The world?s largest rubber duck made its way to Canalside in Buffalo last weekend for a three-day waterfront visit that drew approximately 100,000 people. Combine this with the increasing popularity of Canalside and its many restaurants and attractions, a Buffalo Bisons baseball game and a concert at the arena Saturday night, and we were left with something that has rarely occurred in the past … a traffic nightmare in downtown Buffalo!
While some changes are in the works, such as converting one-way streets into two-way thoroughfares, maybe it?s time to begin thinking outside the box. Has the time come for Buffalo to consider adding a people mover?
A people mover is an elevated light rail system that stops at numerous popular locations and runs seven days a week. Because it?s elevated, it is unencumbered by vehicle and pedestrian traffic, making it a quick and efficient way to move people in and out of the busy downtown area. Many major metropolitan areas across the country and around the world already have them in place, so the template is already there.
While a people mover may be many years away, public transportation is another way to alleviate our growing traffic concerns. In Niagara Falls, Ontario, for example, WeGo buses are a great way to get around the city and see the sights while leaving your car behind. The buses travel a 19-mile loop all day, and guests can hop on or off as often as they?d like for one low price. Electric-powered trams featuring infotainment systems. Detachable cars. Transit signal prioritization. These aren?t space age ideas. The future is now.
While no one likes getting stuck in traffic, this is actually a good problem to have. It means that downtown Buffalo has once again become a destination! Now, how can we make it even better?