market. 
    I”m an optimal pessimist so for the sake of WNY hospitality and travel scene..I hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

  • Michael DiPasquale

    I’m wondering who the “stakeholders” are and why this report isn’t based on greater citizen participation. Extending Metro to the Cobblestone District might be a great idea, but what about other possible extensions? And aren’t there other things NFTA could be doing (like fixing subway stations)….and shouldn’t they get a range of feedback that goes beyond a selected group of “stakeholders”.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Whirlpool138 LouisTully BuffaloAllStar If you’d like to aid the fight against poverty you’d be able to do it for a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of what’d it cost to extend rail with bus rapid transit instead. 
    Along with a revamp of the NFTA website (its terrible), the authorities realm of responsibility, customer service/route schedules and IMAGE.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    North Park BuffaloAllStar All of which would have to drive or bus to the nearest subway line to get out to Crosspoint. 
    Double the commute?
    Triple the commute?

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Lastcall4am I’d rather much pay each person who works in WNY $1,000 to carpool with someone else.
    Each year…forever..we’ve got to have one of the lowest car pooling rates in the country.

  • marthtater

    Okay guys… haven’t really posted here before, but I love reading the discussions that go on here. Just throwing this idea out there–is building streets any less expensive than rail? I know buses are far more cost effective, but many like the feel of there of a streetcar/light rail. 

    That being said, would it be feasible to make dedicated bus “tracks”? Just one-lane stretches of road for only buses to travel along. This would emulate the feel of a rail line at a (possibly) better cost point. The lane could be marketed as being “rail” or something similar that would connect with the rail-lovers (myself included for better or worse). The DWL terminal could be a transition point, as well, adding to the area’s feel and supporting the development of it as a small retail hub (furthering canalside towards cobblestone and the ohio st. corridor). 

    Has anything like this ever been looked into? If the lanes are done, the space for rail to be added in down the road will be all set up, should demand/budget ever allow for it. What are you guys’ thoughts on that?

  • greenca

    Very true. Also, besides the cost to build the system, an extended system will cost so much more to maintain. Public transit systems usually rely on 60-70% of the operating costs as subsidy. The NFTA can’t even maintain the present system (broken elevators with no available funds to repair them). How can people even suggest they take on more?

  • runner68

    marthtater Google “BRT” or Bus Rapid Transit. You’ll get all the answers to your questions. I’m not going to argue for or against; I know quite a bit about BRT (bus) and LRT (rail). But right now, it would be counter productive and unfair of me to converse about the pros and cons of both when you are new to the idea. I hope you find what you’re looking for!

  • 300miles

    marthtater   The NFTA is considering bus rapid transit as an alternative to rail between UB South and UB North campuses.
    IMHO, while it would probably be much cheaper, it seems like there would be issues with having to transfer from bus to train back to bus again if they expanded the train system with bus routes.    The convenience factor would be reduced, and the less convenient it is, or the more complicated it is to use, the less people will use it.

  • 300miles

    BuffaloAllStar greenca 
    “Since 2006, the number of people between the ages of 20 and 34 – often called Millennials – in the Buffalo Niagara region has jumped by a little more than 10 percent, according to Census Bureau statistics. And it comes at a time when the region’s total population shrank by almost 1 percent. The uptick in the number of young people in the Buffalo Niagara region during that six-year period from 2006 to 2012 – the most recent data available – has been among the strongest among all of the counties in New York and easily exceeds national growth in that age group.”
    http://www.buffalonews.com/business/after-years-of-brain-drain-young-people-are-moving-back-to-buffalo-20140407
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/upshot/where-young-college-graduates-are-choosing-to-live.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1
    ” as young people continue to spurn the suburbs for urban living, more of them are moving to the very heart of cities — even in economically troubled places like Buffalo and Cleveland. The number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.”

  • Michael DiPasquale

    You could replace the entire system with electric buses.

  • grassy roofs

    Improving access to the airport by itself will only make the task of travelers and workers easier.
    On a side note, the east side uses transit, and virtually all of the development areas could be better served by expanded use of the rail lines.
    In Pittsburgh they used busses at first, but connected the city across town in a way normal bus routes can not.
    The airport line is a much bigger priority than effectively supporting palidinos dream for South Park, and saving sabres and bills fans an extra few blocks of walking. It also serves the train station used by all Amtrak trains, in depew and makes dreams of the terminals reuse possible.

  • grassy roofs

    There is a bus that goes from leguardia through manhattan. It’s filled with workers.

  • grassy roofs

    As you pointed out, there is a population on the east side. There are actually people who ride the bus there throughout the year. There are also people who are choosing to live in the city and at least a few significant population centers. More importantly, a train doesn’t need to stop every few blocks.
    The density argument should be part of the stops.
    Forget the open fields for a second, and think about the cores that already exist. Nobody questions a place like Larkin, but the reality is it could be better connected if it really wants to attract people to live there. Broadway Fillmore is denser than it looks, and has several new projects underway.
    Taking a train this far would at least give the canalside more space by moving the train garage away from the congested arena area.
    There’s another factor here- cheektawaga. There are enough jobs and shopping centers at Harlem to let our imagination cross the city line.
    Buffalos leaders are inching along, but will pay a prime dollar to do so in an area that needs more park and ride options, not another terminus rail lines to make the American way even more lazy.
    ill shoot for a field of dreams for now. After all all these overly fabricated supposed hipster Meccas on the edges of downtown are expensive to get going and are not set up to serve the neighborhood, but reinvent the neighborhood. Rail can do this, and the airport line is open for development.

  • paul537

    I wonder why the guided buses or tyred trams that are used in Europe aren’t being considered.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guided_bus#Rubber-tyred_.22trams.22_.28trolleybuses.29

  • eSlu

    Isn’t that called the 11 bus line?

  • paulbuffalo

    BuffaloGals, what’s the nightmare? The E train from Manhattan takes you to the Airtrain. It’s cheaper and faster than a cab.

  • saltecks

    A 300k  study  to decide if they should allow passengers  to sit on the train for the remaining 800 feet of existing track.. Go for it.

  • No_Illusions

    Michael DiPasquale 
    Yeah, but Metrorail ridership equals NFTA bus ridership.
    That speaks wonders of how Rail is seen vs buses considering we are talking about 7 miles of rails vs 100s of miles of bus lines.
    People are just plain intimidated by the bus system and it barely seems to be getting any better. Its a shame because those new trolley buses are actually very nice.

  • No_Illusions

    Lastcall4am 
    At the same time, even though Buffalo’s rush hour is not bad by any means, it is something NOBODY enjoys driving in.
    An extensive system into the suburbs doesn’t really make sense. However, an extensive system in the city would be cost effective and allow the city to develop in density. Extend the Metrorail to the 4 major highway entrances to the city, build park and rides, and then tear the highways down.

  • No_Illusions

    North Park Matt Ricchiazzi 
    Honestly I thought I was looking at Toronto.
    To be fair, landscape is much better than portrait and Buffalo is oriented North to South which makes this difficult.

  • No_Illusions

    micahh64 
    Lets take some baby steps here. Lets first expand to Larkin, to South Buffalo and to Buffalo State.
    These are all short extensions we can build each for well under $100million. After these extensions have proven to be successful, it will be enough to justify larger expansions.

  • No_Illusions

    BuffaloAllStar 
    Plenty of low skilled jobs. The Boulevard Mall area has a TON of retail and hospitality jobs.
    All these places need services such as cleaning and landscaping.

  • No_Illusions

    caseyinBuffalo 
    There is another 20,000 in Lackawanna.

  • Rand503

    No_Illusions micahh64 The Silver Lines was just completed in suburban Washington.  It cost $2.9 Billion for 11.7 miles.  That is about $250 million per mile.  Annual operational and maintenance costs should be figured in as well.
    It would cost substantaly more than you are thinking.

  • Rand503

    To all the pipe dreamers who want metro extended all over the city:  
    Metro line extension currently cost about $250 million per mile.  Therefore, just four miles would cost at least $1 billion.  Where is this money supposed to come from?
    Here is a reality check:  So long as republicans control congress, there is NFW they are going to allocate transportation funds to a solidly blue state, to a region that has no pressing transportation issues and has been stagnant for decades, and is going to be used mainly for unproven “economic development.”

  • runner68

    Rand503 The average price for at grade light rail is no where near $250 million per mile. Cut and cover and even elevated don’t even come that close. The only way of light rail construction that would come close to that is deep bore tunnel. From Wiki:
    The cost of light rail construction varies widely, largely depending on the amount of tunneling and elevated structures required. A survey of North American light rail projectshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail#cite_note-LRNOW-27shows that costs of most LRT systems range from $15 million to over $100 million per mile. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_Light_Rail is by far the most expensive in the US, at$179 million per mile, since it includes extensive tunneling in poor soil conditions, elevated sections, and stations as deep as 180 feet (55 m) below ground level.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail#cite_note-28 This results in costs more typical of subways or rapid transit systems than light rail. At the other end of the scale, four systems (Baltimore, Maryland; Camden, New Jersey; Sacramento, California; and Salt Lake City, Utah) incurred construction costs of less than $20 million per mile. Over the US as a whole, excluding Seattle, new light rail construction costs average about $35 million per mile.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail#cite_note-LRNOW-27
    An at grade extension of the Buffalo Metro Rail to the Airport on existing rail ROWs would at most lost $30 million per mile, tops. Your take on congress is probably mostly accurate however you cannot compare the costs of two systems. The Silver Line you mentioned earlier and the price of it has no relation of any potential cost of an expansion for Buffalo. The reason why the Silver Line costs so much is because the majority of it is elevated and because it also has an underground section in Tyson’s Corner. A line to our airport would not be elevated or be underground. The entire line would be at grade on existing ROWs. Therefore the cost is much less. Not to mention that the cost for heavy rail systems (Washington’s Metro) is much higher than light rail systems (Buffalos Metro)
    I appreciate your passion for what you believe in, however your information is not relevant or correct as to what would be happening with Buffalos Airport extension.

  • runner68

    Rand503 Silver Line Map showing elevated and tunneled sections:

  • Rand503 http://beyonddc.com/?p=1733
    “Streetcars are economic development magnets.
    The presence of rail transit nearby is one of the best incentives for economic development in the world. Metro stations radically remade large swaths of the DC area, and streetcars can do the same (have done the same, in places like Portland and Toronto). Developers rarely base decisions around bus lines, but routinely follow rail investments with real estate ones. In fact, the additional taxes generated by rail-oriented development is often used to repay the initial capital investment of rail lines.”
    Please keep in mind regarding the development on the larger context, especially when discussing the political motivation to fund. The Nation’s infrastructure as a whole is in pretty bad shape, and the current low-wage economy is a very serious problem along a number of important Social criteria. Infrastructure projects, (as long as one isn’t outsourcing everything) create higher wage jobs, add improved and modernized infrastructure, and at the end of the day there is no less money in the country.
    A good, fast rail line from the airport to the city would in fact make travel in the region considerably more palatable to out of towners from important cities like NYC and the whole Northeast who are used to rail conveniences. Doing business in Buffalo would be that much easier when one can seamlessly go from say Boston or greater NYC to Downtown Buffalo and never have to deal with bus or taxi. Business commuters in those cities are used to rail convenience where they can work on the train and plane and the commute is not wasted time.
    Then there is the boost to the image of the city conveyed by modern rail service. Second tier cities don’t have them, first tier cities do.

  • USRT

    runner68 Rand503 My thoughts exactly. Heavy rail far more costly than light rail. Remember too that a large portion of the Cheektowaga right of way is already owned by the NFTA so you can already exclude land acquisition costs from the equation. Same goes for the Tonawandas extension. With community support and political will this build out could and should happen.

  • NtareAliGault

    iloveagoodnap You do realize that the Buffalo/Niagara International Airport serves Southern Ontario and Northwestern Pennsylvania as well as Western New York? I know because I have just taken flights to LAX and to Phoenix in the last month. Also, if transportation was made more convenient, people may utilize those services. 
    If I lived directly on the line I would use it because it can get expensive parking and then taking a flight. Especially if I’m gone for more than a week.

  • JSmith11

    MrGreenJeans And then how much would it cost to demolish the platforms at the eight subway stations to accommodate low floor cars?

  • BuffaloGals

    paulbuffalo MAYBE during rush hour its faster than a cab, though even then I’d probably argue against it. That’s also if you happen to be right near an E stop while you’re in Manhattan – if not, add travel and transfer time. Then, the Airtrain, even though it accepts Metrocards, doesn’t accept monthly Metrocard passes, and costs $5 if I’m not mistaken. All of this is plausible if you have a small backpack and no checked bags, but good luck on the subway if you have a suitcase to check, especially if you’re riding at rush hour.

  • BuffaloGals

    greenca iloveagoodnap micahh64 Any company that is flying someone out of town for a meeting is paying for their cab fares. Out of towners don’t take public transit to airports even in New York or Chicago. This could only be justified by heavy use by locals, which I don’t believe we could support.

  • Rand503

    Agreed. The funny thing about mass transit projects, the costs always go up, and there are always unexpected costs. I seriously doubt we could build anything to the airport even at $200 million.
    For the few people who would use this line, i have a better solution. Buy a whole fleet of caddys and provide free transportation to and from the airport for anyone in erie county. That would be far, far cheaper and solve the problem of getting people to and from. It is also far cheaper to maintain a fleet of cars than an entire lrrt system.
    Sure, its not as cool, but it sure would be unique! But this isnt about cost, of course, it is just another form of penis envy. All the other big cities have transport to the airpot, so if we want to be a big city, we need one too!
    Sorry, but noted above, economic growth does NoT arise from copying successful cities. It comes from creating great companies that grow. Nothing else works.
    I would rather see those millions going into comoant building building than creating wasteful silver bullet projects.

  • JSmith11 MrGreenJeans And extending escalators, elevators, and walls to reach the lowered floors.  And disruptions while the stations are being rebuilt. 
    High cost, low benefit.
    FWIW, Buffalo’s light rail system isn’t a “trolley” or streetcar system.  It’s functionally a hybrid of heavy and light rail.  The only thing it has in common with a trolley is some street running and power from an overhead wire. 

    The light rail system in Dallas has both high and low level boarding, like in Buffalo.  Trains have three doors on each side; two for high level platforms (like Buffalo’s light rail vehicles), and center doors for street level boarding, with stairs much like a bus,
    http://www.dart.org/factsheet/SLRV/

  • > You don’t accomplish this from the outside in with a light rail
    extension to the airport, and think, “Oh, well- we have a light rail
    now, so people will want to live here”.
    Another thing: transit systems, whether bus or rail, do best when they connect large groups of people to the places they want to reach.  Basically, a balance of origins and destinations. 
    A lot of armchair planners are attached to the idea of linking destinations together — “Let’s connect downtown to Central Terminal, the Galleria, and the airport!”  Seems good in theory — lots of destinations, but where’s the originating traffic?  There’s not many populated neighborhoods or busy intersecting bus lines along the old West Shore ROW — hard-hit urban prairie on the East Side, and the edges of a few neighborhoods in Cheektowaga.  Most passengers at BUF are arriving and departing from around the region — WNY and Southern Ontario — not downtown.

  • Matt Ricchiazzi  Another Belt Line proposal.  A favorite.  It won’t work because …

    * It doesn’t connect originating traffic to destinations any faster than buses or Metro Rail’s Main Street line. It’s the reason passenger service stopped to begin with 100 years ago – IRC streetcars were more direct, and had better service frequencies.. 

    * The line is busy with freight traffic.  You can’t run light rail trains on the same track at conventional rail.  DRCs that can run on mainline rail accelerate slowly, and generally attract fewer passengers than electrified trains (Austin MetroRail, anyone?).  With busy freight traffic and delays, regular service frequencies are impossible.
    * It would cannibalize traffic from the Main Street line, which was designed in part to take in passengers from crosstown and then-redundant “turn down Main” bus lines.
    If I live in North Buffalo, I’ll get to a destination downtown a lot faster taking Metro Rail, or a bus down Elmwood, Delaware, or Colvin, than taking a slow train that loops around the East Side to the Amshack and walking from there.  If I live on the East Side, I’ll get to a destination faster by taking a bus down one of the radials, or a crosstown bus and transfering to Metro Rail, than taking a slow train down to the Amshack and walking from there.  If I live in North Buffalo, I’m probably not going to a destination on the East Side, and vice versa.

  • > Why Buffalo decided each needed to be some grand, indoor entrance is beyond me. 
    Elevators + escalators + snow + salt isn’t the best combination.  Also, placing the mezzanine level in a “wasteful station” above ground was intended to save money.  In some other systems, the mezzanine level (where turnstiles and farecard machines are located) are underground – where construction costs are much higher than on the surface.

    The Humboldt-Hospital station has a subsurface mezzanine, FWIW.

  • Dan Blather Matt Ricchiazzi
    *The economic benefit of transit isn’t from time saved. It’s from the spatial form of development that is enabled to exist because of it, associated real estate investment, and the economics of density and proximity. (i.e., billions spent on highways to the suburbs made real estate plausible for development that otherwise wouldn’t have been). 
    *There is enough space adjacent to existing freight lines to lay right rail. 
    *Mass transit doesn’t cannibalize itself. The more extensive the system, the larger swath of the population will choose mass transit over automobile dependence.

  • The transit systems in NY, Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago were all built before ADA.  Really, in an era accommodating “the crippled” just wasn’t thought about, period.  Few stations on those systems have elevators.  The older systems are now facing very costly retrofits to make some stations accessible. Even then,  they’ll still have to deal with wide and/or offset platform gaps.
    Tunnel portions of those systems tend to be fairly close to the surface – mostly cut and cover.  A flight of stairs was all that was needed to get to a platform that’s 30 or 40 feet below grade.  Escalators are uncommon in the “legacy” subways. 
    Much of Buffalo’s subway was deep bored in bedrock — close to 100′ under Main Street in some areas.  (The tunnel needed to be below the Scajaquada Expressway and Belt Line cuts, the Scajaquada Creek tunnel, and some natural springs.)  Metro Rail was built before ADA, but it’s been standard practice since the 1960s to make rail transit systems accessible. That meant elevators at every station, and escalators in the deeper bored tunnel stations.

  • > *The economic benefit of transit isn’t from time saved. It’s from the
    spatial form of development that is enabled to exist because of it,
    associated real estate investment, and the economics of density and
    proximity. (i.e., billions spent on highways to the suburbs made real
    estate plausible for development that otherwise wouldn’t have been). 
    In a growing city, that might be true  Buffalo’s not a growing city.

    In a shrinking (at the time) city like Buffalo, Metro Rail didn’t affect any change.  The demand wasn’t there.  Areas east of Main Street near Metro Rail stations continued to hollow out.  Same thing around Red Line stations in Cleveland.  Same thing around stations on the Newark subway.  Same thing around El stations on the south side of Chicago.
    As for “highways to the suburbs” spawning growth, if that was 100% true, with no other variables, Buffalo’s most developed and densest suburbs would be Hamburg, Orchard Park, Boston. Elma, and East Aurora, and the East Side would be booming thanks to the 33.  Amherst and Clarence are far less connected to downtown Buffalo, expressway-wise, than the sparser Southtowns.  The reasons behind suburban growth are many and nuanced — “expressways” and “white flight” is an oversimplification.
    TL/DR: Rail transit often attracted development, except when it didn’t.  Expressways often attracted development, except when it didn’t.

  • NYC5475

    Rand503 If you look at the site. The tracks are already in place if the “through Terminal” option is used. Really this would just renovating the trainshed of the terminal to include a platform and a connection of the First Niagara Center. Hardly an extension. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Buffalo,+NY+14204/@42.8730047,-78.873239,280m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x89d312255a6ae37d:0x4dcea464768ad3b3!6m1!1e1?hl=en

  • NYC5475

    micahh64 iloveagoodnap When it comes to Canadian visitors our real need is GO trains extended from Niagara Falls to Buffalo. I’m going to say something that is probably going to piss a lot of people on website off, but it needs to be said. Buffalo’s ultimate fate is that it is going to be swallowed by the growth of the GTA and become a satellite city of Toronto and be a low-cost alternative to living in TO in the way that Hamilton is becoming now. Buffalo is the next Hamilton. That means in the long run Buffalo is going to become a bedroom community of Toronto for those who like our architecture, cultural scene,who  want to live in a city but will be overwhelmed by Toronto and Hamilton, or who don’t want to pay Ontario taxes. That means we need to start planning our transportation around two points: 1) What is the best way to carry people between Buffalo and Toronto and 2) What’s the best way to get people to the point where they will board the conveyance to and from Toronto. This means we will need a hub like Central Terminal for the GO trains running between here and Toronto and a way to ferry people from WNY to BCT or wherever the GO terminal ends up. When people say Buffalo is too small for rail transit this bugs me. Buffalo itself may be too small, but they’re not looking at the big picture. Buffalo is the small picture, the Golden Horseshoe from the Southtowns of Buffalo to Oshawa is the big picture!

  • NYC5475

    North Park BuffaloAllStar I thought most of them were Lockport residents.

  • NYC5475 micahh64 iloveagoodnap and also regionally to include Niagara, Erie, and Chautauqua Counties. Look at a map of Long Island Railroad-a commuter rail service-and it’s roughly the same size of those three counties where the townships are along Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario. Rail lines are already in place too.  http://web.mta.info/lirr/Timetable/images/lirr.gif
    https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/cancer/registry/images/nycounty_610x442.png

  • neroden

    Dan Blather I am really tired of the idiotic “buy a fleet of autos” suggestions.
    (1) Despite lower population, you still have traffic.  The autos will still get stuck in traffic going from the airport to downtown.

    (2) Who’s gonna drive the cars?

    Secondary point: iIf Buffalo Airport is primarily serving people from Southern Ontario, you should shut it down.  It’s a money pit which NY taxpayers are paying for… you shouldn’t do that to subsidize Ontario passengers!

  • neroden

    paul537 
    cuz they’re more expensive to build and operate than surface rail.

  • neroden

    Lastcall4am Buses are unpopular, they wear out quickly, they require lots and lots of drivers (one per bus!) and as a result they’re actually very inefficient if you have any significant number of people.

    The Buffalo Metro Rail suffers from too much underground construction, which made it a lot more expensive than it should have been.  Apart from that, it was a good idea — it carries as many people as the *entire* NFTA bus system.

  • neroden

    Dan Blather You aren’t comparing apples to apples.  The South Side of Chicago was pretty hard hit, sure, *but the areas which have the El did a lot better than the areas which didn’t*.  The same was true with the Newark City Subway. I haven’t looked at Cleveland to see whether the same is true there.

  • neroden

    PanAm Expoh no micahh64 I think there’s some sort of law which requires NFTA to issue a report before doing anything.  😛  The paperwork burden should be lowered.

  • neroden

    BuffaloGals greenca iloveagoodnap micahh64 This is factually wrong.  Out of towners do take public transit from airports in New York and Chicago (also Philly).  Not the rich businessmen (who probably take cabs or limos everywhere), and not the families with excess luggage (who take cabs or rent cars)… but the other (single, couple, convention-goer) tourists and people visiting relatives do.
    This is much less likely in Buffalo, however, because in Buffalo practically anyone you’re visiting will have a car (which is *not* necessarily true in NY or Chicago), and there just isn’t a tourist market in Buffalo to speak of.  🙁

  • neroden

    iloveagoodnap that’s 20% of buffalo area residents living in the city.  actually pretty high…

  • neroden

    micahh64 iloveagoodnap There has been a lot of effort made to get light rail access to SAN.  The light rail runs right past the airfield, but the terminal is on the wrong side!  Maybe someday…

  • neroden

    greenca There are economies of scale involved in operating a larger system.  Most importantly, the extension should absolutely not have any elevators or escalators, except possibly for an airport station.  All the stations should be at surface level.

  • neroden

    NYC5475 micahh64 iloveagoodnap You know I like the way you think… but the border control mania since 9/11/2011 makes it unlikely.  It makes it such a pain to cross the border daily that I think it’s suppressing the number of people who would otherwise commute Buffalo-Toronto.

  • neroden

    Rand503 No_Illusions micahh64 That line is mostly elevated, and through very expensive land.  Not even comparable in cost.  Much more expensive.  Buffalo extensions would be a lot cheaper as long as they stayed on the ground.

  • neroden

    allentwnguy BuffaLife Buses are expensive to maintain. That cost is about right.

  • neroden

    costrander08 North Park BuffaloAllStar If the North Campus line can be done cost-effectively, it would certainly be the most successful, if only because of students going between the North and South campuses.

  • neroden

    North Park reggdunn EAHS 1972 WEll, you don’t want to build totally speculative lines out into empty fields.  But I think the area between the airport and downtown isn’t really very speculative, what with the Galleria mall in the middle and, frankly, a lot of occupied housing.  Yes, Broadway-Fillmore is pretty sparse, but
    Schiller Park seems to be pretty crowded, as is the part of Cheektowaga south of the airport (I don’t know what that neighborhood is called).

  • youwonderwhy

    MrGreenJeans  You’re comparing apples to oranges, our grandparent’s lack of studies to mountains of studies today.   The Mass Transit Administration pays for part of the studies.  It requires not one but multiple studies before it will spend federal funds on construction.   In late 1990, one office of the NFTA bypassed  studies.  It bought trolley cars from Cleveland to run on the Tonawanda Turnout to North Tonawanda from LaSalle Station.   http://ribaulo.tripod.com/metro.html   NFTA was gonzo.   NFTA hadn’t even coordinated with the Town of Tonawanda.  The trolley cars would not fit beside the platform on the subway.  All but one sat unused until they were sold to a dreamer in Brooklyn.  Possibly if there had been studies, they would have caught the problem of the trolleys hitting the platforms.