One of the Buffalo region’s urban planning experts has agreed to serve as lead facilitator in the discussions about the development of a potential new train station.
Robert Shibley, dean of the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, will lead the six-month discussion at the request of Mayor Byron Brown.
Shibley’s agreement comes less than 24 hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered to pay up to $1 million for a consultant and study to determine the best location for the station, which would replace the current facility on Exchange Street just behind Coca-Cola Field.
Cuomo gave Buffalo a hard six-month deadline to resolve the station’s locational issue, otherwise Buffalo is responsible for the $1 million or any other costs related to the study.
Brown said Shibley was the obvious choice to lead the station initiative.
“He is known for his strong experience in successfully addressing architectural and planning challenges as well as bringing innovative thinking to his work that will help ensure that this process will be inclusive, successful and stay on track,” Brown said.
Shibley helped design the Queen City Hub development blueprint that is serving as the guidelines for downtown’s economic resurgence and he also crafted the UB 2020 blueprint for the university.
Shibley recognizes the challenge that comes with the Amtrak station study.
“This is an important decision for Buffalo and the region,” he said. “We need to consider not only what location will best support Amtrak ridership, but how it will promote greater transportation connectivity overall, and how any given site will advance out other goals in the city building process.”
Among the two most mentioned sites are renovating the Central Terminal in Buffalo’s Broadway-Fillmore District or constructing a new Canalside station.
“Given all that, I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions, but conduct the due diligence required to make the right decision.”