Starting today, Metro Rail trains will no longer be stopping at the Theater Station platform in downtown Buffalo.
After 30 years of service, the inbound and outbound Theater Station platforms were used for the last time Sunday. They're now closed and slated for demolition as part of the City of Buffalo's "Returning Cars to Main Street" project.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Director of Public Affairs Douglas Hartmayer says on average there about 1,500 boardings at the station each day. Hartmayer says the NFTA had no other option.
"Because of the closeness of the portal, when the train comes up onto Main Street...there were very many safety concerns with the design of that if the station had remained," Hartmayer said.
As for possibly moving Theater Station south on Main Street?
"It would be too close to Fountain Plaza and it just wasn't feasible or practical to do it that way," Hartmayer said.
The Fountain Plaza station is now the first and the last stop in the above ground Free Fare Zone.
Twenty-five-year-old Derrick Steele, who has been using the Theater Station since he was a young child, says its closing is not a big deal for him.
"As long it still come into downtown. Church Street is the street I use the most, so as long as I can get to Church Street I'll be fine," Steele said.
Removing the stations clears the way for constructing one travel lane on each side of the Metro Rail tracks, 45 parking spaces, bike lanes, and new landscaping.
The 600 block is expected to be reopened to vehicles for the first time in nearly 30 years by the fall, with a goal of revitalizing the many vacant storefronts along Main Street.