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Design and Build – What would you do with a $100K budget?

Forever and a day, people have been talking about the parking issues on Elmwood Avenue. Finding a parking spot on Elmwood is getting harder and harder. The side streets? Well, they are hit and miss, and most people visiting the city want to park close to where they shop, eat and drink.

The malls on the outskirts of the city provide sprawling parking lots and parking ramps. The surface lots are the first to fill up, but when there are no more spaces in the lots, people opt for the ramps. That means that most Buffalonians have, from time to time, parked in a parking ramp.

Getting back to Elmwood, and its parking woes, there is a push to direct people to alternative parking places that are just off Elmwood. One particular spot is the John C. Gallagher Parking Ramp, which services Elmwood shoppers and those visiting/working at Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, it is widely known that shoppers visiting Elmwood Avenue do not use the parking ramp that often. It has been determined that most people don’t even know that the parking ramp exists, and those that do are not sure who it is for? Hospital workers, shoppers, residents?

The other issue that contributes to the lackluster use of the ramp is its obscurity. The entranceway is tough to find when driving down Elmwood Avenue. There is a bank on one side of the ramp, and a high-end jewelry shop on the other side. In the middle is a ramp entranceway (driveway) that fades into the background, which is unfortunate because it leads to virtually limitless parking. Shoppers who do park in the ramp can spend the day, shopping, eating and drinking in the village, without continually pumping coins into meters or worrying about getting a parking ticket.

If the biggest issue pertaining to the lack of drivers utilizing the parking ramp is its obscurity, then one would think that there would be ways to fix the problem. In order to identify possible solutions, a pot of money has been identified totaling $100K that can be used to create a dramatic entranceway to the ramp. That’s right, we’re looking for creative, artistic, futuristic, eye catching… something that would turn the entranceway into a ‘Wow factor!’ Or some other ingenious idea that would get the job done.

As you can readily see, the entranceway is dull, uninviting, and doesn’t do a good job indicating that it’s available to the public. So how do we fix it? Well, that’s up to you. What would you do with a $100K budget? The idea would have to be able to be backed up by an action that would see the completion of the project.

Are you thinking a medium of LED lighting, paint, sculpture, sound, water, or something else? Would the project be directed to the front, near Elmwood, or towards the back where the ramp is actually located? Would it be on the facade of the ramp? Or part of the driveway? Or a mix? What would it look like? How would it perform? How would it interact with drivers and passersby?

What would you do to make this obscure parking ramp come to life, so that everyone would recognize that there is abundant parking located in the Elmwood Village? Let’s make it fun. Let’s make it beautiful. Let’s make it come to life. Let’s create something on Elmwood Avenue that would be the talk of the town.

With Children’s Hospital moving to the Medical Campus, there couldn’t be a better time to run with this project. Not to mention that this section of Elmwood could really use some help, in the form of artistic life. If you have an awesome idea that you believe that you can bring to fruition for $100K, please send an Email to Please add “Parking Ramp Concept” in the subject box of the email.

Gallagher Ramp (see all Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps)

Gallagher Ramp Address: 499 Elmwood

Vehicle Clearance Height: 6’10″

Capacity: 600 Spaces

Daily Rates
$2.00 First Hour
$3.00 Two Hours
$4.00 Three Hours
$5.00 Daily Maximum

Night Rate
$2.00 5pm-6am

$ 57.00
$ 30.00 Evening Monthly (6:00pm-9:00am)

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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