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Metro Rail extension expected to create new development

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Mike Desmond/WBFO News
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As the NFTA prepares environmental impact studies on a possible Metro Rail extension, planners are also looking at specific station sites and what development might take place around the locations. The issues were examined during a Wednesday public meeting at UB's Hayes Hall.

The event was sponsored by the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council. Most of the attendees offered some positive comments.  

"It makes sense," said Fran Sullivan of extending the rail to UB's North Campus in Amherst. 

"University districts bring people from all across the world and you want easy access and you want to tie it with the refurbished Downtown."

Some of the station sites under consideration are along Dodge Road and near the Northtown Plaza. Some would be surface stations. Others would be underground.

Hal Morse, executive director of the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation, says a number of factors are being weighed as sites are determined.

"What's the character of the community? What would be best in that area? What do residents want? What would strengthen that local area and give stronger development opportunities?" Morse offered.

"For different community character and character types, you would probably want different kinds of development."

Planners are also studying a southern extension into the Cobblestone District to aid development of the old DL&W station.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.