NFTA needs to connect UB, Medical campuses

I am very worried that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority would even consider sinking $100 million to “extend” the Metro Rail a walkable two blocks from the current end point at the DL&W station, and on top of that make it elevated. If the NFTA wants to increase ridership, it would be much better served by extending the rail northward to the University at Buffalo North Campus. I know this is not a new idea, but for the NFTA to offer rail options to commuters who already are driving downtown defeats the purpose of light rail in the first place.

The NFTA’s real opportunity lies with connecting UB North to UB South Campus and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. There is plenty of room for park-and-ride lots near the North Campus, as well as premium access to the Youngmann Highway, which would alleviate parking issues for commuters coming from the Northtowns to the Medical Campus. This campus intentionally has a lack of parking to encourage alternative modes of transportation such as rail and bus.

By connecting the largest student population in Western New York to the Medical Campus, Canalside, First Niagara Center and all points between, we would better serve a larger section of our community, rather than only the commuters looking for downtown parking.

As gas prices continue to rise and our city continues to evolve, it is time for the NFTA to offer real solutions to our transportation needs. Rather than settling for a piecemeal solution that fails to address the real transportation issues, we instead should come up with a solution that creates connectivity between our region’s most valuable assets – UB, the Medical Campus and the waterfront – while increasing ridership revenues for the NFTA.

Jason Kulaszewski