Throughout a year filled with its share of planning and development controversies, a very important planning effort has been quietly, without drama, moving right along in the background. In that way, it is not unlike its study springboard, Buffalo’s MetroRail system. In the three decades since it was built, MetroRail is perhaps most notable for being un-notable. Mostly underground, so literally out of sight, it keeps rolling day after day, largely on schedule, with only the occasional disruption in service – mostly due to deferred maintenance. For the most part, it works the way it’s supposed to, on time, reliably, day in and day out – something that can’t be said for everything in Buffalo.
All that is not to say that Transit-Oriented Development, the subject of this planning effort, is quotidian. In fact, far from it. For the urbanist, it’s everything. It’s about bringing the excitement and actual impact that should have accrued from that infrastructure investment in the first place. Sure, MetroRail was about reliable, quick, point-A-to-point-B people moving. But we never took the next step of building on it – literally – to create a dense, walkable, urban spine through the middle of the city. This planning effort is all about that.
Their work has already yielded some significant work and supporting documentation, which can be found here.
It is also a key element in the push to justify and plan the extension of MetroRail for which the Governor announced his backing in his January State of the State speech in Buffalo. The first workshop was at the end of March, the second at the end of June, and this week is the third. The first is tonight, and there are other dates and times and locations – including one in Amherst.
As I heard from Fred Frank, the lead local planner on the study with WSP (formerly Parsons Brinckerhoff):
I’m making one last push for the Final Round of TOD Workshops being held this week. Your involvement in the Transit-Oriented Development study has been instrumental in getting to where we are now and we’re almost to the finish.
Fred also said that, based on input in the previous workshops, they have narrowed down their focus to several stations of particular interest and TOD potential. Three are on the existing line, two are on the Amherst extension, and one is a perennial Buffalo Rising favorite, the proposed DL&W station.
According to Fred:
We are at the point in the study where we will conduct our final round of workshops, consisting of an engaging exercise focused on the neighborhood planning around six Metro Rail Stations. The intent of the workshops is to identify ways in which we can collaborate among government, the community, and stakeholders to enhance the stations and neighborhood around the stations in preparation for Transit-Oriented Development. We will have neighborhood planning exercises for all six station areas at each workshop, therefore, your invited to attend any one, or more, of them.
The stations are:
- Proposed Audubon Station
- Proposed Boulevard Mall Station
- LaSalle Station
- Utica Station
- Summer-Best Station
- Proposed DL&W Terminal Station
The dates, times, and locatiosn of the three workshops are:
- Tuesday, October 3, 6:00-8:00pm at UB Educational Opportunity Center, 555 Ellicott Street (near Goodell)
- Wednesday, October 4, 1:30-3:30pm at UB Educational Opportunity Center, 555 Ellicott Street (Near Goodell)
- Wednesday, October 4, 6:00-8:00pm at Weinberg Campus, Meadow Apartment 2nd Floor Lounge, 2650 N. Forest Road (Meadow Apartment Entrance)
If you go, to help make sure they have adequate staff on hand – and maybe even ample refreshments – give Fred a shout beforehand if you can, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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