In our city, transit is a human right. Currently, there is a great need for accessible, reliable, affordable transportation that could connect community. That provides access to essential resources. That offer stability in education, employment, housing, and medical care. With these needs in mind, our demands for a just and equitable transit system include:
The NFTA should eliminate all route and time restrictions on Buffalo Public School student passes so that students have full access to transportation when and where they need it.
The NFTA should create a legally-binding community benefits agreement (CBA) for any development that is related to the public transit system or otherwise involves NFTA property. These CBAs should be negotiated with resident representatives from the projects’ surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that community needs are met. These CBAs should also mandate that any project incorporate Complete Streets principles.
The City of Buffalo should establish its sidewalk snow removal pilot as a permanent program and expand its service area to all streets within City limits.
The system has been overly complicated and restrictive for students who receive bus passes from their schools that limit the times they can ride the bus and rail and which routes they are allow to take. They are riding buses packed with students from other school and riders from the public trying to get to where they need to go throughout the day. A new, tentative contract has been agreed on by the NFTA and the Buffalo Public School District, pending approval by the Board of Education. This agreement would lower the number of bus passes used, from roughly 7 supplementary bus passes to 3 main passes. It will also remove the route restrictions previously in place unless disciplinary actions are taken and a student is put on a restricted pass. We must now ensure these changes are implemented and done so efficiently.
Community benefits agreements (CBAs) are contracts agreed on by community groups and developers that ensure certain amenities are incorporated into development plans. This approach helps to limit harm done to communities and, by engaging with the community and responding to their needs, developers may gain community support for their project, creating a mutually beneficial arrangement. Provisions that can often be found in CBAs include requirements for affordable housing or a percentage of hiring workers locally. As the NFTA continues to revitalize the current rail stations, the Utica Station is set to be made over very soon, and plans for expansion of the light rail, CBAs should be used to ensure these developments are carried out with the most positive community impact possible.
In 2015, the Buffalo City Council created a pilot municipal sidewalk snow removal program. The intention of this program is to remove snow from city owned sidewalks on main roads, include bus routes, covering specifically Fillmore between Seneca and Main St, Clinton between Madison and Gilbert, Broadway between Bennett/Ash and Central, Genesee between Walnut and Sprenger, Delavan between Jefferson and Wright, and Bailey between Ludington and Sherman Lot near the University at Buffalo’s south campus. The issue of snow removal at bus stops and on sidewalks is a concern of safety for transit riders (and all pedestrians). The municipal snow removal program is an important one which is why we believe it’s current use should be analyzed to ensure it’s being conducted efficiently, and plans need to be made to make the program permanent as well as expanded it to other areas in need of such service.