More than 1,000 new parking spaces will be opening up soon on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The city and the campus have agreed to replace an existing ramp near Buffalo General Hospital with a much larger facility.
Fruit Belt neighborhood residents have been voicing concerns about getting squeezed out by the growing Medical Campus in a parking crunch. The deal will nearly double the size of the Ellicott-Goodrich Garage.
Mayor Byron Brown admits the new ramp will not solve all the parking issues, but he says it should help. Brown says as the campus continues to grow, there will not be room for everyone to park in the surrounding community.
"This anticipates some of that growth. This will capture some of the new employees and patients that will be coming here. This is one just one part of a comprehensive plan that we're going to have to employ to address the parking concerns of the residents," Brown said.
Limiting on-street parking with residential permits, Brown says, requires state legislation.
"We will be working very closely with the state and we will have more comment on what our strategy will be in the coming weeks," he said.
Common Council President Darius Pridgen says under the agreement, 20 percent of the ramp's cash flow will go to the surrounding community.
"I was more concerned about that 20 percent than any portion of this agreement because it shows the commitment that this campus has to the residents and the businesses and the people," Pridgen said Tuesday morning.
Brown says the cost of demolishing the old garage and building the new ramp is still being determined, but he says the cost will be borne by the Medical Campus and not taxpayers. He says he wants to "fast-track" construction so the parking ramp's opening coincides with that of the new Children's Hospital and the new UB Medical School.