Rendering of Braymiller Market at 201 Ellicott Street, scheduled to be constructed by April 2021. Photo via Ciminelli Real Estate

City Responds to Parking Concerns at 201 Ellicott Street Development

Downtown residential units have completely changed parking demands

April 19, 2019 - 1:59 pm
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BUFFALO (WBEN) - Prominent local developers Carl Paladino and Rocco Termini have been outspoken in their concerns over parking near the 201 Ellicott Street development site.

“The Adam’s ramp is full and has a waiting list at least six months old,” Paladino said at a zoning meeting Wednesday. “Things are not good downtown…Downtown parking has been misused for so many years because many years back…the city decided they will take money out of municipal parking.”

Paladino also noted that All-Pro parking is owned by Paul Ciminelli and warned that he will raise parking rates.

“This stinks to high heaven,” he said.

However, Ciminelli defended the plans for the project.

“As part of this (project), we’re also pushing the transit-oriented development component of it,” said Ciminelli Real Estate spokesperson Matt Davison. “We’re right next to the metro. We’re right next to the NFTA bus station. We have great sidewalks and a lot of accessibility downtown. We feel like with the use of Uber, Lyft, and all of different mechanisms like Zipcar, now is the right time for a modern development like this.”

The city also discussed some of the project's concerns, as Brendan Mehaffy, who serves in the mayor's office of strategic planning, says the administration is confident that these worries will be resolved.

"A lot of the issues that have been raised have been thoroughly studied, and we feel confident that, both with the project itself and with subsequent actions that we may be taking, all of those concerns will be addressed," said Mehaffy. "We have done an analysis of the parking, and within a couple of blocks of the site, there's already 2,500 parking spaces, and that's just a couple block. That doesn't take into account all of the other modes of transportation that people take to get to work or to get to downtown, generally. So, that has been studies, and again, in the work that we've done, most of that will be absorbed into existing spaces in the downtown area."

As Buffalo is seeing a resurgence of downtown development, the parking problems that are starting to pop up more today weren't thought about as much just 15 years ago. 

"I think a lot of what we have done in terms of transportation downtown spoke to a downtown that existed 15 years ago, which was not as vibrant and did not have as much energy as it does today," said Mehaffy. "We have to explore all options; we have over 2,000 residential units in the downtown area that didn't exist. You have more than one person living in most of those units, so you have 3,000 to 4,000 more people living in the downtown area, so that changes the parking and transportation demands completely and it's something that we need to take into account."

The question a parking ramp infrastructure has come up in discussion according to Mehaffy, but he says 1,000-space parking ramps generally cost about $30 million, which would obviously be a hefty investment from the city. 

"The question is, 'Are there more efficient and less expensive ways that we can achieve the same outcome?'" began Mehaffy. "If we're investing $1.5 million to $2 million in debt service, is there another way we can spend $1.5 to $2 million in transportation services that collaborate with the NFTA, or developing a shuttle service or things of that nature, which are less expensive for taxpayers in the City of Buffalo at the end of the day."

Listen to the full conversation with Mehaffy below:

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