Buffalo, NY’s Metro Rail stations have TOD potential


Buffalo, NY is interested in pursuing TOD around its seven northern Metro Rail stations. A proposed extension could take the line further north to the University of Buffalo’s main campus. (Image: GBNRTC, TOD Market Readiness memo)

In 2016 the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) demolished an above-ground subway station and reconstructed the station as part of a joint development with the University of Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine. The new building and surrounding campus is expected to support 20,000 workers by 2020 and integrating the Allen-Medical Campus Station with the new building will help significantly increase ridership for Buffalo, NY’s Metro Rail line, according to officials.

That initial foray into integrated development is the basis for talk of future TOD around the seven existing subway stations north of the Allen-Medical Campus Station. “In each case, the NFTA would retain ownership of all the properties, but would lease the ground to a developer,” looking to build mixed-use projects integrated with the subway. (The Buffalo News) NFTA hopes such development will help generate revenue in addition to increased ridership. A request for qualifications is going out nationally to gauge interest.

The process for redevelopment also follows extensive TOD planning over the last few years by the local metropolitan planning organization, GBNRTC (Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council). A number of planning resources and developed typologies show the opportunities and challenges that exist along the current rail line and the proposed expansion to the north.

The availability of subway stations for redevelopment is rare for transit agencies in the United States, but, when available, joint development can generate increased revenues and riders. For more information on joint development, TODresources.org has a number of documents including an APTA standards document on joint development and partnerships and a webinar on making joint development work.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.