Concerns raised over Metro Rail expansion plan

Sep 25, 2019

The proposed Metro Rail expansion project may be in for a bumpy ride. People living near the suggested new line are voicing concerns. 

About 100 people turned out for a public workshop about the proposed expansion project at Sweet Home Middle School in Amherst Monday night. The project's estimated cost is $1.2 billion. One speaker, Serena, says it's going to be a lot of wasted money. 

The public workshop attracted about a hundred people
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

"I don't really think they're going to have that many riders on that train. It takes you almost 45 minutes to get downtown on the train and if you had a car it takes you 15. So I don't think people are going to change and say let's take the train," she said. 

Metro Rail would be extended past University Station coming above ground on Niagara Falls Boulevard at about Kenmore Avenue. Tracks and stations would be in the middle of the street, reducing the boulevard to one lane in each direction. Phil Basinski says he's not opposed to the project, but says it would make more sense underground.  
"People that are trying to commute to work and Niagara Falls Boulevard, which is a 35 mile an hour route, it's congested because you've got a garbage truck they're going to redirect to the residential streets where there's going to be people moving back and forth kids waiting for school buses," Basinksi said.

At the Boulevard Mall trains would turn east on Maple Road to Sweet Home Road through UB's North Campus out to Audubon Parkway and Interstate 990. Nick Henry lives on the Tonawanda side of the Boulevard and volunteers with Kenilworth Fire Company just around the corner from his house.  
"If anybody wants to sell their house they can expect to take a big hit. Response times? Something like this could potentially increase our response time by minutes," he said.

NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel tells WBFO News all the comments will be considered.
"We encourage to visit our website if they didn't have the opportunity to come here tonight. We want to hear from as many people as possible so that the concerns that are out there we can address them."