Buffalo’s revitalization depends on better transportation system
Our new Buffalo needs better transportation. Buffalo was originally created because is was a transportation hub. It worked for the transportation systems available then! You can trace the decline and fall of Buffalo by following the decline of the transportation systems that once created the 14th-largest city in the USA.
If the people who are pouring money into the rebirth of Buffalo neglect to plan and provide for the transportation needs of a modern and improved Buffalo (and needs of people who will live in Buffalo during the next 75 years), they will fail in the long run.
The hodgepodge of scattered, unplanned, high-priced and limited parking, our narrow streets and the planned pedestrian and bike path combined with our usual weather just are not going to hack it. Modern city planning is beginning to understand that the days of the highly automobile-dependent city have come to an end.
Newer city planners are developing much better ways to accommodate the transportation needs of its people – ones that depend much less on private automobile use. Car ownership is declining throughout America. Our new city planners should take note of that. Also, most good cities develop high-speed mass transportation around the city center to run long enough each day to support evening activities.
A few years ago, I spent a lot of time in downtown Buffalo – eating, seeing shows, attending many musical events each year. I am getting older, and driving and parking are getting more difficult and more expensive, so I have greatly reduced my attendance at activities in the city. I would still do these things if there was a way to do so without using my car. There are many people like me.
It is past time when the transportation infrastructure of our new and greater Buffalo should be planned and started. Once we get much further into developing our new city, it will be too late to create good infrastructure. In a few years, I hope they don’t say about Buffalo that “they did not plan to fail; they just failed to plan.”
Younger people will need a better city. However, even if I will not live long enough to see it, I will support anything that plans good transportation for the future of Buffalo and Erie County.
Philip J. Kintner