The widespread introduction of new transportation technology is coming and cities like Buffalo can start planning for its arrival now. Autonomous vehicles, advances in micro-mobility such as e-scooters, and dynamic parking pricing will all change the design of cities and how we move about them. The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is partnering with the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA), and national consulting firm Stantec Urban Places to explore how current and future land uses, including street design, can accommodate the mobility solutions of future decades, while at the same time providing a vibrant public realm for all users.
CNU, the City, and BURA will convene a week-long charrette from February 25th-29th at the Seneca One Tower where a national team of transportation experts will engage local stakeholders and residents to develop design strategies that show how Buffalo can best adapt its existing streets, public spaces, buildings, and land uses to accommodate these new transportation technologies in ways that serve all. This work will result in a national publication from CNU, presentation of the publication at two national conferences, and generate significant media coverage. Considering different scenarios for the rollout of transportation technology, the workshop will address the following areas:
- Policy: What policies can the city undertake to ensure transportation technology addresses the mobility needs of all its residents? How will technology like autonomous vehicles or e- scooters interact with pre-existing transportation networks such as Main Street’s light rail and policies like Buffalo’s elimination of parking minimums for new developments? How can technologies like dynamic parking pricing encourage new, walkable development consistent with the city’s Green Code and Infrastructure and Public Realm Master Plan?
- Street Design: Based on recommended policies, what physical changes to Lower Main Street and its surrounding streets and adjacent areas can be made topreserve its downtown character, encourage lively, walkable development, and ensure that they are able to accommodate future transportation trends?
- Land Use: Based on recommended street design and policies, how existing vacant or underutilized land, including areas no longer needed for parking or street right-of- way be used to address resident needs? How can Buffalo tap the potential of shared autonomous mobility to attract people, jobs, and investment to the urban core?
This effort will culminate in April in which CNU and Stantec will deliver to the City of Buffalo an illustrative report that provides:
- Summary of desired outcomes from residents and stakeholders to include identifying barriers both legal and technical
- Identification of mobility issues for people of all abilities and how new transportation technologies can address them.
- Delivers policy recommendations to build a robust equity agenda into planning for the advent of new transportation technologies.
- Delivers design recommendations for Lower Main Street and surrounding streets, up to Lafayette Square, that provides accommodation for future mobility options.
- Delivers planning recommendations based on recommended street designs that identify best uses for vacant or underutilized land, including areas no longer needed for parkingor street right-of-way after implementation of new transportation technologies.
- Delivers a step-by-step guide to implement the prescribed planning and design recommendations including requisite dates to inform governance decision-making.