Transit-Oriented Development in Buffalo Niagara is focus of Logistics & Transportation Council meeting
The Metro Rail corridor in Buffalo connects more than passengers and their destinations.
According to a comprehensive study and plan by the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC), the Metro Rail line has the potential to connect businesses and the community with a myriad of regional economic development opportunities.
Members of the Logistics & Transportation Council listened to a presentation on Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) conducted by Hal Morse, Executive Director of the GBNRTC. Morse explained that TOD is an approach to development that focuses on land uses around a transit station or within a transit corridor, in this case Buffalo’s light rail rapid transit line.
The GBNRTC study aims to show how developing around transit can encourage and increase connectivity and help the Buffalo Niagara region continue to prosper.
“Our plan seeks to align investments in the Metro Rail system – including its potential extension – with the region’s vision for smart growth and economic development,” explained Morse.
Envisioning an Extended Metro Rail
The GBNRTC study analyzed four segments of the Metro Rail corridor, including the long-discussed and envisioned extension of the line into the town of Amherst. The four segments include:
- Main Street
- Niagara Falls Blvd./Eggertsville
- University at Buffalo North Campus/Audubon
Each segment has unique and distinct characteristics along the rail corridor – called typologies in the study – such as distinct urban neighborhoods, nearby schools and universities, sports and entertainments districts, and mixed-use suburban areas. By focusing on each segment, the Transit-Oriented Development plan looks to create new, walkable and vibrant neighborhoods while increasing Metro Rail usage.
Morse noted that cities similar in size to Buffalo such as Cleveland and Detroit are recognizing the importance of TOD in their economic development strategies. That’s why it’s important for Buffalo Niagara to include TOD in economic development efforts to keep pace and stay competitive with other cities.
The Millennial Lifestyle is on a Roll
The TOD plan points out that while there has been slow population growth in Buffalo, the young adult population has increased 8.3%. The plan notes the importance of TOD to this age group, the so-called millennials.
They enjoy an urban lifestyle where they can raise families in walkable neighborhoods and get to where they need to go on the Metro Rail. TOD addresses the needs of this growing population today and in the future.
The study estimates TOD could result in an additional 8.4 million square feet of development along the Metro Rail corridor, with a conservatively estimated value of $1.7 billion.
The next step is to move TOD ideas along with collaboration among the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council, community leaders, economic development officials and the public.
“With our report complete, we now need to start identifying the real opportunities along the existing Metro Rail corridor and decide what should be priorities,” Morse concluded.
For the full presentation, click here.
For other Transit Oriented Development Resources, click here.
Thank you to the following sponsors of our Logistics & Transportation Council presentation.
Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC)
T.Y. Lin International