Here’s a win-win solution for train station dilemma
As the deadline for choosing Buffalo’s new Amtrak station site approaches, two compelling contenders have emerged. Do we invest in Central Terminal, reclaiming a beloved landmark and its long-shortchanged neighborhood, or sacrifice valuable waterfront land to have some Amtrak service downtown?
Or could we come up with a plan that realizes the benefits of both choices while letting private money pay for most of the desired outcomes?
If the bulk of government funds designated for this project were spent on restoring the parts of Central Terminal used for train service and events, that would boost private development of the remainder of the complex. The result: A magnificent gateway to the region with ample parking, new mixed-income residential, office and retail development, and access to all trains by bicycle or public transportation. Savings would be realized as the isolated and redundant Depew Station was closed and income from events at the newly outfitted terminal flowed toward maintenance costs of the publicly owned portions of the building. (Even now, management reports more wedding inquiries than the terminal can accommodate!)
Meanwhile, a simple, functional train stop could be incorporated into the current redesign of One Seneca Tower’s plaza. One of the new buildings planned for the tower’s base could house a 24-hour cafe that also serves as an Amtrak waiting area. The developer would benefit from a captive customer base while the city would benefit from having its Canalside train shelter in a privately owned building.
Ultimately, a public-private funding mix may yield the best results.