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Workshop to plan Transit-Oriented Development

Another round of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) workshops is heading our way. This time, the workshops are being held at Hayes Hall, Room 403, at UB South Campus on Wednesday, June 28, from 6 to 8 pm. The focus is on the future of Buffalo’s Transit-Oriented Development. It’s an opportunity to get your voice heard, by contributing your thoughts and ideas about TOD. 

This round of workshops will be focused on which existing and future Metro Rail station areas are considered to have the best TOD potential, and community members will be able to share thoughts on how to successfully plan these station areas for development that fits the neighborhood while contributing to revitalization and economic growth.

The process is moving forward, with or without you. The more people that contribute to the conversation, the better off the end result will be.

Fast facts:

  • WHAT: Transit-Oriented Development Workshop to gather community input on future of the Metro Rail corridor
  • WHEN: 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, June 28
  • WHERE: Hayes Hall, Room 403, UB South Campus
  • WHO: GBNRTC and NFTA officials are involved in this planning process
  • Click here for more information

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • S.L.Hawks

    A rail system cannot be plopped-down upon an area which has no other public transit services; Buffalo’s bus system has been chopped-down to the bare minimum of pretending to serve its Minority users. You take the train from Downtown (and how did you get there?) to Amherst. Okay, fine. HOW do you get anywhere when you leave the train? You don’t, unless you have a car. For the past CENTURY, most of America has been built with the expectation that people will own & drive automobiles. The trolley systems collapsed, the interurbans collapsed, the mainline RR passenger services collapsed. The services are simply not there, today. Putting one single rail line into service will have exactly the same effect as Buffalo’s absurd little “subway” : nothing remotely positive. Go look around the subway stations on Main Street – no development, no progress, nothing .

    Americans are not going to give up their automotive freedom, ever – except in limited areas where excellent public transit and convenient delivery services are established, and THAT will entail heavy taxation which we are not likely to accept. Better bus service is needed far more than glitzy rail projects.

    • TakeItElsewhere

      No development? You been to the Medical Campus lately? Canalside?

    • No_Illusions

      Uh, Main Street has development all along the Metrorail Route.

      From Central Park Plaza, to the TriMain Center and from Canalside to all the buildings recently renovated or to be renovated soon, main Street is hot.

      • S.L.Hawks

        Main Street is almost dead

    • Bags

      I hate to say you’re right, but I believe you are largely right. We’ve developed in a way that would be hard to make transit work. I’d like to see it work, as I love the european rail systems, but it will be a real challenge.

    • Tim H

      You asked, “how do you get anywhere when you leave the train?”. Answer: You walk.

      It may be difficult to see today in Buffalo, but it’s there. Transit oriented development (TOD). That’s essentially development built up along transit lines to support the needs of people who rely on transit and not cars. It works. An Amherst train would have stops at Boulevard Mall, Boulevard Square (Target, Trader Joes, Best Buy, etc…) and Whole Foods. It will connect you to UB North and South, Canisius, The medical Campus and downtown. All would be walkable from the rail line. What would you need a car to get to?

      Charlotte, NC has a single rail line, and it’s been a huge success. In Buffalo, we built our rail line in the 80s, when just about every urban area in America was in decline. That’s changed now, and we’ve seen significant redevelopment along our existing rail line, and it’s still going. I’m a little bothered when people in Buffalo can only see what Buffalo has been, while missing what Buffalo is becoming.

      • S.L.Hawks

        The transit lines have to come first, my condescending friend. Buffalo & every other Jane-Jacobs-esque American city was built around the streetcar lines, not the other way around. Even then, when the IRC had almost 1000 trolleys plying the streets & carrying over 120million fares per year, Buffalo was considered hard to “get around” and people groused without mercy. .

        The “walkable” examples you list are grotesquely unrealistic. Nobody would have any reason to travel from any one of those places to any other one. How about from HOME to buy groceries? For home to school? From home to a friend’s home? For home to the dentist / doctor / barber / etc ? The let’s add: IN THE SNOW.

        I’ve lived in 2 “real” cities, in my view, and Buffalo is not one of those. The West Side, for instance, is almost entirely the leftover houses from a century-old Trolley Suburb – the ‘walkable’ shops and services are gone – the transit service is also gone. One is left with the prospect of walking a 2+ mile round trip on dangerous streets just to get to the nearest supermarket, or owning a car which usually must be parked on the street. It’s no mystery why there are so few over-60yr olds in my area : it’s just too brutal.

        In Brooklyn, which I consider a truly “urban” city, I could start a pot of coffee, realize the milk was gone, step out & around the corner, buy milk & be home before the pot was finished brewing. That would be an hour ordeal, here, probably even with the car, because someone would take my parking spot immediately.

        The LRRT is a failure, and will never get free Federal $$ again to be expanded upon its stupidly grandiose plan. If there is any hope of funding, it must be for new service within the the city limits. A line from downtown to Kenmore, along Elmwood, would make perfect sense (until they have to ban parking on Elmwood as they did in the 1930s because it’s so narrow… solution? tear out the trolley service!)

        ps: “I’m a little bothered when people in Buffalo can only see what Buffalo has been, while missing what Buffalo is becoming.” You offend.

        • Tim H

          Again, you focus on what Buffalo was, or is today. I’d ask that you consider taking a visionary perspective, and imagine what Buffalo could be.

          Change and evolution are part of life. Making decisions and forming opinions based on what you know today, without taking into consideration what the future might look like is a strategy that will always put you one step behind in everything you do. Accept change.

          • S.L.Hawks

            And again, you focus on fantasy. Put your snotty, arrogant “part of life” comments where they belong. Accept reality.

  • Cvepo

    Transit options won’t expand (other than perhaps an unlikely extension to the airport) until parking spots decrease, parking prices increase, and traffic increases (let’s be honest, WNY has no traffic). Until then, it’s simply far too easy for people to drive into the city, park cheaply, and leave when they want. Nearly all of WNY is still a 20 minute city. Until that changes, or some sort of incentive increases the demand on public transit, we all know things are going to stay the exact same.

    • No_Illusions

      Except that the Metrorail expansion to UB North is actually happening.

      • greenca

        No, the NFTA wants it to happen. It’s not actually happening until funding is in place. Given the current climate in Washington, it’s highly improbable that any federal light rail transit money is coming this way anytime soon. Neither the feds or the state have committed any construction dollars, nor have they indicated they would.

        • No_Illusions

          The state has said it will in part support it’s construction with funding.

          But yes, next step is applying for federal funding.

          • greenca

            Don’t hold your breath for any federal funding.

          • No_Illusions

            Trump wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.

            One of the few plans I agree with him with.

            But yeah, if he’s not able to pass that then we’ll have to wait until the 2020 when hes replaced and hopefully congress will filled with more Democrats.

          • Cvepo

            I somehow doubt that any part of that 1 trillion would come to expand a declining-use metro rail in a rust belt city with a stagnant/dwindling population.

            But it would be nice to see it happen!

      • Cvepo

        It’s been “happening” for what, 15 years?

        • No_Illusions

          It has state backing now with the latest study, that’s the difference

        • S.L.Hawks

          It’s been ‘not happening’ for over 30 years – and now the NFTA is spending a fortune to “update” its hopelessly outdated trolley cars, which are now even older than the 1912-1917 wrecks that the IRC burned in 1950. Expansion of the ‘Subway to nowhere’ ain’t gonna happen, without the hand of God intervening.

    • Johnny Pizza

      “until parking spots decrease, parking prices increase, and traffic increases” – and none of that will happen without demand driven by new jobs in the city. So many proposals today are trying to force the results of a successful city, rather than trying to deal with the underlying problems with Buffalo that cause too many parking spaces, low parking prices and little traffic.

      • Cvepo

        And that’s exactly what I mean! I understand the thought behind TOD, but until we make transit a bigger part of life in WNY, I have heavy reservations. We need jobs, companies, and businesses to invest in our areas already serviced by the light rail.

    • mgb59

      What is the problem with “easy to drive into the city, park cheaply and leave whenever they want”. High density residential (hi-rise) might work at creating demand but the recently adopted green code eliminates that for any developer that proposes it. IMO Nice living in a twenty minute town.

      • Cvepo

        A 20 minute town definitely has its benefits. But it’s a huge part of the reason WHY the lofty Metro Rail, Commuter Rail, Belt Line, etc proposals people have are absolutely ludicrous for a city like Buffalo. We need to just accept it, embrace it, and move on.

  • I just came back from Dunn Loring, Washington DC/NoVA. Very expensive and is a suburb of D.C., but the kinds of projects there were mind blowing and made me think of Metro Rail back home as it’s along their WMATA line.

    Projects like the “Mosaic District” and “Halstead Square” were constructed over the past several years, and I actually remember going to the Dunn Loring station about 4 years ago before the latter was constructed.

    Theyre surprisingly walkable and ars what most people would consider “transit oriented development.” While I wonder if this is what the NFTA has in mind, I do think something on a smaller scale would do great along all of Main Street, which could see an Elmwood Ave-like transformation, sparing the best buildings and replacing the derelict, decrepit ones with these kinds of projects.

  • RichardSmehlik

    The Chicago Mayor told reporters on Monday that he is in talks with Musk about the possibility of creating an underground high-speed rail line to connect downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport: