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