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Transportation plan has no big 'fix'

A new regional transportation master plan envisions spending $6.1 billion on improvements and upgrades through 2030 but contains no new major projects.

The plan, which was approved Friday by the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council, contains "no magic bullet," according to the council's executive director, Hal Morse.

"There's not one big project to fix Western New York," Morse said. "We're looking at how we can change the trends we had starting in the late 1900s."

That trend saw people moving away from the cities, where a robust multimodal transportation infrastructure was built, to the outlying suburbs, where reliance on the automobile spawned overcrowded roads.

A guiding principle of the plan will be to "influence and minimize the negative impacts created through urban sprawl. Transportation investments will be utilized to support urban reinvestment and . . . development."

"If we have good quality roads and good quality transportation systems, the value of [more urban areas] will be recognized," Morse said.

The study notes that improvements are needed to deal with three famous traffic bottlenecks in Western New York: the mainline Thruway, its interchange with the Youngmann Highway and the Grand Island bridges.

It also sets a goal of providing a traffic management system that will "minimize delay time" by using coordinated traffic signals and signals that can be centrally controlled to allow for unusual traffic flows.

The University at Buffalo is conducting its own master plan. Morse said officials have told transportation planners they are planning on a substantial increase in both students and faculty.

e-mail: jbonfatti@buffnews.com

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