Robert Shibley is one of the Buffalo Niagara region and Rust Belt’s preeminent urban thinkers and has been significantly involved in many critical WNY master plans including the Buffalo comprehensive plan and UB’s development of a comprehensive plan for its three-campus footprint, including the emerging downtown campus, served as the facilitator in discussions as to where the new Amtrak station should be situated.
A committee comprised of local politicians and other leaders evaluated six criteria areas, including construction costs, readiness, and environmental factors, and voted, 11-4, that the station should be built downtown. A downtown site was preferred not only by local politicians, but also by CSX Transportation representatives who said a Central Terminal location was near a busy freight yard that could cause delays to Amtrak trains.
The new Amtrak station will replace the city’s Exchange Street Station, which is outdated and too small for downtown Buffalo’s burgeoning population. Whether passengers will get off at Canalside, near the existing Exchange Street location or another site altogether, will be up to the state Department of Transportation. The biggest advantage to a downtown station, according to supporters: proximity to hotels and restaurants and other modes of transportation.
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