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New Millennium Group Claims Too Much Downtown Parking

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The New Millennium Group says there's too much parking in downtown Buffalo and is calling for a moratorium on any additional parking ramps and lots.

Major expansion of the Augspurger ramp at Huron and Franklin Streets is underway. It includes the demolition of the former Church of Scientology building. Members of the New Millennium Group stood at Huron and Franklin Wednesday, a corner surrounded by surface lots and ramps, to demonstrate how much parking exists.

The group says 50 percent of downtown property is devoted to lots and ramps. The New Millennium's Nate Neumann says without a major business moving into downtown, ramp expansion should not occur.

"For example, if there is a large scale office tower or residential complex that would justify the need for a large scale investment in downtown, the Augspurger Ramp will have a large ten story ramp with 800 to 900 spaces," Neumann said. "But (currently) there is no significant investment within the vicinity of this ramp."

The New Millennium Group says a comprehensive plan is needed to better manage existing parking. Neumann says the city, county and NFTA should create a broader range of transportation choices.

"We would like to see more park-and-ride, for example. The Metro Rail could be expanded," Neumann said. "But not even going that far, express shuttles could be employed at park and ride lots in the suburbs that go straight into downtown."

Buffalo Common Council Member David Francyzk says the city should not be demolishing buildings to put up ramps.

"The gratuitous clearing out and strip mining of buildings that contribute to the urban fabric in the alleged interest of the need of parking has got to stop," Franczyk said.

Francyzk and North District Council Member Joseph Golombek are supporting a resolution already before the Council that calls for a moratorium on new ramps.

The New Millennium Group says the city continues to spend millions on more subsidized parking.

Attempts to reach Mayor Masiello and Buffalo Place for comment on downtown parking were unsuccessful.