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published by Citizens Regional Transit Corporation P.O. Box 1186, Buffalo, NY 14231-1186 contact: crtc@juno.com (716) 634-2412 http://go.to/crtc

Volume #4 Issue #1

January, 2003

Roll Metro Rail past Arena

CRTC Comments Submitted Regarding TEA-03

New Year’s at CRTC

by Gladys Gifford,

by E. Edward Deutschman,


Ten years ago, in 1992, the NFTA put a moratorium on expanding Metro Rail.

Missed opportunities during these ten years include:

  • *

    new light rail lines from the

suburbs brought more people downtown without any need for additional parking;

  • *

    developers built new housing,

stores, offices and entertainment complexes adjscent to light rail lines, thus increasing the tax base;

  • *

    use of the light rail system reduced

the need for expensive new road building and widening, and helped to reduce wear and tear on existing roads and bridges.

Our politicians say that it is too expensive to build any new Metro Rail extension. Recently, Buffalo Place and other business interests are suggesting otherwise. These business interests want to build a short extension of Metro Rail to run past the HSBC Arena (Buffalo News, 11-4-02). They find that such an extension would be less expensive to operate and maintain than the current shuttle bus service offered by Buffalo Place.

The CRTC Executive Board toured the area recently. Here is what we found:

An extension of Metro Rail down South Park Avenue, then left on Chicago Street, then left on Perry Street would add access for more than 1100 apartments, including the new Elk Market Terminal complex. Continuing on Perry Street, the extension would serve the parking lots and ramp between Columbia St. and the HSBC Arena, then return to Main St.

Voila! the Cobblestone area’s alive.


k lik


! L t’ d


The following comments were submitted to the USDOT on behalf of the Citizens Regional Transit Corp (CRTC), a grassroots, volunteer, dues-paying organization which educates Western New York about public transportation:

The Citizens Regional Transit Corp offers two suggestions for the transportation reauthorization bill, currently undergoing discussion in Congress, as follows:

  • Operating Assistance: restore the option

for urbanized areas with populations over 200,000 to use formula funds for capital needs or operating needs.

It is clear that the requirement for local funding for operations and maintenance cannot be readily met by local dollars, such as in Western New York. The local transit authority in Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, will not plan for any capital improvements because it does not have adequate provision for operations and maintenance to cover normal operations of such capital improvements. Federal incentives to build a better transit system have failed in Western New York because these incentives do not include funds for transit operations.

  • Transit Enhancements Program (TEP):

include the following language in descriptions of projects that qualify-- "transit connections to parks, historic districts and cultural attractions."

The TEP is the only part of TEA21 which is generated by the public and encourages the public to take an active role in designing any aspect of their transportation infrastructure. Such new language would encourage more variety in the projects to be submitted for Federal funding, such as our proposed Vintage Trolley, in Buffalo, NY, which would connect cultural attractions with historic districts to facilitate tourism.

January is as good time to take stock of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

CRTC’s work is to promote an integrated multimodal public transit system which serves all citizens of WNY. In support of our mission, we act as a watch-dog over the current transportation system. We persistently raise questions, hoping for positive answers. Here are a few good questions that we plan to raise in 2003:

What has the NFTA done to ensure that the capital maintenance for the subway stations be done?

When will the Inter-modal Transportation Center Record of Decision be issued and the first phase of construction begin?

Who will plan the 1.5 mile extension of Metro Rail past the HSBC Arena, and when will it be constructed?

What fresh ideas will our WNY Congressional delegation bring for consideration in the new transportation bill (reauthorize TEA21)?

Will the discussions of the future of the Skyway include realistic studies of current traffic patterns, as well as plans for extension of Metro Rail to the Southtowns?

Will the Niagara Falls casino result in better passenger rail connections between Buffalo and Niagara Falls?

Now that the GBNRTC has done a Safety Study of the Kensington Expressway, what action will our leaders take to alleviate those problems?

These are some of the questions that CRTC will be following in 2003.

Stay tuned.

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