Exchange Street as New Train Station Location?

New location would create a transportation hub in Downtown Buffalo

Mike Baggerman
April 17, 2017 - 4:20 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - As the deadline approaches for the Buffalo Train Station Site Selection Committee to make their official decision on where to put the new train station, a meeting was held on Monday to highlight the Exchange Street location.

The meeting was held by Campaign for Great Buffalo History, Architecture, and Culture's Executive Director Tim Tielman.

"We are endorsing a new train station for Buffalo at Washington Street that's part of a larger inter-modal transportation hub that will combine trains with NFTA buses, intercity buses - Greyhound, Trailways, Megabus -, the Metro Rail, our bike system, our ferry system, and our walking system," Tielman said. 

By placing the new train station at this location, it would replace the current, worn-down Amtrak station which Tielman calls "an embarrassment". The current station can be entered via Exchange Street. The new building would use the same tracks but be entered at Washington Street. 

"The cost here (is) much lower because you're not modifying any track whatsoever," Tielman said. "You're using the existing right of way so the cost is creating the station itself. That's not the case at the Central Terminal. Disturbingly, for someone who's interested in historic preservation and has been trying to get that building preserved for a long time, actually no money at all in one proposal and perhaps five percent in another proposal is to be used for historic rehabilitation of that building. The costs there range from the mid-$50-60 million to above $130 million and that doesn't get you historic rehabilitation of the terminal building itself, it gets you train service."

The cost of the Exchange Street site, which Tielman estimates "liberally" at $50 million. He said engineers are estimating the cost to be in the $30-40 million range.

One of the notable hiccups with the potential Exchange Street location is the noise caused by the I-190 and Route 5. Tielman explained that the $50 million cost would factor the cost of noise-dampening 

"If you remove the Skyway, you open up twice as much land for development," he said. "There are other routes I think cars can take, but something like the Skyway, given today's laws and public recourse, that thing would have never been built."

The committee meets for the final time on Thursday. Governor Cuomo gave the committee until April 26 to make a decision as to where the new train station must go. 

 

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