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NFTA Moving Forward with Design Work for Transit Hub

The NFTA is seeking engineering and architectural services to construct a transit hub along North Division Street. The multi-phased project would include upgrades to the Metropolitan Transportation Center, a new bus stop in front of the Adams Parking Ramp, plaza upgrades at Main and N. Division, and improvements to the Church Street light rail station.

As part of a larger NYSDOT reconstruction project that is reconfiguring North and South Division streets, the existing Metro Bus stop and pull-off near the entrance to the Metropolitan Transportation Center (at the northeast corner of the intersection of North Division and Ellicott streets) will be relocated to a new bus stop and pull-off area located along the north side of North Division Street between Ellicott Street and Washington Street. This reconstruction project is reconfiguring North Division Street from four travel lanes in the westbound direction to two travel lanes in the westbound direction, a buffered bike lane, and a bus pull-off area for three buses.

From the Vision and Design Document prepared by WSP USA:

The future consolidation of local bus lines into one stop on the Adam Ramp frontage, combined with future improvements to light rail facilities and the future reconstruction of North Division Street into a “complete street” provides an opportunity to transform these three blocks of downtown Buffalo into a true multimodal hub that provides a variety of transportation choices for getting to and from Downtown Buffalo.

The following design goals were derived from the guiding principles developed by the NFTA for the new transit facility:

  • Accessible: Ensure that the facility is multi-modal and well-connected to the urban context.
  • Active: Create a vibrant public space with amenities serving transit riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
  • Comfortable: Ensure that the facility is safe and welcoming.
  • Legible: Design a facility that is identifiable, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Flexible: Ensure that various transit hub components and amenities can be implemented in parts as funding permits.

The Downtown Buffalo Transit Hub comprises three block frontages. Its signature design element is a linear transit plaza with a special paving scheme that extends east-west from Ellicott Street to Main Street, visually and physically tying together three disparate blocks and linking three transit modes: rail, local bus, and intercity bus. Along this plaza is a series of partial enclosures – including canopy and pergola structures – that visually link the three spaces.

Phase One
The focal point of the Transit Hub is the center block – in front of Adam Ramp consisting of a new bus stop with iconic canopy structure providing a strong vertical element to improve the hub’s visibility in Downtown. The block frontage along North Division Street, between Main Street and Washington Street, is a re-envisioned park space that anchors the western end of the hub and provides a green forecourt to Church Street Station, as well as a radial gateway point to Cathedral Park to the southwest. The block frontage between Ellicott Street and Oak Street – in front of the Metropolitan Transportation Center – will be enhanced with special pavers, modernized façade, and a continuation of the canopy structure in front of Adam Ramp.

Green infrastructure elements convey stormwater from the canopy to a series of raingardens, stormwater planters, and an underground collection system that helps mitigate combined sewer overflows into Lake Erie.

Estimated cost is $7.5 million, and pending construction funding, could be completed in late 2019.

Future Phases
Future enhancements will extend the passenger and pedestrian experience along N. Division Street on both sides of the main Transit Hub. Included in this work is the extension of an urban plaza up to the existing Metro Rail corridor, which will provide a lightweight trellis area which is aligned and reinforces the connection of the Church Street Metro Rail Station and the Metropolitan Transportation Center facility, and provides ample pedestrian seating and potential future bus boarding areas along N Division Street. A pedestrian crossing is provided to Five Flags Park and across Church Street to Cathedral Park where additional eastbound bus bays can be activated should future operations require that capacity.

The eastern extension these future enhancements will effectively redefine the face of the existing Metropolitan Transportation Center facility with a new, centralized, recessed entry flanked on each side to provide additional waiting space along this corridor. A new, larger roof structure floating over these improvements supports a passenger boarding area with over twice the depth currently provided and still incorporates a similar visual design solution to continue what was begun.

Estimated cost is $23 million.

Church Street Light Rail Station Modifications
The future enhancements include maintenance of the existing platforms, with a modernized, accessible station enclosure built around the platforms. The materials and design solutions would again provide a visual reference to the work completed at the Transit Hub, as well as orienting themselves to the flow of rail traffic. The plaza extended to the rail lines would be extended into the passenger circulation areas around the platforms. Additional passenger amenities such as wind and rain protection, seating and leaning areas, and technology driven information and security systems would also be provided.

Estimated cost is $5.1 million.

The NFTA is working to gain support from various agencies, such as the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, NYSDOT, etc. NFTA will then identify potential funding sources and prepare grant applications. Meanwhile, bids for Phase One engineering work are due January 8.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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