Features: The consulting team of DESMAN and Economics Research Associates (ERA) was hired by the Downtown Buffalo Parking Infrastructure Task Force to produce a parking and access study which outlines the strategies, options and opportunities for the City of Buffalo and its civic partners to provide adequate, safe and convenient facilities/services to promote the continued development of the downtown area. Critical to this analysis was the financial and spacial (location) evaluation of parking pricing and its relationship to transit and the marketing value of commercial real estate. The consultants worked with a task force consisting of public and private sector representatives including M&T Bank, Buffalo Place Inc., the Board of Parking, and various property owners.
Description: Based on peak period (11am-1pm) field surveys of publicly available off-street parking, DESMAN found that an overall surplus of 1,390 spaces current exists. However, a majority of that surplus exists in surface lots on the periphery of the study area (lots south of the Thruway, north of Chippewa St., and east of Oak St.). Parking deficiencies are most significant in and around Main Place Mall, in blocks north of the Convention Center and south of City Hall. The parking rates charged in publicly owned and BCAR operated facilities are below those charged at privately owned/operated facilities. In fact, monthly rates in ramps which are dedicated to large office buildings can be as high as $120 (in comparison to $38 to $73 for non-reserved parking in the Ellicott/Oak lot and Fernback Ramp respectively).
Working with Buffalo Place, Inc. and BERC, five (5) potential development projects were identified, including Angelica Theater, the Convention Center, and the Inner Harbor Project. By combining existing conditions with future (development & absorption) scenarios, a parking deficit of 800 (Current Trend), 1,063 (Modest Growth) or 2,365 (Aggressive Growth) should be anticipated. The vast majority of these deficits would exist in the Main-Genesee and Retail Core sectors of the downtown. Given the compact nature of the future parking deficits, DESMAN suggests that 2,200 parking spaces be constructed, approximately 1,400 in the M&T North Lot and approximately 800 spaces in the Ellicott/Oak surface lot.
Apart from the recommendations for physical improvements, DESMAN evaluated alternative transit, customer service, pricing, parking management and public parking policy improvements. Each alternative was evaluated in terms of its effect on parking demand and the relative cost effectiveness of such improvements in comparison to parking facility construction.
City of Buffalo Parking & Financial Feasibility Study
City of Buffalo