by Newell Nussbaum at Buffalo Rising
The Intermodal Transportation Hub at the Exchange Street Station is now complete. The station opened up this past weekend for the first passengers. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo made the announcement that the project was on time and on budget. The first train to roll through the station was also on time.
“Access to multiple forms of transportation is essential to growing any local economy. For far too long, the Queen City has been without a welcoming rail station that’s commensurate with the growth Western New York has experienced in recent years,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the hard work of so many people, Buffalo now has the modern transportation hub it deserves – and with the completion of this project we are sending a message that we can still build and get things done even during COVID.”
“As a native Western New Yorker, I saw firsthand the renaissance of the region with transformative community and waterfront developments,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This new station is a shining beacon of hope for the future as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a symbol of Buffalo’s strength and resiliency, enhancing transportation and connectivity in the area. Downtown Buffalo has become a destination, and this station extends a vital corridor to the waterfront and continues our efforts to build back better our economy, increase tourism and enhance quality of life.”
The new $29.8 million state-of-the-art transportation center is conveniently situated in close proximity to local bus and light rail service, as well as the downtown business hub, which is why this spot was chosen instead of The Central Terminal.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Governor Cuomo understands that a modern transportation network is the linchpin of a vibrant and growing economy. This new, world-class Buffalo Station is part of New York State’s historic commitment to not only restore our transportation infrastructure but build it back better and more resilient for the benefit of this generation and generations to come. The Station exemplifies the Department of Transportation’s continued capability to design and build world class transportation facilities across New York State.”
A new pedestrian plaza has also been created, which extends underneath an LED-lit ramp that leads travelers towards Canalside.
The building is twice the size of the last station (40+ seats) and is well lit with plenty of natural light – a far cry from the last depot. There is also car and bike parking.
“We are delighted to open this new Buffalo Exchange Street Station, which will benefit Western New York residents and visitors when traveling in and out of the state,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn.“We want to thank Governor Cuomo, Mayor Brown, and NYSDOT for their partnership and collaboration in seeing this state-of-the-art station open.”
A Taste NY kiosk has also been added to the line-up, serving local food and beverages – the kiosk will be open on weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will add evening hours in November, from 6 to 9 p.m. You can click here to see the local flavors that will be offered.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The new Exchange Street Station will be a tremendous benefit to Buffalo’s community and economy, giving both residents and travelers an increased opportunity to connect with all that is great about New York State, including our top-notch New York-grown and produced foods and beverages. Whether inside the station at our Taste NY kiosk, or across the whole Western New York region, our homegrown products will be highlighted, boosting our New York food and farm businesses and local economies.”
The former train station accommodated around 38,000 passengers annually. The expectation is that this new station will attract a lot more travelers, although the pandemic means that fewer people are traveling these days.
“For years, Buffalo’s Exchange Street Amtrak Station sat neglected and often unusable, yet full of potential in the heart of our evolving downtown corridor. That changes today,” said Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Now, we can proudly welcome visitors to a state-of-the-art station that prioritizes ridership and intermodal transportation. This marks a strong investment from New York State yet again, and demonstrates that great community-minded partnerships will continue to transform the Queen City.”