The new office of the Motor Vehicles Bureau here is not an additional office; "It's a new face on an old office," according to Commissioner Richard E. Jackson Jr. of the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
The old office was in the Niagara County Human Resources Building at 10th and Falls streets. The new office at 750 Haeberle Plaza is about five blocks north of the old location.
Jackson pointed out that there are fewer motor vehicles offices in New York State now than there was when he took office as commissioner two years ago. He said the number of offices was reduced as an economy measure, without reducing the level of service.
Niagara County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow said service at the new location is easier and faster than at the old place because parking is more convenient, long waiting lines have been eliminated, and customers are served in the order in which they arrive.
A small display of historical artifacts including old license plates, legal documents and a map of the former Village of Niagara Falls occupies a corner of the office that eventually will be transformed into a children's area where small fry can play while their parents are getting their drivers' licenses or license plates.
An express window has been installed for people who are renewing existing drivers' licenses or who are surrendering their license plates.
Jagow said the office handles about 2,000 transactions a month. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The Niagara County Social Services Department has been expanded in the space formerly occupied by the Motor Vehicle Bureau in the Human Resources Building. The state Labor Department, which formerly occupied space in Haeberle Plaza, has moved to the nearby Trott Access Center, a county-owned building that formerly housed Trott Vocational High School.
The Niagara County Clerk's Office also operates Motor Vehicle Bureaus in North Tonawanda and Lockport.
Concurrent with the grand opening of the new Motor Vehicle Bureau, the first Niagara Falls office of the Niagara County Federal Credit Union was opened next door in the Haeberle Plaza complex.
Haeberle Plaza is on Portage Road between Pine Avenue and Elmwood Avenue. The Motor Vehicles Bureau moved to that location about a month ago, but a "grand opening" celebration was held there this week.