Plans for Next Phase of Main Street Retraffic Work Coming Into Focus

Construction is full swing in the Theater District where cars will be returning to the block between Chippewa and Tupper streets next year.  Buffalo Place, the City, NFTA and NYS Department of Transportation are working with downtown property owners and stakeholders on the next phase of the project between Chippewa and Mohawk streets.  Preliminary designs were released in late-October and have been since revised, shown here, pillaged from the Buffalo Place website.  Construction on the roughly $20 million project is expected to start next year. 

Automobile traffic was removed from Main Street in 1982 when the Metro Rail system, including the pedestrian-transit mall free-fare zone on Main Street was built.  The 500 block of Main Street has been shabby since at least the early-1980′s when the Hyatt Hotel opened its doors.  Three decades of abandonment is being erased one building at a time.  Projects on surrounding blocks are creating some momentum for the area.

 

500blk1.JPG

Download proposed landscape plan here.

Plans for Roosevelt Plaza have not been settled.  Two alternatives are proposed, each will feature one new lane of traffic east-bound from Main to Huron.

rooseveltplaza2.JPGrooseveltplaza2b.JPGParking will be provided for 11 cars along E. Mohawk Street, six spots in Roosevelt Plaza, 23 cars along Main Street’s 500 block and 23 cars in the Fountain Plaza block.  Removable bollards will be located at the Roosevelt Plaza and Main Street parking spots to close those spots during special events.  Signalized arms will be located at the cross streets to block vehicle access to Main Street if necessary.

500blk2.JPGThe Theatre/Fountain Plaza Metro Rail Station will be demolished and replaced with a smaller, modern shelters and ramps. 

 

fntnstation.JPGThe design team is led by DiDonato Associates, who were also the lead consultants for preliminary engineering. Team members include Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Foit-Albert Associates, and Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers.

Construction of this section will start in the fall of 2013 and it will be completed in 2014.  A $15 million federal TIGER III grant awarded in 2011 is funding most of the project.  City and State funds are part of the mix as well.

600blockpano.JPG600blkpv.jpeg

Above: Work on 600 Block: Main/Tupper

About the author  ⁄ jlb716

41 comments
Nicholas Tyler Miller
Nicholas Tyler Miller

25,000+ people ride this every day. It's a quarter of all NFTA riders. Rail is also cheaper to operate than buses: bigger vehicles, so fewer drivers per rider; electric vehicles last longer and have fewer maintenance issues; electricity is cheaper than gas; steel wheels outlive tires, etc.

BuffaloQPublic
BuffaloQPublic

Joedotts – Re: “Who actually uses this thing [Metro] other than low income and for Thursday at the canal event? Put up a damn bus line and that’s it, solved.”

Perhaps you had a salient point but forgot to include it. In your pompous landscape should low income individuals even be entitled to oxygen?

FYI – the average Metro ridership in 2008 was 23,200, daily, per Wikipedia. Those are substantial numbers regardless of the riders income credentials. [The ridership amounts have been in the top 20 for light rail systems in the US.]

SadLlama
SadLlama

Paladino has been fighting to extend his parking up to the left of the lawyers office. Agreed, completely AWFUL.

Lego1981
Lego1981

Mohawk St. is'nt making sense to me. I know the buildings are lined up correctly, so why is the street design for this is alittle off? I see an extra building next to what is now being renovated for a lawyers office. Or is that entire section going to be one long parking lot with no sidewalks? If so- AWEFUL!!!!!

irishmedic716
irishmedic716

I agree Mike...the parcel where the Donovan Building is was the former site of the Neo-Classical Leigh Valley Railroad station. This areas was once a hub of intermodal transport in the late 1890's/early 1900's. Retasking the portion of Perry Blvd (which acts as nothing more than Canalside/First Niagara parking)would be nice as well. The rail line I speak of runs parallel with Perry Blvd and does go subterranean for one-two blocks,and there is the ability to rebuild the second rail. Lower Terrace actually used to handle all rail traffic out of the New York Central's Exchange Street Station 100 years ago. I think an intermodal at this junction makes complete sense, thereby facilitating the demise of the Metropolitan Transportation Center,(the bus station).

bfloboy86
bfloboy86

They're taking an extremely long time to finish this. When the project was first announced, they should have been finishing all six phases by next year.

Mormegil
Mormegil

Your comment makes no sense.

MikeN
MikeN

Exchange street should be moved then to the West where Main and Exchange meet to be shared by Light Rail, Amtrak, and the proposed to create a intermodal station. Lower terrace could then be used for shuttles, cabs, tour buses etc.

sbrof
sbrof

What is the purpose of the Railroad Gates? I don't understand when these would be used. It seems like one more item to clutter the landscape that might get used 1 a decade.

Could use some more trees... looking a little sparse.

irishmedic716
irishmedic716

Why do we need to go through all this nonsense to figure out the returning of traffic to Main Street? The IRC, the forerunner of today's inept NFTA, utilized streetcars with MORE traffic on all of the major Buffalo thoroughfares (South Park, Genesee, Broadway, Clinton, Fillmore, Delaware, Hertel, Parkside,and Main Street) up till 1950. This was at the height of Buffalo's population boom as well as post war prosperity.

I am an advocate for Buffalo expanding it's light rail/commuter rail opportunities. We have an UNTAPPED resource available during the summer months and soon to be permanent just north of the border. GO Transit (Greater Toronto's commuter rail/bus service) offers commuter trains during the summer months to Niagara Falls, ONT from Toronto and points north of the GTA...specifically the VIA Rail station just over the Whirlpool Bridge.

Now, what would be sensible in my opinion would be for the NFTA to purchase a few diesel locomotives, and or lease with say 10 passenger cars. The under-utilization of the CSX Niagara Line (which only currently operates 6 AMTRAK Maple Leaf trains per day), is an untapped resource. No overhead electrical gantry lines need to be installed, no rail crossing gates,infrastructure is maintained, and you'd simply LEASE use for it from CSX as AMTRAK does.

This important and under utilized rail line...which navigates from points in the Eastern suburbs would benefit and make money as well. Say you have a terminal point in Lancaster/Depew,(we had commuter rail a 100 years ago), this ROW runs through the CSX Broadway Yard, crossing the East Side (passing the Central Terminal). It then navigates south, which it goes through the HEART of Larkinville crossing Exchange Street. It then runs parallel with the 190 up to the 198 interchange where the line runs north through the Town of Tonawanda, intersects the City of Tonawanda crossing into North Tonawanda (passing the new lofts)and connecting eventually to the Whirlpool Bridge and Canada!

Too me, this line is a no brainer. You can build multiple stations along the ROW (right of way), which are strategically significant. Say, for example, placing a station along this ROW at Duke Road. This would allow Canadian shoppers to walk less than a block to the Walden Galleria. Obviously in winter months, a shuttle bus service and or an enclosed pedestrian bridge/walkway over Walden Avenue would prove valuable.

Next, we have the Larkin District/Larkinville, which ever you prefer. This ROW passes right by the former Larkin Building where now sits the last pier. Either a station on the elevated portion or a station set along the street level at Exchange (former Erie Railroad Freight House perhaps), and then keeping the current Exchange Street station as a transfer point. With the growth of Canalside, First Niagara Center, River Fest Park, Thursdays at Canalside,etc; as well as bus traffic/light rail at this Crossroads...it'd be stupid to mothball or close Exchange Street. The infrastructure is already there too, simply build a side rail line for the commuter trains to be serviced at the the NFTA train sheds.

Finally, you have another multitude of station locations you could have along this line, when placed strategically, would benefit a greater collective of WNYer's I, myself, reside in the Sheridan Park area of the Town of Tonawanda. However, if I could walk a block to this rail line..which is right down the street from me...and be able to hop a commuter train with my bicycle in tow, and take this to my job in Lancaster or to Downtown Buffalo with the benefit of not having to pay or find parking, it'd be a win win. I could also take this train(essentially) all the way to Union Station in Toronto or to Niagara Falls, come on Buffalo Niagara...this is where it's at.

Dano
Dano

So I see you obviously do not take the train. I live in the Village and take it to work at Fountain Plaza frequently from the Utica stop. It's very easy and quick. Despite the misconception that only poorer people take the train, I see a good number of people heading to work at the downtown businesses via the train. This is not to mention all of the people who take the train during the day in the free zone to get to different parts of town.

As for why you'd take the train instead of driving, suspect it has less to do with not wanting to drive in the big bad city than it has to do with parking costs downtown. Maybe you don't work down there, so you don't know, but it costs between $80 and $125 per month to park downtown. The rail is a lot cheaper and better for the environment and driving/parking conditions.

Why is it needed and should it be expanded? Because people will use it more the more it is expanded and the more convenient it is. Buses are fine to, but light rail has the ability to move faster and with less interruption that buses.

Buffaloian
Buffaloian

Never going to happen. Genesee will never be whole again.

Jimbuffalo
Jimbuffalo

Looks like it will be a huge improvement over what we have today. Go for it.

jumpingbuffalo
jumpingbuffalo

I guess you missed the part that stated that the added roadway would provide easier access to those businesses you just mentioned. Right now, it's just one big slab of concrete all the way to Main. And ultimately, it seems as though expanding Main Street even closer to Main sets up the eventual restoration of Genesee street to where the convention center and the Hyatt Atrium sit.

Buffaloian
Buffaloian

Roosevelt Plaza is a ghost town right now. Why would the city want to take a third of it for a one way Genesee St? Use that money for the roadway and install an interesting water feature and permanent tables with permanent umbrellas and LED lights for evening use.

There a several small storefronts there that can quickly be filled with vendors, but I guess the city wants another road to plow.

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

Clever. I guess you just pointed out that the original comment was overtly racist. I agree.

Slu
Slu

I walk from my house and ride the Metro Rail to work almost every day. With a 1 year old. Which of your stereotypes do I fall into.

Mormegil
Mormegil

If only a dog can hear a dog whistle, then only a racist can hear a racist dog whistle. Which means all these clowns patting themselves on the back for identifying so called racist dog whistles, are, by the very logic of their own trendy metaphor, the actual racists.

Buffaboy
Buffaboy

If anything, Metro Rail should be expanded. We will need it soon, and we better start now. Your comment does not agree with itself when you say, "its ridership figures are strong," yet you contradict this by saying to just "Just shut the god damn thing down". Yes, I recognize that, "that thing is an utter embarrassment," but you can also "add some functional stops, working toward Andrew Cuomo's recent remark of putting Buffalo back on the international radar." It is pure flip-flopping.

Tim
Tim

Downsize light rail? You are just asking for down votes here lolh

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

Agreed. If MetroRail and the pedestrian mall had been built in the 1950s when downtown was still booming, and car traffic added in the '80s when urban retail crashed everywhere else in the US... right now everyone would be raising torches and pitchforks to get cars back OFF Main Street.

This issue is just a reversal of the situation every other American city is already familiar with. Downtowns are coming back whether they have pedestrian malls, light rail, or traditional streets. Perhaps in 30-50 years the trend will reverse itself yet again... and surely by then we will spend another billion dollars to re-undo everything we are doing now and once again make a bad decision at exactly the wrong time.

JohnMarko
JohnMarko

Could you use some more racist dog whistles, please?

I'm sure there are some who might still not get what you're aiming at...

nyc
nyc

metro-rail has little to do with Main Street's current condition. retail vacated downtown as residents vacated the city. that's the story of main street. nothing more.

I would agree the ped mall could have been better and a ped mall with little density surrounding it was never going to survive anyways but the story of main street is far bigger than metro-rail.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

And I hope we don't lose the big white arches in front of Fountain Plaza. I kind of like those.

Back in the '80s, there was supposed to be a big light show installed on Main that utilized the now-missing Buffalo Place tower at Tupper, the arches, and the AM&As pedestrian bridge (the bridge had a big shelf on one side to hold some of the equipment). I think part of the plan was to bounce light beams up and down the street and into the sky to create a laser clock visible from anywhere in the city.

It was a funky plan that probably wouldn't have worked as well as it was envisioned, but I liked the individual elements that were put in place before they scrapped the idea at 95% completion.

saltecks
saltecks

Probably in the 4 foot buffer zone closest to the sidewalk. The cross section schematic appears to show a short line between the parking lane and the buffer zone. Could represent those poles that are used to separate parking lanes from bike lanes.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

Is it just me, or are those 'temporary bollards' going to be permanent, just in a different location?

From the diagram, when not in use between the travel lane and the parking area, they will be positioned between the parking and pedestrian areas. And the curb is a 'mountable curb' next to the travel lane, not the sidewalk.

I know 4' of buffer space on both sides of the parking gives some safety and flexibility, but this is just a Rube Goldberg plan to turn Main St into another surface lot and confuse the hell out of EVERY form of transportation that uses the street. It probably works well on paper, but all it will take is ONE moron to turn the entire thing into a huge clusterfumble.

To me, it makes Main Street LESS appealing or accessible than it already is.

FTheRedTape
FTheRedTape

Bob -- This thing's a joke and you know it. It's good for transporting a few suburbanites who are afraid to drive in the "big, bad downtown" to their place of employment, serves as a point A to point B for those who are two lazy to walk three ghetto blocks and jams them in for Sabres games. There's no way this thing is making enough to substantiate being in operation. Not to mention, it's a big part of why Main Street is in its current condition.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

That would be fun. Teach cars what it's like to 'share' the road with a train so they know how the bicyclists feel.

joedotts
joedotts

Just more room for car traffic... But I agree in just tearing the whole thing down. Who actually uses this thing other than low income and for thursday at the canal events? Put up a damn bus line and thats it. solved.

BuffaloBobZ
BuffaloBobZ

"I know ridership figures are stong, but give me a break"

um....what? how is it a joke if ridership figures are strong and its being used?.... honest question.

Most international cities have subway stations that transport large amounts of people around. Granted, this isn't anything close to a major metropolitan subway system, but "just shut the goddamn thing down" seems to be moving in the opposite direction of your stated goals.

300miles
300miles

bicycle lanes? They were installed on 700 block, but I don't see them in the designs here for 500 block.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

$20 million for 57 parking spaces??? That's 350K per parking spot!

Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to just demolish a historic building and put in a surface lot?

FTheRedTape
FTheRedTape

Ahh...discussion about perhaps WNY's biggest joke of all...the *ahem* "Subway." That thing is an utter embarrassment. I know its ridership figures are strong, but give me a break. Just shut the god damn thing down altogether or add some functional stops, working toward Andrew Cuomo's recent remark of putting Buffalo back on the international radar.

townline
townline

ummm - from the looks of it - the city is losing a big chunk of its right of way at mohawk - I would guess that they're letting Paladino take it.

THAT IS A HUGE MISTAKE. Do not sell off portions of a public right of way to a private developer - especially for parking. All they talk about with this project is providing more on-street parking - yet they're going to sell off part of a street that has the potential to provide more, good on-street parking.

THAT STINKS OF CITY OF BUFFALO/BUFFALO PLACE FAVORITISM. Or just letting someone as powerful as carl do whatever he wants.

Idiots. Design looks excellent otherwise - the city just needs to stop letting blockheads get in its own way.

joedotts
joedotts

How much use does the rail actually get downtown?

Heres my idea: Convert the rail downtown to one track, so uptown and downtown trains use the exact same railway. this would free up a ton of space on either side allowing much more traffic. There would then have to be a couple spots, say before and after stations, where the trains would be able to pass one another so there could be uptown and downtown trains at the same time....

any thoughts?

Lego1981
Lego1981

What? You mean Carl actually is okay with the city taking away his parking lot on Mohawk @ Pearl St.? Did hell just freeze over?

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