I was born in Buffalo and grew up south of the city. My brother still lives in the area. I left the area after college so I have not been to downtown Buffalo in many years. It’s time for a visit.
Buffalo is being reborn. I remember the days of booming industry and then the beginning of the decline. I’ve been away for most of those years but spent many of those years in Syracuse, a sister city that went through a similar decline.
But things are changing. The new Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus being built in the downtown area is spurring unprecedented growth. Housing units are popping up all along the city’s Metro Rail system. There will be more than 17,000 workers at the medical campus and many of them will be looking to live in the city.
And why is that?
According to this story in the Buffalo News, the medical complex built a 9-story, $42 million parking garage for patients and visitors to the complex but they would rather spend their money on the medical facility than on more parking and there is no room anyway to build an additional parking structure for cars for 17,000 + employees. So they are encouraging (you might say forcing) their employees to live in the city and to use public transportation. The medical complex’s president was quoted as saying – “This is how you force culture change. We’re actually doing it.”
The Metro system has been around for 30 years and has been underutilized. At one point they thought of dismantling it. Good thing they didn’t.
Disincentives (like not offering parking) are sometimes necessary to make people change their ways and then they realize that the new way is so much better than the old way.