The Buffalo Place Planning Department works on a wide range of projects and initiatives designed to enhance the function, use and understanding of Downtown Buffalo. Planning projects are both short and long term, some involving extensive collaboration with other agencies working toward long-range goals. The Planning Department collects and maintains data to help make informed decisions about Downtown Buffalo.
View a .PDF Version of the 2015 Buffalo Place Inc. Pedestrian Study Here.
- New York Main Street Programs
- Return of Vehicular Traffic to Main Street
- Queen City Hub Plan
- Access & infrastructure
- On & Off Street Parking
2015 400 & 500 Blocks New York Main Street Program
Buffalo Place Inc was awarded a $300,000 New York Main Street (NYMS) Program grant from the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal and the New York State Housing Trust Fund in December 2015. The project area includes properties between Huron Street and Lafayette Square/Court Street, along the west side of Washington Street, the east side of Pearl Street and both sides of Main Street. Properties in the grant area will be able to apply to Buffalo Place for matching funds to reimburse their building renovation expenses. Priorities for funding include:
1. Project Feasibility – Projects that will be able to progress and meet schedule
2. Project Visibility – Projects that will improve the appearance of the area and important buildings
3. Project Impact – Projects that will facilitate interior uses that improve district vitality and character
4. Projects that will renovate vacant buildings, support building occupancy and active storefronts
5. Projects that will develop new and renovate existing residential units
6. Repairs/code compliance to safeguard historic structures, ADA accessibility & energy efficiency
7. Projects that provided letters of commitment or support during State application process
Projects informally mentioned by property representatives range from new signage to full renovation of vacant structures.
Buffalo Place will also be able to invest $15,000 in Streetscape elements in the area, working with property representatives and the City of Buffalo to select appropriate improvements.
An advisory committee of design, construction and financing experts will assist Buffalo Place in selecting the projects to be funded. Projects are to be completed before November 2017.
Materials for Property Contacts: The following materials are posted for use by Theatre District Property representatives:
1. 400 & 500 Blocks NYMS Target Area Map
2. Application Form
3. Information about Experienced Architects/ Engineers
- Clinton Brown Company
- DiDonato Associates P.E., P.C.
- Flynn Battaglia
- Foit-Albert Associates
- HHL Architects
- Watts Architecture and Engineering
4. Information about Contractors
a. Recommended to Buffalo Place - Respondents to Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
- Frey Electric
- Lupini Construction
- Nate Construction Company
- Northwood Window Restoration
- O'Connell Electric
- Peyton Barlow
- Pinto Construction Services
- Raymond E. Kelley, Inc
- Superior Contracting
- The MJA Company
Also recommended to Buffalo Place
- BRD Inc. - 82 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 - (716) 847-0042
- J A Gulick Window Co. - 32 Plymouth Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201 - (716) 881-2266
- Industrial Power and Lighting Corp. - 701 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY14210 - (716) 854-1811
- Lamparelli Construction Co., Inc. - 590 Kennedy Road, Cheektowaga, NY 14227 - (716) 891-8599
- Rodems Construction Co., Inc. - 3555 Quaker Road, Orchard Park, NY 14127 - (716) 662-6990
- Sonitrol of Buffalo - 195 Elm Street, Buffalo, NY 14203-2098 - (716) 847-0900
Return of Vehicular Traffic to Main Street
Buffalo Place Inc. is working with the City of Buffalo, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the office of Congressman Brian Higgins on returning vehicular traffic to Main Street in Downtown Buffalo. Automobile traffic was removed from Main Street in 1982 when the Metro Rail system, including the pedestrian-transit mall free-fare zone on Main Street was built. The Metro Rail system opened in 1984 and has benefited Downtown and our region. However, the pedestrian transit mall limited access to Main Street and contributed to diminished occupancy and development, especially for first floor store fronts.
NEW Lower – Main / 100 Block Design and Construction
With the support of a competitive 2015 $18 Million TIGER VII grant, the City of Buffalo is progressing with final design and construction of the block between Exchange and Scott Street. The design process, led by the Public Works Department, started in Summer of 2016 and it must be completed and ready for bidding by the end of 2016. Construction of this section will start in Spring 2017 and with completion in fall of 2018.
The design team is led by DiDonato Engineering, who were also the lead consultants for preliminary engineering and 700, 600 and 500 Block sections. Mathews Neilson will again provide streetscape design with engineering work by Mott MacDonald; Watts Engineering and Bergmann Associates. Preliminary design concepts are being discussed and developed over the next months with updates posted here for review. Please send any of your comments to Buffalo Place for forwarding to City Public Works and the design team at email@example.com
Lower Main Street Rehabilitation Project - PIN 5761.21
Design Meeting Minutes
July 27, 2016 Streetscape Design Presentation
• Canal Gardens – Special landscaping, planting and seating where the Erie Canal replicas intersect Main Street
• Canal Gardens Pavement Options – Alternative pavement choices for the section of Main at the intersection of the replica Canals. Committee members prefer using the poured grey concrete with oblong scoring pattern used at the entry ramp to the West Canal at the skating and boating concessions. Poured concrete holds up better than pavers, over time, and a larger area can be treated. An additional alternate will be prepared to illustrate use of the grey concrete to completely fill the canal zone from the trackbed to the property line.
• Plan Alternatives – Alternatives illustrating use of flexible short term parking spaces (similar to Fountain Plaza) at the third and fourth Metro Rail train cars vs. wider tree and landscape planters
• Underpass Fence Options – Existing fences on the east side of Main under the I-190 will be replaced. Three sections are defined and illustrated with photos on the first page. A stainless steel railing and picket fence is proposed, similar to fences used near traffic gates in the completed Cars on Main Street blocks. Laser cut stainless steel panels would be integrated into the fence at the four I-190 columns. The columns would be illuminated, showing off a “wheat” design laser cut into the stainless steel panels. Wheat is used to celebrate the role of Buffalo as first the terminus of the Erie Canal, and then as a railroad transportation center, in linking the east coast population centers to wheat and farm goods from the mid-west/ Great Lakes states. A raised curb option is also illustrated.
• Memorial Auditorium Commemorative Plaza – Artifacts from Memorial Auditorium will be made available to be placed on the west side of Main Street under the I-190 bridge. A special pavement design to resemble an ice surface will be used. Two carved eagles and the City Seal and statues from the Main Street facade will be placed on the Plaza. A bronze pavement marker, in the style of the Memorial Auditorium corner stone, will be installed. Power will be provided for historic interpretive signage to be added by others in the future.
• Lower Main Roll Plan. This plan shows the street layout for the project area. Of special interest is the redesign of Exchange Street between Pearl and Main Street.– Exchange at the intersection of Main will be narrowed so that both east and west bound traffic can drive between the Seneca One Tower sidewalk and the Thruway bridge. This will create a larger parcel under the Thuway Bridge and narrow the pedestrian crossing of Exchange Street after Main is reopened.
Initial design ideas for Lower Main Street were presented to property owners on June 29th:
General ideas discussed:
The area between the replica canals will include historic Erie Canal interpretive elements
Fountain Plaza/ 500 Block Design and Construction
Fountain Plaza and the 500 Block section of Main Street between Chippewa and Mohawk Streeets was funded by a 2011 $15 Million TIGER III grant, and funds from New York State and the City of Buffalo. Preliminary design concepts are posted below.
The design team was led by DiDonato Associates and include Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Foit-Albert Associates, and Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers.
600 Block Final Design and Construction
This City of Buffalo project is being managed by the Public Works Department. The design team is led by DiDonato Associates, who were also the lead consultants for preliminary engineering. Team members include Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers. Many of the design elements used in this block will be familiar to visitors of the 700 Block of Main Street, including: sandstone exposed aggregate concrete sidewalks, the planter layout, plant materials, benches, trash receptacles and bike racks.
One-sided Pedestrian Directories will also be placed on Pearl Street at Curtain-Up Alley and on Washington Street where pedestrians pass through to Main, at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center(MAFAC)
The City of Buffalo Public Works Department presented 90% Design to 600 Block property and tenant representatives on March 16th, 2011. Alternatives selected during the 70% Design review were discussed, and a few additional choices were made at the meeting. Click Here to look at 90% Design plans.
70% Design Drawings
Queen City Hub Plan
In 2005, the American Planning Association (APA) awarded The Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo the Outstanding Planning Award for a Plan. APA is a nonprofit public interest and research organization committed to urban, suburban, regional and rural planning. The award is the highest honor a plan can receive from this prestigious association of professional planners.
The winning of the “Outstanding Planning Award” by the Queen City Hub is just the latest in a string of positive developments occurring in Downtown Buffalo. New residential development has been completed or is continuing at The Belesario, The Sidway Apartments, Ellicott Lofts, IS Lofts, Granite Works, The Lofts at Elk Terminal, Holling Place Apartments and the Pierce Building. The upscale Washington Market has opened and new construction projects are underway or have been announced with the expansion of Erie Community College and the $100 million headquarters for HealthNow New York. Public concerts and events continue to draw huge crowds and national attention, including the ever popular Thursday at Canalside Concert Series and Taste of Buffalo. Work is progressing on the Erie Canal Harbor Project. During this decade Downtown will enjoy $1 Billion in new investment, with $400 million already completed or under construction. We look forward to helping to spur more positive development in in the future and working together with all of our partners to produce a more vibrant, prosperous and vital Downtown Buffalo.
The action plan provides discrete recommendations within nine topic areas. These nine areas are organized into activities and the principles that guide those activities. The activities for Downtown are living, working, shopping, and visiting. The principles that will guide the activities are access, urban design and management, preservation, energy and green design and image. Support for The Queen City Hub implementation has come from the private sector, state and local government and the academic community. This important and innovative plan will guide Downtown for many years to come. The Board of Directors and staff of Buffalo Place Inc. would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize our partners the City of Buffalo and the Urban Design Project of the University at Buffalo for their hard work and commitment to Downtown Buffalo. To download a version of the Queen City Hub Plan, click here for Volume One and click here for Volume Two. For a Queen City Hub Summary click here for Poster1 and click here for Poster 2.
What’s in a Plan? A Plan is more than just ideas and words. It’s a course of action, based on quantifiable research, that is the crucial first step in spurring development and creating long term, substantial growth. Without a plan, there can be no coordinated development. The Queen City Hub Plan was a collaborative effort and included the input and participation of dozens of public and private sector constituents in our Implementation Council and literally thousands of citizens and stakeholders in plan development and review. With the publicity and recognition that follow the awarding of the industry’s leading planning award, the dream for a new Buffalo is one step closer to becoming a reality.
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Access & Infrastructure
Access: The Planning Department at Buffalo Place manages the implementation of Downtown access projects through the Access Infrastructure Task Force. This multi-agency task force including the NFTA, City of Buffalo, BCAR, GBNRTC, BNMC, ECIDA, and interested Downtown advocates continues to meet monthly to work towards completion of an agreed upon work plan. Access Task Force members have evaluated and prioritized the tasks remaining from the Destination Downtown Buffalo 2002 report and new access projects identified in the Queen City Hub plan. Buffalo Place initiatives on the task list include:
Pedestrian Improvements at High Volume NYS Highway Streets: The Queen City Hub planning process identified the problem pedestrians have crossing busy NYSDOT highway streets Elm, Oak, Tupper and Goodell and how these streets have become barriers between Downtown and nearby residential areas. A committee including representatives from nearby businesses, the City of Buffalo, BNMC, GBNRTC, ECIDA and NYSDOT identified the specific issues on these streets and outlined a process to develop recommendations to be submitted to NYSDOT for consideration.
Two-Way Streets: The Planning Department continues to act as a liaison for communication between the City of Buffalo, property owners and building tenants during the conversion of one-way streets to two-way traffic. New two-way streets have made Downtown more user friendly for businesses and visitors while improving security by increasing the number of cars and eyes on the street. In 2004 Washington Street between Goodell and N. Division became two-way. Next, the northern portions of Ellicott and Washington between Downtown and the BNMC will be converted and feasibility work will start to consider if Pearl, the 700 block of Main Street and Goodell should be changed to two-way.
Urban Design: Urban Design has become one of the priority action areas of the Queen City Hub, with the development of a work plan, prioritizing action items and conducting preliminary research. The Operations Committee of Buffalo Place has adopted this topic. A subcommittee has been established to work on creating Urban Design Guidelines for Downtown, in particular to support the 700 block of Main Street as a residential focus area
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On & Off Street Parking
On-Street Parking: Throughout the past six years, Buffalo Place has worked to reprice meters and change parking regulations to make better use of curb parking in Downtown.
Buffalo Place provided a staff person to work directly with the City Division of Traffic Engineering to repeal and install new parking meter regulations. To date, 530 Downtown meters have been installed or repriced with appropriate signage to reflect the changes on street and 1,100 more will be completed soon. The Division of Parking Enforcement continues to change prices at the curb and install new meters where possible. The plan calls for creation of some 500 all day meters and free parking in areas that do not attract short-term parkers. Short-term rates priced at $0.50 and $1.00 an hour are distributed based on parking demand throughout Downtown.
Off-Street Parking: As part of our ongoing mission to improve access, Buffalo Place created and maintains a comprehensive database of commercial and non-commercial parking facilities. Collected data includes lot ownership, number of spaces, price, peak hour occupancy and contact information. This information is used to inform Downtown users of the location, price and convenience of parking options. CLICK HERE to access our Downtown Publicly Available Parking Map - Publicly Available Parking (NEW)