Now that it looks as if everyone is throwing their hats into the ring when it comes to helping to determine where the future Amtrak station should be located, Mayor Brown has come up with his own game plan. The Mayor, appointed to Chair the process by Cuomo, has retained the services and the insight of Robert Shibley to facilitate the planning process moving forward. Shibley will now orchestrate the discussion, which is currently running rampant in various directions. This is unfolding as Governor Cuomo has helped to loosen $1 million in funding for six months of research that will pinpoint the best location for the new Amtrak station.
Mayor Brown stated, “I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for asking me to Chair the process to find the right location for a new modern train station in Buffalo and to Robert Shibley, Professor and Dean of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, because he is the right person to help facilitate discussions. He is known for his strong experience in successfully addressing architectural and planning challenges as well as bringing innovative thinking to his work that will help ensure that this process will be inclusive, successful and stay on track.”
For over 40 years, Shibley has been a dedicated teacher, scholar and practitioner of architecture and planning, in his role as dean of the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning (since 2011). Shibley is not only versed in the Green Code, he also led the development of UB 2020: The Comprehensive Physical Plan as a Senior Advisor to the President (2006-10). Shibley is the campus architect for UB, and is deeply involved with much of the planning that is currently taking place on all three campuses.
“This is an important decision for Buffalo and the region,” Shibley said. “We need to consider not only what location will best support Amtrak ridership, but how it will promote greater transportation connectivity overall, and how any given site will advance our other goals in the city-building process.” He added, “Given all that, I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions, but conduct the due diligence required to make the right decision.”
Per usual, the first business of order will be to issue and RFP* for the project. Once proposals are in, the public will have a chance to weigh in with the process of identifying where a modern train station should be located, and synergistic opportunities at hand. The Mayor and Shibley will release a draft schedule early next week.
Once this new train station is built, wherever that may be, Shibley should then figure out how to best downsize the Amherst campus, while strengthening the urban campuses (tied together by train and Metro Rail). There are additional opportunities to build up the university in Downtown Buffalo, including moving the law school to the former Michael J. Dillon US Courthouse (see here). By centralizing UB’s schools closer to the hub of our region, and creating a viable inter-model rail system, Buffalo would be back on track with a lot more of the mojo that it lost over the years.
*RFP – Request for Proposal