8:48 am
Wed December 18, 2013

NFTA and city share vision for improved Niagara Street

A vision is emerging for dramatic change along Niagara Street as the NFTA looks to improve service for one of its busiest routes.

Plans for Niagara Street were on display at a Tuesday night public meeting at Holy Cross School.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The transit authority and the city are jointly working on improving Niagara Street, especially in the Downtown core. That's everything from the black top to the pace of Metro Bus traffic.

Last night at a public meeting, the authority talked about some of the plans for public transportation along the street, from new compressed natural gas buses to a neighborhood transit center to serve Black Rock and Riverside.

Surface Transportation Director Tom George says a big thing is a new system letting buses get some control over traffic signals.

"It eliminates the signal from the timing considerations so now you get through the signal in your normal pace and your normal timing," George explained.

"You load and now after a normal stop and before the light you have to load and then wait for the signal to change. In this case, after you load your passengers you can then disembark immediately and continue on the corridor. So there should be some efficiencies in the operation of the corridor from this model."

George says the goal is to encourage a community where many ride buses to be more comfortable in waiting for the buses.

The plan will start going into effect later next year as the city works to improve and widen portions of the street.

New bus shelters will feature electronic signs offering bus information. Officials say the improvements could show up on other routes.