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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

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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  • eagercolin

    The bus station will get a new entrance and a roof to shelter folks waiting for the bus outside. There will also be some seating, and a crosswalk. This is estimated to cost $23 million. Sounds totally reasonable!

  • TV62

    lipstick on a pig

  • UrbanLove

    This is $#%@ing ridiculous.

  • Giovanni Centurione

    I may be off topic, but any updates on returning traffic to the rest of Main Street? I see this includes improvements to the Church St. Station but no mention of cars returning to that block.

    • BuffaloFenian

      Agree. Kept waiting for a reference to Cars Sharing Main. This doesn’t seem to impede the progress of that project on this block, but doesn’t seem related at all. I realize Canalside is slotted to be next, but still looking forward to a “complete” Main St.

      • Mr. B

        “I realize Canalside is slotted to be next”

        Don’t know why that’s even necessary; cars are already driving on Hanover.

        Or are they talking about under One Seneca and the Erie Canal Harbor Metro Rail stop?
        Under One Seneca is doable, but the elevated platforms at the stop make that mighty narrow for autos . . .


        • runner68

          Canalside section (100 block of Main from Exchange to Scott Streets ) is indeed the next section scheduled for a makeover.

          Elevated platforms are not a problem, they will be constructed like the Fountain Plaza block was, which is a breeze to drive through with absolutely no problems.

          Where they are going to find the money from the 400, 300 and 200 blocks is beyond me. TIGER grants are getting harder and harder to come by.

          If those sections get left unfinished, it seems as though it was a complete waste to redo the other blocks. Either do it all, or don’t do anything at all.

  • Daniel Zielinski

    Any updates on the apartment tower/grocery store adjacent to the bus terminal?

  • eagercolin

    The upgrades to Church station are estimated to cost $5.1 million. Those upgrades seem to consist of a shelter that actually shelters people (as opposed to the original, non-sheltering shelter), seating, and some new “the train will be here in x minutes” signs. For the same amount of money, you could build a huge mansion including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.

    • nyc_lines

      okay. but that would be weird.

      • eagercolin

        I would be weird for someone to build a mansion at Main and Church, yeah. But the fact that they could suggests that the NFTA is paying too much for far less.

        • nyc_lines

          it’s the going rate. utilities could be eating up half that cost.

          and it probably involves a lot of pavement as well. that’s not cheap. and everything at union wages which allows workers to have good wages and healthcare. you can argue about that if you want.

          • Johnny Pizza

            Nah not even union rates, its probably prevailing wage because its a state job at $60 an hour.

          • runner68

            My question regarding a potential new Church Street Station: When the Cars Sharing Main Street project reaches the 300 block, wouldn’t the Church Street Station be reconstructed anyways a la Fountain Plaza?

          • eagercolin

            Is it the going rate? Have other local entities paid $5 million for what amounts to a big bus shelter?

            I have no beef with union labor and prevailing wages, because I’m not complete scum. I’m guessing that a significant part of the cost is actually going to consultants and law firms. It’s certainly not going into whatever actually ends up on the site.

          • nyc_lines

            it’s not 5 million for the shelter. but i don’t know the details this particular job, just comparable projects. stuff adds up. and seriously, if they have to do any utility work, that’s a big chunk of change. the station itself probably comes in at 1 million each per station shelter. Then you have demo, lighting, pavement, landscape, utilities – drainage, staging and mobilization for the contractor. i can’t say whether its a fair price because we don’t really have a full grasp on the scope. yes it sounds expensive.

          • Chris Schmidt
          • Chris Schmidt
          • nyc_lines

            well look at that! thanks..

          • Chris Schmidt
          • Johnny Pizza

            At over $600 per SF, I can assure you that paying prevailing wages on this project have at least a part to play in the high cost.

          • Bags

            So the majority of the cost is the facade screen. Interesting.

          • Nick

            I read an article recently about how it cost $2 million to build a public bathroom in Brooklyn. We’re talking about a 400 square foot bathroom too. It’s all ridiculous.

          • Nick
    • Dan

      $5.1M sounds right if you assume there will be – as there usually is – utility upgrades that go along with these types of projects. There will be new paving, sidewalks, electrical/gas/fibreoptic accesses, probably signal junction box upgrade, too. A large new awning/canopy structure, ripping up and replacing all that sidewalk, new stormwater channel, removal of old catch pits, traffic management during construction, multiple design iterations, public meetings to appease all hurt feelings, and cost contingencies. If it only costs $5.1M, count your lucky stars.

    • Bags

      It sounds like a racket. But per below, most of the cost is the building facade screen, not the canopy?

  • John

    Looks like Detroit’s bus station

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi

    By all means, move forward with the ‘sidewalk bus stop hub.’ It will be needed in that location under any eventuality. But I was under the impression that there was a regional consensus at Empire State Development and the NFTA to colocate the intracity-bus service with a new Amtrak Station at Exchange Street? It would be nice to see if it were possible to move that entire bus station/NFTA administrative complex, freeing up a central property for redevelopment. The NFTA’s administrative offices could easily and more cheaply be accommodated elsewhere.

  • They should reform Shelton Square like how it was in the olden days

  • 300miles

    I appreciate their honesty in the rendering showing a bus driving right through the separated bike lane as if it’s just another driving lane.

    • Johnny Pizza

      Also honest with the lack of anyone using the bike lane.

      • 300miles

        haHA. fair enough.

  • Darrin Bitterman

    I wait at this new “transit center/hub”, and look at it with a completely underwhelmed opinion.

    As of now, passengers are sitting in very small shelters, and I hate to admit it, having vermin walking up to multiple times for a cigarette, money, a “little something” to get them through the night. With my build, they’re not getting the hint when I say “no”. = problem.

    Being that the stops are spaced well enough apart, I have nowhere near the “safe” feeling I got when I stood in front of the terminal. I get the feeling that the NFTA pawned the problems off on surrounding businesses and made it their problem, and their fault.

    I used to stand near the front entrance if it was cold (never got harrassed by the NFTA police…THANK YOU!), but don’t feel that I can make a one-block run when the bus is leaving the loop across the street…therefore, I’m essentially left in the cold.

    I also don’t know the reasoning of looping the 1, 2 and 4 buses a block from where they have been running inbound, and cut closer service away from those near Niagara Street, and were so vocal about it. Don’t see too many benefits of those riding from the terminal, since they’ve been connecting in Niagara Square for ages.

    Well, it’s typical Metro missteps.

  • mightyNiagara

    um. how about dismantling that shitbox and erecting one that centralizes the Amtrak Rail, NFTA rail, NFTA busses and coach line busses? THAT’s a fucking hub.
    what they’re going after is making their shit box hobo station look better.

  • Mr. B

    Better than the new Amshack planned to replace the current Amshack . . .