Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of business owners who were concerned about the placement of bus stops and shelters. If a bus shelter is placed directly in front of a business, or a storefront that is attempting to attract a business, there can be a real problem. Take this brand new bus shelter that was just placed in front of the former Rendezvous on Niagara Street. A short time after it was installed, I passed by and wondered about the odd placement, especially considering that there appeared to be a number of other spots where it could have been stationed without muss or fuss.
Instead of jumping ahead of myself, I called the owner of the Rendezvous building who said that he was deeply disturbed that the shelter had been placed directly in front of a business that he was trying to lease. He said that he was looking forward to the completion of the new infrastructure improvements on the street, until this happened. He also told me that he thinks that the new bus shelters look like someone pieced together a Lego playset – why doesn’t Buffalo have modern bus shelters that blend in with architectural assets instead of sticking out like sore thumbs? He said that he has traveled the world, and these are the worst of the worst, and now he’s stuck with one in front of his property.
I agreed with him that the choice of bus shelter was abysmal, but I was more concerned with its placement. I wonder how many times the City/NFTA has been asked to move a bus shelter/stop out of the way, to accommodate the needs of a business? Moving the shelter a couple of doors down, to an apartment building would actually be a convenience for those living in the building. Not to mention that the shelter, in this case, would be before the stoplight, instead of being after it.
It will be interesting to see, if and when a business opens up in the former Rendezvous, what sort of stance the new owner will take. I would venture to think that anyone in their right mind would not want such an obstacle to detract from a fledgling business. I bet that planners never even stopped to think that this might be a problem down the road, which is unfortunate. The building owner is already thinking of ways to get it moved, or to make it less obtrusive when a business does open up at that location.
At the least, one would have thought that the building owner would have been notified, and included in the decision making process.