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Green Code Document

Green Code Document

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The Western New York Environmental Alliance submitted these comments in response to the City of Buffalo's proposed Green Code document.

Many members of the Alliance have worked with the City on the open planning process and have appreciated the outreach efforts of Brendan R. Mehaffy, Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and his staff. Their hope is that these comments will add to the value of the Green Code document.

They understand that the policy that this document represents will be most reflected in the wording of any new or amended zoning code. The WNY Environmental Alliance looks forward to staying involved in this process and providing their expertise, comments
and insight.
The Western New York Environmental Alliance submitted these comments in response to the City of Buffalo's proposed Green Code document.

Many members of the Alliance have worked with the City on the open planning process and have appreciated the outreach efforts of Brendan R. Mehaffy, Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and his staff. Their hope is that these comments will add to the value of the Green Code document.

They understand that the policy that this document represents will be most reflected in the wording of any new or amended zoning code. The WNY Environmental Alliance looks forward to staying involved in this process and providing their expertise, comments
and insight.

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Buffalo’s Green Code
The basis for the work of the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) – the Environmental Declaration of and Shared Agenda for Action – provide a framework through which we view the Green Code process and will view its outcomes. WNYEA knows that our environmental resources are immeasurable assets; they have direct impacts on our quality of life and our economy. As such, there is not a dichotomy between economy and environment; rather the environment’s stewardship should be seen as a source of sustained wealth for all of us. WNYEA continues to believe in the importance of Buffalo’s Green Code and is happy to participate in this ongoing process. The administration should again be commended for its efforts in this important arena. As outlined in the attached document (page 1), there are several main elements in the approach to the plan that could use attention to make the document stronger, more functional, and more effective: 1) Definitions and Metrics must be added for clarity and progress evaluation. 2) Corridors and District place types need additional development and refinement to adequately capture the nuanced purposes of these spaces while protecting good urban design. 3) Although a good starting point, parcels should not be the only scale used to determinate and define place type, consider instead both the smaller intra-parcel scale and the larger surrounding street function as well. 4) Both definitions of and plotting of place types should be a reflection of what we aspire these places to be, not just a reflection of existing conditions. 5) The code must go beyond permissive, it must be proactive to achieve environmentally responsible development. In our letter to the administration in February of 2011, we laid out several elements that must be included in the final Green Code to achieve the aim of a truly environmentally innovative development framework. The attached document is arranged according to these themes and subheadings:
Environmental Justice Smart Growth Retail Waterfronts Vacant Land Corridors and Streets Public Space Access to Green Space Open Space Districts Natural Resource Protection and Access Urban Agriculture Public Health Healthy Lifestyles Safe Environments Public Safety Economic Integration Clean Energy Public Engagement

While no city has yet to adopt workable policies across the entire spectrum of these issues, the ongoing Green Code process affords an opportunity to adopt best practices from around the country and beyond. In learning from the successes of others, Buffalo will be in a position to achieve a cohesive and interdisciplinary approach to a responsible and sustainable city for all its residents. The Western New York Environmental Alliance is committed to helping to bring this project to fruition, and is happy to assist the City and its consultants further as the plan moves toward completion, whether that is continued participation in advisory committees and working groups, working directly with city staff to develop standards for specific issues and uses, translating best practices and policies from other cities to accommodate Buffalo’s unique on the ground conditions, or enhancing public participation through our broad networks. The many member organizations that contributed content for this review of the draft would like to again thank the administration for pursuing this review of the land use plan and zoning code. We would like to request meeting to discuss these potential areas for improvements to the Green Code. Please review the attached recommended language changes to the draft principles and let us know how we may be of assistance in the months ahead.

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Green Code
The Western New York Environmental Alliance Submits the following comments to the draft land use plan unveiled by the City of Buffalo in October 2011.
WNYEA Public Comments November 2011

Buffalo’s

The draft land use plan released at the end of October was residents’ first look at the proposals the City has crafted based on public input from across the city and from across various sectors and interests. Though the attached review is long, it should not be interpreted as a criticism of the direction of the project. Our belief is that what will draw people to Buffalo will be our ability to generate cutting edge urban thinking, design and development with a focus not just on the present but on the long term future of the City and the region. While there are many positive elements within the draft land use plan, there is room for improvement.

The Western New York Environmental Alliance’s goal is to forge a stronger, more innovative document, and a broader, more intensive dialogue is the way to achieve this aim.
We look forward to working with the City to improve the components addressed herein so that the final version of the Green Code is one that can be successful for our city as well as provide a model for other regions attempting to build a framework of a sustainable city in the 21st Century and beyond.

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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3) Parcel lines should not be the only determinant of where one place type Before addressing specific elements, ends and another begins, a broad there are several challenges within the look at context and a more finely ! In this document methodology and/or form of grained analysis are in order. Multiple document, but we are confident each place types and uses may or may not be can be addressed in future revisions. appropriate within a given parcel based Environmental Justice (page 3) on the topography, environmental Smart Growth (page 4) sensitivity, potential for stormwater 1) The document would benefit capture, existing habitat values, etc. of ! Retail (page 5) greatly from a definitions section the various sections of that parcel. This clarifying the use of various terms. ! Waterfronts (page 5) is particularly true in open space Additionally, aside from simply having designations, along waterways, and in ! Vacant Land (page 6) principles and worthwhile but areas designated as Districts. On the nebulous goals for land use, a other end of the spectrum, it would be ! Corridors and Streets (page 6) successful document will include a set beneficial for a more coherent grouping Public Space (Page 9) of measurable indicators and metrics of place types at the scale of the street to hold development accountable to or block. Ensuring that place ! Access to Green Space (page 9) those elements residents have held up classification do not shift multiple times ! Open Space Districts (page 10) to inform the future of Buffalo. within a small stretch will enhance the ability to create cohesive a sense of Natural Resource Protection and Access place. ! (page 11) 2) The document envisions the city as a collection of place types – Urban Agriculture (page 12) Neighborhoods, Districts, and 4) Mapping and plotting of place Public Health (page 13) Corridors. While there is utility in types is too often defined by the dividing the city conceptually into ! Health Lifestyles (page 13) existing land use and conditions, these categories, there remains a need rather than the conditions we would ! Safe Environments (page 14) to insure that each of these types of aspire to see. Likewise, the places are well integrated with each descriptions outlined in the Place Based Public Safety (page 14) other. Though the document Planning Handbook adhere too closely Economic Integration (page 15) acknowledges as much, it is worth to the existing form of these place types emphasizing here that designation as a and not what the desired form would Clean Energy (page 16) ‘District’ should not be an excuse to be. Though coding aspirationally may dispense with quality urban form Public Engagement (page 16) create non-conforming uses, these and urban design, but should instead grandfathered building types would place an additional responsibility on not be displaced by the zoning code these spaces to ensure an appropriate, until such time as a major welcoming and vibrant sense of place. redevelopment occurred in their place Likewise, the definition of ‘Corridor’ and, as such, should cause no practical strikes an appropriate tone and vision concern for existing uses. for these designations, but the specifics of corridor typologies are unfortunately largely 5) Though the draft is permissive to underdeveloped within the remainder environmentally sustainable practices, of the draft and is not reflected Photo by Thomas Herrera-Mischler to be truly “green” it must instead be adequately in the mapping. proactive by requiring, or at the very least incentivizing, progressive patterns and innovations in building, land use and site planning.
Draft Land Use Plan Comments 2

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Photos by Anthony Armstrong unless otherwise noted

Principles of Sustainable Development
The draft land use plan starts with an impressive and concise understanding and outlining of the development and decline of the City. This rich context provides a great basis on which to restore and rebuild Buffalo moving forward. What this context also provides is a reminder of the conditions that produced instances of inequitable, unjust, and short-sighted decision making throughout our history. While it is important to build on the strengths and qualities that make Buffalo unique, this code provides an opportunity to correct some of these past mistakes while ensuring future development occurs in a more sustainable, deliberate and equitable way.

Environmental Justice
For all of the principles and policy goals outlined in the draft plan, the draft land use plan fails to even invoke environmental justice terminology. In an impoverished city with vast disparities of race and class, which contains a disproportionate amount of contamination, the revision of the zoning and land use code must be used as an opportunity to mitigate existing environmental inequities while preventing future degradation from occurring. We must directly acknowledge the challenge of the historical and current industrial and transportation pollution that we face if we ever hope to overcome them to provide equality and opportunity for all residents. Through the lens of environmental justice, it is imperative to address the legacy waste in our community. Given the region’s industrial past, there remain many environmentally contaminated sites in the city. In fact, in Erie County there are 24 schools within a half mile of a Superfund site (WNYEA/Urban Design Project, “Mapping Waste” p. 134). Many of these sites have been ‘cleaned up’ but that often means that the contamination is still on site, is monitored, and the sites are not open to the public. Not only should there be clean fresh and healthy places to access in the city, there should be protections in place to identify and limit access to sites where there is potential contamination that could affect human health and The plan needs to adopt a clear development, especially in children. definition of environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful In addition to addressing and involvement of all people regardless of monitoring past pollution, a formrace, color, national origin, or income based rather than use-based code with respect to the development, provides opportunities for the fusion of implementation and enforcement of both a clean environment and economic environmental laws, regulations and activities. Given the new technologies policies. available to industries, it is possible for
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residential areas to be located near working industry but only if comprehensive environmental regulations are met. However, one area that still needs to be addressed is residential proximity to high volumes of automobiles and trucks. Too often surrounding neighborhoods have poor air quality and noise that continues unabated. These areas – including neighborhoods near the Peace Bridge, I-190 and Route 33, and other residential areas near high volume roads – should receive extra attention to mitigate and eliminate these negative effects. Relieving the health and wellness burden in these communities should be a top priority of the Green Code.

Adopt a clear definition of environmental justice.

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Smart Growth
The principles of Smart Growth (sidebar) that focus on creating neighborhoods with a higher quality of life and more lifestyle options are certainly laudable and applicable to future development in Buffalo. In its general application, though, Smart Growth on its own is too narrow a tool for addressing the challenges and development patterns in Buffalo, and the City’s Queen City in the 21st Century Comprehensive Plan acknowledges as much. For instance, Smart Growth is largely silent on the repurposing of vacant land or on the reinterpretation of neighborhoods that have lost their viability within the regional market. For the next 20 years or longer the city is likely to contend with this reality; however, major elements of the current draft of the land use plan do not deviate far enough from the “growth-at-all-costs” mindset that has been in direct conflict with the reality of Buffalo’s trends for the last six decades. But rejecting this growth-first mentality as out of context with reality in Buffalo’s challenged communities does not mean we should resign ourselves to lower densities and lesser expectations of vibrant urban neighborhoods. This density is critical to maintain local services with a minimum density of 11 units/acre – Buffalo’s average parcel density. As noted in the plan (Green Development text box on pg 29), we should strive to concentrate redevelopment in neighborhoods where public life is a key component. The highest achievement of a land use plan would be to direct and facilitate the growth of social capital as much as it directs the investment of financial capital.
Draft Land Use Plan Comments

But because ensuring smart, accessible, integrated neighborhoods requires more than conventional land use planning, any land use plan can offer only an incomplete picture of the elements of Smart Growth within a city’s future development. This draft’s framework of “place types” is a bridge to this broader goal, but work remains to ensure the rhetoric of Smart Growth and the reality of future development are indeed linked. There are several components of the draft land use plan where these connections are either misaligned or working at cross purposes. The Place Based P l a n n i n g Handbook, for instance, needs more clarity in its intent and definitions. For example, as employment patterns continue to shift, do the proposed place types limit or allow the kind of small-shop innovation and incubation that is the only producer of net new jobs in the national economy? “Restricted” classification types that are “generally restricted to residential uses” provide no indication if, or under what circumstances, homebased businesses are allowed. Further, multiple place types have been excluded from the Placed Based Planning Handbook. For example, though both are referenced on pages 18 and 19 in the draft land use plan, Open Space typologies are not broken out and Corridors have been omitted entirely.

S M A RT G R O W T H PRINCIPLES
CITY’S COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
THE

IN

1. Mix land uses 2. Take advantage of compact building design 3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices 4. Create walkable neighborhoods 5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place 6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas 7. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities 8. Provide a variety of transportation choices 9. Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost-effective 10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions

Elements of the draft do not deviate far enough from the “growth-at-all-costs” mindset that has been in direct conflict with the reality of Buffalo’s trends for the last six decades.

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Retail
Other categories and classifications provide more direct challenges to a sustainable vision of the city. For example, while separating suburban retail development from mixed-use neighborhood centers is laudable, it is ultimately ill-advised to encourage suburban, car-dependent development patterns anywhere in Buffalo. More emphasis, instead, needs to be placed on repairing the substantial damage that this unsustainable development pattern has already done to the city and its neighborhoods. Just because many sites throughout the city are currently single-use and non-urban, this should not relegate these sites to a continuing underutilization in the city’s future place type modeling and mapping classifications. Permitting “Retail Strips” is problematic, particularly when scattered throughout otherwise pedestrian friendly commercial areas. This type of spot zoning is detrimental to the overall goal of a people-centered city and degrades quality of life immensely. Full scale redevelopment of these single-use sites must be a priority in the plan. Special classification should not be given to “Retail Districts” that would permit them to continue to ignore the fabric of the city. Conversely, such sites should be seen as opportunities to reknit fragmented neighborhoods by continuing or restoring the street grid, linking neighborhoods along underutilized corridors, and eliminating the need for reliance on the automobile to meet basic daily needs. However, even where such sites are anticipated to remain suburban in form in the near term, provisions in the land use plan and zoning code should at least require improvement over existing conditions. For instance, requiring onsite stormwater treatment, particularly for larger scale buildings and large parking lots, requiring new outbuildings to properly front the street and to prioritize the pedestrian, establishing a maximum building footprint for ‘big box’ stores, requiring a greater mix of uses, such as upperlevel office or residential uses, while likewise requiring new buildings to be adaptable for non-retail use given the region’s over abundance of retail square footage and the continued shift in retail patterns nationwide.

Permitting “Retail Strips” is problematic, particularly when scattered throughout otherwise pedestrian friendly commercial areas.
Photo by Kevin Hayes

Special classification should not be given to “Retail Districts” that would permit them to continue to ignore the fabric of the city.

Waterfronts
Other major questions arise on the place types flagged for sensitive waterfront land. The zoning designations listed as the Outer Harbor, Buffalo River and Scajaquada Creek Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOAs) areas should reflect a "Yet to Be Determined" designation. Though the BOA process is obviously going to be a complex multi-pronged deliberation, there is a strong environmental case to made retaining these parcels as “open
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space”. The current designations including "light" and "heavy" industrial zoning reflected in the published maps is prejudicial to an outcome that may very well not reflect the highest and best use of this land. In fact, the land use and place type mapping throughout this document needs to do a better job of prioritizing parcels as crucial to watershed and waterfront access particularly – but not solely – where these lands are currently fallow.

The Outer Harbor, Buffalo River and Scajaquada Creek Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOAs) areas should reflect a "Yet to Be Determined" designation.

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Vacant Land
It is not just adjacent to our waterways should it be limited temporally. From and should be encouraged and/ or that the highest and best use of a community gardens to “tot-lots” to new designated for each community (see property may be non-conventional civic spaces, using land for community Public Space, below). Best practices development. In general, vacant land is amenities not only creates from other cities set aside sites in each an underutilized asset that is not given neighborhood cohesion, but also often sub-neighborhood to coincide with a adequate attention in this draft plan. increases aggregate land values (and specific number of households or Though the plan expands use and thereby property tax) to a higher degree population. “...WORK REMAINS TO ENSURE THE RHETORIC OF SMART GROWTH AND THE development options as an interim than a single new structure would REALITY OF neighborhoods, contribute. Specific to this point, steps in distressedFUTURE DEVELOPMENT ARE INDEED LINKED...” reinterpretation of land use must not be community gardens must be Vacant land is an limited to communities in distress, nor recognized as a viable long term use,

SMART GROWTH... A STARTING POINT

underutilized asset that is not given adequate attention

Corridors and Streets
Another missing place type, the C-TM (Metro Rail) is listed in the corridor descriptions (p.19) as an element in the land use plan, but is not visible in the future place type maps. Clarity about what the existing Metro Rail Corridor will mean in the new zoning code and zoning map is needed. The code also should plan for development along proposed corridors such as the route from downtown through the east side to the airport. Each light rail stop should not just reflect a desire for enhanced density in the privately held lands, but a particular focus on place making in the public realm should also be expressed. Making each of these nodal assets a unique and welcoming destination will grow the importance, attractiveness, economy and These designations are exceedingly connectivity of the corridors over time. important as the City implements its Complete Streets policy and as As a whole, as it is currently drafted, consideration is given to converting the Transportation Corridor (C-T) is a highways to boulevards to improve blunt restrictive classification that livability and attract investment misses the importance of the synergy throughout the city. The design of our between the public spaces of our streets streets must correspond appropriately and the land use types desired. Streets to the neighborhood place-based types are the elements of our city which not in accordance with the placed-based only connect us but also represent the development strategy as laid out in the largest component of land in direct draft plan. As the future land use plan public control. The land use plan needs sets the stage for establishing a new to have stronger and more specific regulatory framework of the private language to facilitate the range of realm with a place-based development transportation options necessary to strategy, all transportation corridors reinforce healthy communities and and facilities should be included in the recognize streets as valuable public place-based maps and not lumped into places. a single ambiguous category.

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Streets are the elements of our city which not only connect us but also represent the largest component of land in direct public control.
Photo by JoelMann Photo by Green Options Buffalo

In addition to the current Transportation Corridor (C-T) place types, Boulevard, Avenue, Streets and Alley/Lane need to be recognized distinct types of streets and coded as such. Table 1 (attached) should be utilized to define all common street types, which can then be subdivided into specific special street type classifications, such as Main Street, Woonerf, Festival Street (see table 1.1), where appropriate. These street types provide mobility for all modes of transportation with a greater focus on pedestrian, cyclists and transit users. It is linked more closely to the adjoining land-use and the need to create a safe environment for all people, rather than strictly following the conventional but

dated application of functional Also in the Corridor Place Types, in classification in determining geometric addition to Greenways (C-TG) as a criteria. place-type, Blueways/Waterways (CTBL) should be included to highlight By defining the street types in the multitude of waterways through accordance with the adjoining place the city that are both natural and types, a framework for street design capped. guidelines will begin to take shape. As a preliminary step, many of the Current best practices in zoning goes transportation related comments in the further than defining corridors and attached mark-up of the land use plan’s street design, though, and typically draft principles reflect the need to code incorporates all subdivision and public our streets to reflect and institute works standards directly in the zoning national “best practice” guidelines. To code. Buffalo should join the ranks of establish clarity and precision around cities like Miami and Denver that have these transportation elements, the plan successfully adopted this model, so all should fully incorporate the policy the regulations that guide development framework of the Sustainable in the city are moving in the direction Transportation Agenda issued by Green of sustainability and smart growth. Options Buffalo (attached as appendix).

To establish clarity and precision around these transportation elements, the plan should fully incorporate the policy framework of the Sustainable Transportation Agenda issued by Green Options Buffalo.

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Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Table 1: Street / Facility Types Street Type Boulevard* (conventionally arterials) Avenue* (conventionally collectors) Street* (conventionally local streets) Alley/Lane Description Comment

Traverses and connects districts and Often has a planted median neighborhoods within cities; primary a longer distance route for all vehicles including transit Traverses and connects districts, links May or may not have a median streets with boulevards. For all vehicles including transit. Serves neighborhood, connects to adjoining neighborhoods; serves local function for vehicles and transit Link between streets; allows access to Narrow and without sidewalks garages

*May have segments with specialized functions and features such as a Main Street segment.

Table 1.1: Special Street Types

Street Type Main Street

Description Slower vehicle speeds, favors pedestrians most, contains the highest level of streetscape features, typically dominated by retail and other commercial uses Located between an urbanized neighborhood and park or waterway

Comment Functions differently than other streets in that it is a destination

Drive Transit Mall

The traveled way is for exclusive use by buses Excellent pedestrian access to or trains, typically dominated by retail and and along the transit mall is other commercial uses critical. Bicycle access may be supported. A through street for bicycles, but short distance travel for motor vehicles Contains traffic calming, flush curbs, and streetscape features that allow for easy conversion to public uses such as farmers’ markets and music events Slow, curbless street where pedestrians, motor vehicles, and bicyclists share space May support café seating, play areas, and other uses Usually a local street with low traffic volumes

Bike Boulevard Festival Street

Shared Space (Woonerf)

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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The Natural Environment
The depopulated city offers excellent opportunities to try ‘non-conventional redevelopment’ of vacant properties, essentially a rare chance to rebuild a 19th century city with a 21st century understanding of environmental impacts and synergies. However, it is critical to develop a policy that outlines which of these non-conventional uses is ‘transitional’ (where the sites will be incorporated into other uses over time), and which are ‘permanent’ (to be permitted and protected in the long term). Using green open space as an example: If a vacant property is to be used for recreation space for the neighborhood, will that space be incorporated into the permanent open space profile of the city, or will it someday become housing to provide sufficient density in the neighborhood to support local services? Each place type designation requires this kind of thoughtful consideration and definition.

Public Space
It is critical to develop a policy that outlines which nonconventional uses are ‘transitional’ and which are ‘permanent’.

Access to Green Space
As stated earlier and acknowledged in the draft plan (p. 38), the City should adopt a policy that every resident should be able to access a ‘designated’ park or greenspace within a quartermile of where they live. However, more definition is needed for what types of facilities or which delineation of Open Space and what acreage or area will fulfill this requirement. Upon being identified, though, these spaces need to be protected in the zoning code and not be considered transitional uses, and a corollary standard needs to be adopted for Community Gardens. This should include not just neighborhoods where there is substantial vacant property but areas that are currently densely populated, such as the upper west side. Anywhere there are not parks or open spaces for public use, new facilities should be provided and protected within the one quarter-mile benchmark. However, this may include ‘play streets’ that limit traffic where open land is unavailable. The ‘play street’ or woonerf (referenced in the Corridor section above) is a concept well established in Europe where some streets are designated primarily for pedestrian use but permit use by cars for access and parking, but not thoroughfare traffic.

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Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Open Space Districts
Modifications should also be made to the definitions for types of Open Space Districts. As referenced in the introduction to this letter, not all parcels can be defined as a single land use or place type. All open spaces should provide multiple use opportunities, not just one: recreation and habitat, stormwater management and sports, clean air and passive recreation, and so on. In fact, nearly all Open Space Districts contain or should contain more than one of the Olmsted, Recreational, Civic or Natural divisions currently outlined (p. 18). In the Place Based Planning Handbook, the D-OO Olmsted definition should remain, yet it should be more explicit that the place and usage types within each park are to be defined by the Olmsted Conservancy’s Plan for the 21st Century. The definition of D-OR Recreational is appropriate for playfields, etc. within parks as “open space designed to accommodate active recreational uses, both structured and informal.” D-OC Civic captures the character of these smaller spaces well, yet the City is largely lacking in this type of gathering space in many neighborhoods – a situation that should be addressed. Likewise the D-ON Natural definition is appropriate, yet walking or biking trails that are part of a broader system should be indicated as places in the Corridor typology. There should, however be additional delineations of Open Space, including: D-OG Community Gardens either plot based or communal (whether within parks or integrated within a neighborhood block); D-OI Park/ Informal Recreation resembling Olmsted aesthetic or otherwise highlighting Buffalo’s heritage (the city should add more such parkland particularly along the waterfront and on the east side); D-OP Conservation/ Protected Areas spaces that have high habitat value and should be protected (see Table 2). Additionally, many open spaces in the city are owned by institutions or are private, and, again because of the parcel based divisions, this is not reflected in the current draft. Unfortunately “open space” is too often a term to describe underutilized land, blank lawns or berms which do not provide benefits to humans or to the environment. Policies should govern the use of undeveloped land, for example, within campuses, school grounds or existing office parks, with a mix of with regulations and incentives to provide public access and accommodations to on-site productive open space.

Table 2: Open Space District Revisions
Open Space District D-OO Olmsted D-OI Informal Recreation D-OR Recreational D-OC Civic D-OG Community Gardens D-ON Natural D-OP Conservation/ Protected Area
Draft Land Use Plan Comments

Description Large, meadow-like parks designed by Olmsted with a primarily passive, pastoral, or picturesque character

Comment The various place types within these parks should be explicitly guided by the Plan for the 21st Century

Contemporary public park space More such parkland should be added resembling Olmsted aesthetic or particularly along the waterfront and otherwise highlighting Buffalo’s heritage on the east side Open space designed to accommodate Appropriate for ball fields and courts active recreational uses, both structured within parks, school facilities, etc. and informal A formal space that takes on the Goal should be to introduce more of character of a civic green of plaza usually these central gathering places, of small to medium scale. potentially at least one per planning community Open space designated for communal or Appropriate within parks or on plot based ornamental and vegetable previously vacant land – a target gardening amount of protected space should be established per community Naturalized open space or conservation Walking or biking trails that are part area with no, or few, active uses aside of a broader system should be from walking or biking trails indicated as places in the Corridor typology Spaces that have high habitat value and should be protected
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Natural Resource Protection and Access

An environmentally focused code must address the relationship between ‘green infrastructure’ and the built form.

In many ways Green Infrastructure should be the primary principle underlying the new landuse plan. This inverts our usual planning strategy because it assumes the city is a network of green that provides quality living for all residents, multiple uses of open spaces, a healthy environmental, networks of green (such as Olmsted Parkways) and productive landscapes. Housing, services, and work places are then placed within the green structure, rather than having natural areas subsumed by or accommodated within the city. Though a new conception, in many ways this city in a park concept builds on Olmsted’s grand vision. For a fundamentally environmentally focused code, the relationship between built form and systems in the land use plan must adequately address the relationship between the ‘green infrastructure’ and the built form. This is consistently absent throughout the current draft of the plan. As stated

above, consider the entire city a green city into which gray infrastructure and built form are inserted (its historic evolution) so that policies regarding built form include consideration of trees, stormwater management, clean air, playing outside and so on.

there is a 100 foot setback along the Buffalo River for habitat protection. This strategy should be used in other places for habitat protection and water quality improvement. The goal should be fishable and swimable waters: there should be no exceptions to the Clean Water Act protection for waterways Within this framework it is vital to even when adjacent landuse is identify and protect existing natural commercial and industrial. resources areas, and it is critical to identify areas currently not recognized Another strategy is considering all and to protect them as well. Consider ‘open’ and green spaces for stormwater not only protecting existing waterways, management assistance. That includes for example, but research the possibility existing parks, natural areas, median of daylighting historic waterways such strips, office parks, incentives for as the Scajaquada Creek where it has homeowners and so on. Getting the been channelized. water into the ground where it falls is the most achievable way to avoid Daylighting buried streams would be a overwhelming the sewer system and to major step to capturing the recharge ground water. The City environmental benefits provided by should continue to work with Buffalo urban waterways, but whenever Sewer Authority on the Long Term possible habitat should be restored to Control plan with an emphasis on assist in cleaning the water and green infrastructure. protecting the shoreline. Currently,

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Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Urban Agriculture

SEEDING

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The National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) released “Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture” in October 2011. The guide acknowledges the various types of Urban Agriculture, from home gardens to community gardens and urban farms. It also promotes the many benefits of Urban Agriculture in the form of health, environmental Sustainability, and economic vitality. Seeding the City establishes goals for comprehensive planning including: protecting existing and promoting new urban agriculture in each of its forms, maximizing opportunities to incorporate urban agriculture into new development, and to promote urban agriculture through ongoing programming and partnerships. It also provides model zoning ordinances across a variety of circumstances and conditions. Seeding the City is available for download at www.nplanonline.org.

As noted in our initial letter to the administration, important justifications for providing clarity for urban agriculture include: access to local, fresh and healthy food for urban residents; direct environmental benefits in reduced carbon footprint, increased biodiversity, storm water management strategies and organic waste reuse; education and employment access in job skills and entrepreneurial training and supplemental income, experience with nature and food production; neighborhood development through beautification and blight abatement in addition to reduced crime through community stewardship and opportunity. The draft land use plan acknowledges that urban agriculture will play an expanding role in the City of Buffalo (Section 9.3). However, the current language does not go far enough in defining the parameters of urban agriculture or in ensuring that its role is lasting and accessible to all. Whether or not urban agriculture ever provides

an economic boon to the city in terms recognized in GDP-approved metrics, it is clear that it improves the economy of and opportunities for of families and neighborhoods. The land use plan must explicitly allow for the establishment of urban agriculture on public and private property by adopting zoning regulations that permit home gardens, community gardens, urban husbandry (bees, chickens, fish, etc.) as appropriate to all five neighborhood place types. It must also ensure that urban agriculture can flourish into an extended growing season with appropriate guidelines on the design of greenhouses, hoop houses, and the like. Guidelines should include uses, quality design, and standards governing safety and aesthetics. Sales of produce grown on public and private land should be allowed as a conditional or permitted use, with appropriate limitations on location, size, and time of operation in place-types throughout the city.

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Photo by Michael Clarke

The Built Environment
As in our initial letter, this section on the built environment is not meant to necessarily address structures as a building code would, but rather to address the physical space, relationships and associated interactions and behaviors that the design and siting of buildings and public works create. Reversing the detrimental effects of policies favoring auto-centric and use-separated zoning remains a key goal of WNYEA for the Green Code.

Public Health
The Green Code can provide the opportunity for all communities to be healthy now and in the future by lessening health inequity. The acknowledgement of the Green Code’s role in public health in the principles section of the land use plan (p. 40) is welcomed, but the section as written is underdeveloped and does not address the full complement of possible initiatives and regulations that should be codified to improve wellness within the city. The code can address public health by facilitating both behavioral and environmental changes.

The Green Code can address public health by facilitating both behavioral and environmental changes.
Healthy Lifestyles
The most apparent opportunity in the Green Code is to affect behavioral changes by encouraging active lifestyles largely through improvements to the built environment. This includes a host of actions to increase physical activity among residents. The creation of safe, accessible and walkable neighborhoods and routes will facilitate biking and walking as attractive active transportation alternatives – integrating activity into daily activities. Creation and proper maintenance of a variety of parks, playgrounds, and recreation/ community centers with seasonally appropriate uses and activities will also
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provide increased opportunities for allowing land access for community discrete and intentional physical gardens and urban agriculture at a activity. variety of scales – and through distribution – by facilitating food Healthy living extends, also, to healthy stands, markets, and healthy corner eating. Currently, unequal resources store initiatives. In the same way that for and access to quality food are the current zoning code restricts prevalent across the city, and the Green conflicting or potentially harmful uses Code should employ a variety of (such as liquor stores) with a defined different strategies appropriate to the radius of schools, the land use code specific challenges and opportunities in should also designate zones of the city each community. The Green Code can that restrict development of unhealthy afford residents greater opportunity to food options such as fast food obtain healthy, affordable, and restaurants. culturally appropriate food in their own neighborhood through production – by
Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Safe Environments
Behavior change will help contribute to communities. Air, water, and soil burdens placed on or lifted from increased health outcomes, but, when it quality should be analyzed throughout individuals, but also to the demands on comes to public health, the impact of the city and the presence of raised our social service sector. For instance, ambient environmental factors cannot levels of toxicity in or adjacent to though accessibility is referenced in be overlooked. Pollution from the neighborhoods should add additional street design and in place type region’s industrial legacy, from freight levels of scrutiny for adjoining land adjacency, this needs to extend to and high volume commuter traffic, and uses and place types while providing a buildings as well. Though ADA “...WORK REMAINS TO ENSURE THEaddressing theseOF SMART GROWTH ANDpublic spaces, RHETORIC harmful provides regulations for THE from our persistent combined sewer blueprint for REALITY OF FUTURE DEVELOPMENT ARE INDEED LINKED...” overflow issues disproportionally elements. it is important, too, to integrate impacts low-income communities of visitablity as a minimum component of The Green Code also needs to consider color. As stressed in the Environmental accommodation within the ongoing demographic shifts and what Justice section above, the Green Code development and retrofitting of private kind of accommodations will need to be needs to go farther in identifying and spaces as well. made for an older population. These eliminating environmental burdens on considerations apply not just to the

SMART GROWTH... A STARTING POINT

Public Safety
Though many of the elements of creating a safe public environment will be delineated in the zoning code rather than the land use code, it is important to reinforce the notion that safety is in large measure defined by place. A place that feels safe will be a welcoming and therefore active space creating, in effect, a self-fulfilling cycle of perception and reality. But the corollary is also true. A place that is designed poorly will feel unsafe, and thus become unwelcoming, unused, and, thereby, unsafe. This applies from streets to parks to apartment complexes. It applies in neighborhoods, districts and corridors.
Draft Land Use Plan Comments

Perhaps in no category is the notion that “we shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us” more appropriate. Urban design is a crucial component of promoting a vibrant and safe public realm. At minimum, basic principles of crime prevention through environmental design should be included in the land use plan: natural surveillance (eyes on the street), access control (privacy gradients and defined entries), image (proper maintenance/ broken windows theory), and territoriality (clearly defining public/ private space).

Places that are designed well promote public safety. Places that are poorly designed quickly become unsafe.

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Economic Integration
As stated in our original letter, Buffalo cannot achieve sustainable communities without sustainable employment. The inclusion of Retail Districts as a future place type (see Smart Growth above) is one such example where the draft land use plan fails to reduce logistical barriers to employment (i.e., time and expense of transportation and childcare) and perpetuates reliance on private automobiles for accessing daily needs. Integrating economic development and community development means integrating and erasing the lines between where those activities were establishing “connections”. The plan provided the model for much of needs to go much further in this regard. Buffalo’s Brownfield redevelopment strategy. Focusing on the existing The draft plan furthers this otherness of infrastructure along the Belt Line as a community and economy by placing an preservation and reuse strategy is more emphasis on the expansion of office and sustainable and less resource-intensive industrial parks (Section 3.1). Yet these approach to growing jobs in Buffalo. It sites tend to yield disappointing should be given priority in the plan employment densities even at full over office and light industrial “parks”. build-out. They are almost always caught in the car-dependent trap that The Belt Line provides a specific plagues Retail Districts and example of how valuable the existing disadvantage low-income households rights of way are and can become. through their inaccessibility via public Preserving rights of way for linkages transit, walking, or cycling from between communities and economic neighborhoods. opportunity should be a priority. They

The Belt Line offers a model of development that focuses on adaptive reuse of former industrial buildings and integrates into existing neighborhoods.

Photo by mark.hoganon Flickr

encouraged in the previous zoning The Larkin District revitalization, code. however, provides a more sustainable and urban means of building on The plan’s goals to enhance connections Buffalo’s heritage to provide new between the Central Business District opportunities for commercial and light and adjacent neighborhoods (Section industrial development that 1.2) is a good start, but can be improved strengthens existing communities. This and broadened. However, inclusion of means of redevelopment should be other “districts” requires establishing prioritized and the "Belt “connections” rather than the mixedLine" (referenced in Section 3.2 in the use ideal of full integration instead of draft plan), where many of Buffalo’s single use zones. The language that large scale structures are positioned, addresses medical and educational provides a framework for linking these districts is telling (Section 2.1) in that it secondary centers together in the future solely focuses on mitigating conflicts and to neighborhoods today. Reusing rather than addressing shared benefit. former industrial structures along the As long as these types of “us vs. them“ Belt Line for environmentally-friendly, dichotomies are allowed (or regulated) mixed-use redevelopment is likely to to persist, conflict will be the dominant yield stronger results than the order of the relationship and we will be conventional greenfield style economic forever relegated to settling for development – which has unfortunately practicing “mitigation” and
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should not be turned over to private ownership or private development. Another plank of the historic transportation network on which Buffalo thrived and requires revitalization is the Ellicott grid and radial network. Though referenced in the plan (Section 10.3), this reference is insufficient on its own. The restoration of this network including streets like Genesee, Busti, the Terrace, and 7th should be visible in the future place type maps and reserved for restoration in the future zoning code and zoning map. A detailed plan for the restoration of lost neighborhoods, like the Italian Colony referenced in the plan, should be focal points for rebuilding downtown and fostering stronger connections to adjacent neighborhoods.

Draft Land Use Plan Comments

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Clean Energy
As the plan notes, early in Buffalo’s development the City’s “energy source…changed almost from decade to decade – horse power, water power, coal and steam, hydroelectric”(p.4). This draft has begun to establish principles that do, in fact, anticipate the scaling up of existing green technology while paving the way for Buffalo to build on our legacy of energy innovation to become a hub for new clean energy in the future. Particularly as fresh water becomes more precious, Buffalo will be well positioned for retaining and attracting residents if it can also craft an energy independent future as carbon based fuels likewise noted in our initial letter, a separate become more rare and expensive. City initiative will need to focus on to those remedies that heal the existing In addition to considering energy city by creating a suite of conservation (p.20) the plan is right to accompanying policies and practices look to energy production as well. The that align municipal operations and Green Code should employ as many capital investment with the intent of the tools as possible within zoning new code. A large component of this regulations to incentivize energy companion policy would need to conservation (energy smart incentivize existing buildings and uses mechanicals and increased insulation), to comply with the spirit of the code. clean on site production (i.e. Ideally the ongoing planning process geothermal, active and passive solar, for land use and zoning review will small scale wind) in addition to produce recommendations for this vital environmentally sensitive building aspect as well. methods in new construction, changes of use, and substantial renovations. As

Photo by TonyDude919 on Flickr

Public Engagement
The City has made a commitment to public engagement that has been demonstrated through its many public meetings, the Green Code website, and the Community Advisory Committee. Robust turnout at the City’s “Planning Day” in October underscores the fact that the public is, and has a desire to remain, engaged in this process. However, there are elements in the plan that are underrepresented and the City should strongly consider formation of targeted issue advisory or focus groups – such as environmental justice, vacant land reclamation and reinterpretation, youth and educational facilities, and green energy – to augment the ongoing process. In addition, the public meetings still to come need to do a better job of accommodating families and children. Successful expanded engagement techniques make it easier for those who want to come to traditional meetings by providing children’s activities, and even bus fare wherever possible. WNYEA member organizations have heard from a number of residents that they have been unable to attend meetings in their communities over just these concerns. To reiterate our previous statements, though these extra efforts represent an increase in costs, in relation to the project scope, the benefits of a better process are well worth the minimal expense.
Draft Land Use Plan Comments

Board of Directors
Bob Knoer — Chair Judith Einach — Vice Chair Loren Smith — Secretary Arthur Wheaton — Treasurer
Anthony Armstrong Justin Booth Jay Burney Erin Heaney Megan Mills Hoffman Kerri Bentkowski Li Thomas Herrera-Mishler Micaela Shaprio-Shellaby Terry L. Yonker 16

Economy  
1  Reinforce  downtown  as  a  regional  hub.    
1.1  Activate  the  downtown  core.     1.2  Enhance  connections  between  the  CBD  and   adjacent  neighborhoods.     1.3  Reintroduce  a  high  quality  public  realm.    

  Neighborhoods  
  6  Reinforce  walkable  neighborhoods.    
6.1  Support  efforts  to  revitalize  neighborhood   centers.     6.2  Build  on  existing  neighborhood  strengths.     6.3  C apitalize  on  neighborhood  assets.     6.4  Maximize  housing  choice  and  affordability.     6.5  Establish  interim  alternative  uses  and   improve  m anagement  practices  for  vacant  land.     6.6  Increase  public  safety  through  effective   urban  design    

2  Support  the  emerging  knowledge   economy.    
2.1  Support  the  growth  of  regional  educational   and  m edical  anchors.     2.2  Embrace  arts  and  culture  as  economic   drivers.     2.3  Improve  the  visitor  experience  in  Buffalo.    

7  Improve  transportation  options.    
7.1  Improve  street  design.     7.2  Encourage  walking  and  cycling.     7.3  Promote  transportation  alternatives.    

3  Grow  employment  centers.    
3.1  F acilitate  office  and  industrial  park   development.     3.2  F acilitate  m ixed-­‐use  redevelopment  along   the  Belt  Line.     3.3  Support  a  working  waterfront.     3.4  Devote  resources  toward  brownfield  and   greyfield  reclamation.   3.5  Promote  and  facilitate  entrepreneurship,   home  based  business  and  green  energy   innovation    4  Increase  retail  activity.     4.31  Support  neighborhood  retailers  and   entrepreneurs.    

 

Environment  
8  Enhance  natural  resources.    
8.1  Protect  and  restore  sensitive  habitats.     8.2  Enhance  riparian  environments.    

9  Reinvigorate  public  health.    
9.1  Promote  healthy  and  sustainable   environments   9.21  Promote  active  living.     9.32  Create  a  healthy  local  food  systemEnable   healthy  food  production  and  distribution.  

4.2  Reintegrate  retail  with  the  urban   environment  
4.1  F acilitate  development  of  retail  centers.     4.2  Identify  appropriate  s ites  to  cluster  retail   strip  development.    

10  Preserve  natural,  cultural,  and  historic   resources.    
10.1  Protect  and  enhance  open  spaces.     10.2  Support  waterfront  access  and  usage.     10.3  Preserve  cultural  and  historic  resources.    

5  Optimize  access  and  circulation.    
5.1  Reinforce  Metro  Rail  ridership.     5.2  Support  efficient  m ovement  of  goods.     5.3  C onnect  with  C anada.    

Implementation  
Future  Place  Type  Maps  -­‐  General   Principles    

Economy  
Planning  for  a  sustainable  economy  means  helping  ensure  that  both  current  and  future   businesses  are  able  to  successfully  operate  and  grow.  The  plan  aims  to  promote  place-­‐ based   economic   development   by   targeting   downtown   investments,   fortifying   employ-­‐ ment   centers,   reclaiming   brownfields,   and   improving   accessibility,   capitalizing   on   our   potential   for   green   energy   production,   and   promoting   entrepreneurship   in   a   changing   economy.     The   principles   support   downtown   as   a   regional   center   by   introducing   strategies   to   reinforce  its  density,  accessibility,  compact  form,  and  range  of  uses.  The  plan  will   help   diversify  the  city’s  employment  base  by  supporting  emerging  industries  that  need  places   to  grow.  It  will  define  the  “knowledge  corridor”   that  stretches  along  Main  Street  from   the   University   of   Buffalo   to   the  heart   of   downtown,   and   help   capture   the   city’s   share   of   consumer  and  visitor  dollars.     Convenient  shopping  is  an  amenity  for  visitors,  a  necessity  for  residents,  an  anchor  for   neighborhoods,   and   an   economic   benefit   to   the   city’s   economy.   The   recognized   principles   encourage   mixed-­‐use   centers   in   every   neighborhood,   and   protect   the   intimate   and   pedestrian-­‐oriented   character,   and  allow   for   the   transition   of   conventional   suburban  arterials  to  mixed-­‐use  centers  where  appropriate.  The  plan  also  attempts  to   reintegrate   locates   additional   destination   retail   where   it   is   possible   to   cluster   big   box   developmentinto  the  fabric  of  the  city.     The  plan  and  its  principles  will  help  maintain  the  city’s  employment  base.  It  supports   development  of  employment  centers,  such  as  those  along  the  Belt  Line.  The  plan  also   reinforces  ongoing  work  to  reclaim  industrial  land  in  Brownfield  Opportunity  Areas  in   South  Buffalo,  Black  Rock,  the  East  Side,  and  the  Inner  and  Outer  Harbors.    

1  Reinforce  downtown  as  a  regional  hub.     1.1  Activate  the  downtown  core.     •  Permit  the  full  range  of  uses,  such  as  office,  residential,  hospitality,  civic,  retail,   and  entertainment,  to  activate  the  streets  of  downtown.     •  Accelerate  development  of  emerging  neighborhood  clusters  within  the  Central   Business  District  to  create  a  mixed-­‐use,  24/7  downtown.     •  Encourage  centralization  of  regionally  significant  government  facilities  to   downtown  Buffalo.     •  Support  the  continued  growth  and  intensification  of  the  Buffalo  Niagara  Medical   Campus  and  the  University  at  Buffalo’s  Downtown  Campus.     •  Focus  structures  of  the  greatest  height  and  intensity  near  the  Main  Street  Transit   Mall.     •  Support  regional  development  policies  that  attract  residents  and  employers  back   to  transit-­‐serviced  locations  of  the  urban  core.   • Encourage  green  building  technologies  (including  on-­‐site  stormwater   management)  that  can  bolster  downtown’s  image  and  attract  innovative   businesses.     Re-­‐establish  and  Restore  Joseph  Ellicott’s  original  street  grid  pattern  in  the  Central   Business  District  and  within  urban  renewal  areas  (I.e.  The  Waterfront  Urban   Renewal  Project)     Restore  all  one-­‐way  streets  to  two-­‐way   •  Enhance  linear  connections  to  adjoining  neighborhoods  with  pedestrian-­‐oriented   frontages  and  multi-­‐modal  accommodations  along  radials  such  as  Erie,  Niagara,   Delaware,  Main,  Genesee,  Broadway,  and  Seneca.   • Reduce  the  negative  impact  of  streets  that  serve  as  barriers  between  the  CBD  and   adjacent  neighborhoods,  such  as  the  Elm/  Oak  arterials,  South  Elmwood,  Tupper   and  Goodell.   •  Support  enhanced  multi-­‐modal  transportation  connections  between  the  CBD   and  adjacent  neighborhoods  wherever  possible.     •  Encourage  mid-­‐rise  redevelopment  within  the  downtown  edge  to  provide  ap-­‐ propriate  transitions  in  scale  from  the  CBD  to  adjoining  neighborhoods.   •  Improve  connectivity  between  the  Inner  Harbor/Erie  Basin  Marina  and  the   Downtown  core  under  the  190  (short-­‐term);  through  a  high  capacity  Boulevard   (long  term). 1.3  Reintroduce  a  high  quality  public  realm.    

1.2  Enhance  connections  between  the  CBD  and  adjacent  neighborhoods  and  beyond.    

•  Downtown  should  be  green  and  welcoming  with  ample  provision  of  trees/   vegetation,  planted  medians,  and  natural  stormwater  management.     • Establish  a  street  grid  within  the  CBD  where  pedestrian-­‐oriented  frontages  will  be   aligned  and  multi-­‐modal  accommodations  provided.     •  Prioritize  road  diet  initiatives  on  downtown  streets  to  properly  allocate  space  for   motor  vehicles,  cyclists,  and  pedestrians  and  green  infrastructure.     •  Reestablish  two-­‐way  traffic  on  streets  that  are  currently  one-­‐way.     •  Avoid  new  surface  parking  lots  within  the  CBD  core;  allowing  development  of   structured  parking  that  meets  design,  mixed-­‐use,  and  environmental  standards.     •  Limit  Prohibit  skywalks  and  tunnels  that  divert  pedestrian  traffic  from  sidewalks.     •  Complete  the  Cars  Sharing  Main  Street  Project  while  preserving  rapid-­‐transit   prioritization,  access  and  quality  of  service.     •  Continue  improving  Niagara  Square  and  other  public  squares  and  green  spaces   into  a  more  beautiful,  clean,  comfortable,  and  pedestrian-­‐friendly  public   spaceplaces.       2  Support  the  emerging  knowledge  economy.     2.1  Support  the  growth  of  regional  educational  and  medical  anchors.     •  Encourage  multi-­‐building  educational  and  medical  institutions  to  establish  or   update  campus  plans  to  facilitate  development  that  integrates  with   neighborhoods  with  the  benefit  of  public  input.     •  In  consultation  with  surrounding  residential  neighborhoods,  develop  strategies   that  address  town  and  gown  conflicts  and  provide  joint  benefits.     2.2  Embrace  arts  and  culture  as  economic  drivers.     •  Recognize  cultural  tourism  uses  such  as  the  Martin  House  Complex,  Richardson   Olmsted  Center,  and  the  Theatre  District,  Museum  District,  and  Michigan  Street   Baptist  Church.     •  Support  public  art  installations  in  strategic  locations  including  streetscapes.   2.3  Improve  the  visitor  experience  in  Buffalo.     •  Facilitate  the  development  of  visitor  accommodations,  including  hotels,  inns,   hostels,  and  bed-­‐and-­‐breakfasts,  in  appropriate  places  across  the  city.     •  Develop  Implement  strategies  for  improving  the  appearance  of  “first  impression”   corridors  and  entry  points  into  the  city.     •  Support  Erie  Canal  Harbor  Development  Corporation’s  efforts  to  rReestablish  the   historic  street  grid  and  canal  network  of  downtown  and  Canalside.    

•  Support  Create  improved  transit  connections  to  the  Buffalo  Niagara  International   Airport.     •  Work  with  Amtrak  on  an  improved  downtown  train  station.     •  Support  NFTA  plans  for  improvements  to  the  Metropolitan  Transportation   Center.       3  Grow  employment  centers.     3.1  Facilitate  office  commercial  and  industrial  park  development.     •  Reserve  Ensure  available  land  for  economic  development  office  campuses  and   industrial  uses,  encouraging  that  are  such  environments  to  developed  in  an  urban   character  and  integrated  into  neighborhoods  where  possible.     •  Accelerate  provision  of  reuse-­‐ready  structures  and  facilitate  existing  vacant  land   for  shovel-­‐ready  landuses  where  appropriate  and  reuse-­‐ready  structures.     •  Capitalize  upon  highway,  rail,  and  Peace  Bridge  multimodal  access  points  for   cargo-­‐oriented  development,  while  ensuring  neighborhoods  are  not  negatively   impacted  from  freight  activity.     •  Minimize  conflict  between  employment  districts  and  residential  neighborhoods   through  appropriate  edge  edge  form,  scale  and  use,  not  through  suburban   treatments    and  designs  such  as  grassy  berms.   3.2  Facilitate  mixed-­‐use  redevelopment  along  the  Belt  Line.     •  Continue  to  act  upon  the  economic  potential  of  existing  and  emerging  employ-­‐ ment  centers,  such  as  the  Larkin  District,  Tri-­‐Main,  and  Northland.     •  Permit  the  widest  range  of  adaptive  reuse  options,  including  office,  residential,   and  light  industrial,  to  facilitate  reinvigoration.     •  Integrate  adjacent  neighborhood  centers  into  Belt  Line  employment  areas.     •  Support  Establish  ongoing  service  improvements  and  the  development  ofto   transit  routes  that  connect  to  Belt  Line  employment  centers.     3.3  Support  a  working  waterfront.     •  Protect  marine  commercial  and  water-­‐dependent  and  enhanced  industrial  uses   which  do  not  degrade  the  environment  or  impact  neighborhoods  in  the  zoning   code.     •  Facilitate  repurposing  of  vacant  waterfront  land  and  structures  for  employment   uses  through  ongoing  brownfields  planning  and  heritage  preservation  efforts.     •   Incorporate  green  infrastructure  into  all  streetscape  projects  to  reduce  CSOs  and   establish  a  healthy  marine  ecosystem  to  support  water-­‐dependent  uses.    

3.4  Devote  resources  toward  brownfield  and  greyfield  reclamation.     •  Incorporate  planning  efforts  to  reclaim  brownfields  across  the  city  through  New   York  State’s  Brownfield  Opportunity  Areas  (BOA)  Program.     •  Actively  seek  out  development  solutions  for  underperforming  retail  sites,  such  as   Central  Park  Plaza.     •  Support  infrastructure  investments  that  reintegrate  brownfields  and  greyfields   back  into  the  regional  economy  while  enhancing  and  reinforcing  urban  character.   • Prioritize  brownfield  redevelopment  within  neighborhoods,  both  to  eliminate   health  risks  and  provide  accessible  employment  opportunities  within  communities.    

3.5  Promote  and  facilitate  entrepreneurship,  home  based  businesses  and  green  energy   innovation   • • • • Permit  non-­‐noxious,  non-­‐nuisance  start  ups  and  businesses  in  all  areas  of  the  city   regardless  of  building  type.   Allow  for  growth  of  urban  agriculture  and  food  related  industries  in  a  variety  of   settings  and  applications   Promote  and  incentivize  shared  commercial  tenancies  as  well  as  retail/  production   spaces,  particularly  along  commercial  strips  and  urban  centers     Permit  and  encourage  the  development  of  clean  energy  on  a  variety  of  scales,   both  for  on-­‐site  use  and  for  commercialization,  including  district  and  geothermal   heating,  solar,  wind,  and  agri-­‐fuel  technology  where  appropriate.       4  Increase  retail  activity.     4.31  Support  neighborhood  retailers  and  entrepreneurs.     •  Actively  Eencourage  and  incentivize  walkable  retail  development  in   neighborhood  centers.     •  Establish  legal  clarity  for  corner  shops  and  small-­‐scale  retail  uses  (such  as  …  )  in   residential  areasneighborhood  place  typesneighborhood  place  types.     •  Develop  transparent  and  predictable  regulations  for  mobile  food  vendors,   including  food  trucks,  wagons,  bikes,  and  carts.   4.12  Reintegrate  retail  with  the  urban  environmentFacilitate  development  of  retail   centers.     •  Reserve  sites  for  retail  centers  in  appropriate  locations.     •  Establish  guidelines  for  retail  centers  that  provide  for  the  safety  and  comfort  of   pedestrians,  cyclists,  transit  users,  and  motorists  alike.     •  Establish  edge  treatment  guidelines  for  retail  centers  that  allow  for  appropriate   transitions  to  adjacent  neighborhoods.    

•  Mitigate  the  environmental  impacts  of  existing  car-­‐dominated  retail  centers  by   connecting  to  multi-­‐modal  transportation  options  and  deploying  green   infrastructure  solutions;  restrict  the  development  of  auto-­‐oriented  retail  centers  in   the  futureers;  restrict  the  development  of  auto-­‐oriented  retail  centers  in  the   future..     4.2  Identify  appropriate  sites  to  cluster  retail  strip  development.     •  Prohibit  retail  strip  development  that  is  out  of  character  and  form  with   traditional  urbanism.    Focus  retail  strip  development  on  the  outskirts  of   neighborhoods.     •  Target  locations  along  high-­‐volume  arterials;  proximate  to  highway  access   points;  industrial  sites  no  longer  marketable  for  their  original  purpose;  and   adjacent  to  established  retail  centers.           5  Optimize  access  and  circulation.     5.1  Reinforce  Metro  Rail  ridership.     •  Create  great  places  at  Metro  Rail  station  areas  by  emphasizing  mixed-­‐use,  high-­‐   density  neighborhood  centers.     •  Prioritize  traffic  calming  and  walkability  improvements  that  would  help  hu-­‐ manize  and  activate  Main  Street.     • Pursue  efforts  to  provide  public  safety  through  environmental  design.     •  Strive  for  the  maximum  population  and  employment  densities  near  Metro  Rail   stations.     •  Support  further  study  of  Metro  Rail  expansion  alternatives  and  encourage  the   development  of  “light  rail  ready”  neighborhoods  along  these  routes.     • • • The  light  rail  system  should  be  expanded  to  provide  better  access  to  residents  with   stops  located  within  a  1⁄4  mile  of  all  residential  and  commercial  parcels.   Enhance  pedestrian  facilities  within  a  one  (1)  mile  radius  of  all  transit  stations.   Enhance  bicycle  facilities  within  a  three  (3)  mile  radius  of  all  transit  stations.   •  Protect  corridors  for  rail  and  water  freight  transportation.     •  Support  infrastructure  improvements  that  increase  freight  movement  efficien-­‐ cies  and  reduce  carbon  emissions.     •  Review  designated  truck  routes  to  ensure  consistency  with  both  economic   development,  and  neighborhood  stability  and  environmental  justice  objectives.    

5.2  Support  efficient  movement  of  goods.    

•  Protect  strategic  excess  roadway,  rail,  air  cargo,  and  port  capacity  to  attract   economic  development.     5.3  Connect  with  Canada.     •  Promote  the  International  Railway  Bridge  as  a  cross-­‐border  freight  connection.     •  Support  efforts  to  improve  passenger-­‐oriented  traffic  flow  travel  over  the  Peace   Bridge,  to  capitalize  on  the  growing  knowledge  and  leisure  economy  in  downtown   Buffalo  and  the  Buffalo  Niagara  Medical  Campus.     • Reduce  the  environmental  health  burdens  of  international  freight  on  the  West   Side  while  minimizing  the  impacts  onrestoring  Front  Park  and  surrounding   neighborhoods.  

   

Neighborhoods  
Planning  for  sustainable  n eighborhoods  means  preserving   the  character  of  n eighborhoods  while   encouraging   redevelopment   consistent   with   the   prevailing   pattern.   The   plan   identifies   five   major   n eighborhood  types  that   have  been   identified  based   on   their   character,   form,   and   mix   of   uses.     The   principles   encourage   integrated   mixed-­‐use   development   at   the   center   of   neighborhoods.   Neighborhood   centers   provide   important   services   to   residents   and   create   a   greater   sense   of   place.  The  plan  identifies  a  mixed-­‐use  center  in  every  neighborhood  –  where  one  already  exists   or  where  one  might  b e  d eveloped  –  to  promote  p edestrian  safety,  comfort,  and  interest.     High  quality  public  space  is  vital  to  community  cohesion,  yet  many  n eighborhoods  of  the   city  are   deficient  –  presenting  a  situation  that  n eeds  to  b e  remedied.     Green  infrastructure   –  from  street   trees  to  stormwater   managing  landscape  treatment   –  is  also  a  crucial  component  of  quality  of   life  on  every  b lock  of  the  city.   The  plan  will  expand  use  and  development  options,  particularly  in  distressed  neighborhoods.  It   is   important   that   vacant   land   is   managed   creatively,   keeping   it   in   active   or   passive   uses   in   the   short   term,   and   making   the   most   of   its   development   potential   over   the   longer   term   where   appropriate   to   promote  increased   d ensity   and   regeneration.     Where  Where  vacancy  existsareas   are   predominantly   vacant,   the   plan   will   allow   transitional   uses   such   as   community   gardening,   side   and   back   lot   programs,   or   urban   agriculatureagriculture   and   also   acknowledges   the   appropriateness   of   these   uses   in   some   of   the   City’s   parks.     In   environmentally   sensitive   areas   and   in   some   heavily   distressed   communities   it   may   be   appropriate   to   pursue   a   naturalization   program   which   creates   amenities   for   residents   while   providing   valuable   ecological   services.,   while  keeping  open  longer-­‐term  options  for  redevelopment.     In  strong  n eighborhoods  or  ones  where  vacancies  are  less  s evere,  community  space  n eeds  will   be  a ccommodated  and  infill  programs  opportunities  will  b e  facilitated.  Where  “superblocks”  are   in  transition  –  p laces  where  the  street  pattern  has  been  disrupted  to  create  d istrict  or  campus-­‐ like  areas  –  the  plan  will  a llow  redevelopment  consistent  with  an  adjacent  n eighborhood  to   reconnect  with  the  city-­‐wide  street  pattern  once  again.    
GREEN DEVELOPMENT IN DISTRESSED NEIGHBORHOODS While Buffalo has many strong neighborhoods, there are others that suffer from abandonment. This has created areas in the city where most of the housing stock has been demolished, leaving large tracts of vacant land. This situation is particularly apparent in the Broadway- Fillmore neighborhood. Vacant land created by abandonment can become an asset. The pending zoning ordinance will allow the land to be used for its potential to: • employ local residents in activities such as silviculture, growing ornamentals, and other forms of urban farming; • expand recreational amenities and restore ecologically sensitive lands; • provide areas for producing new forms of renewable energy; and • address the city’s stormwater problems. Even left as green space, the land holds value given its proximity to downtown, secondary employment centers, and major transportation corridors. While permitting new activities such as those listed above, the city must be clear about which lands are to be permanently green and which are transitional or temporary spaces and must also protect the traditional development patterns in these neighborhoods for future housing or commercial reuse in the later category. However, until its demographic trends improve, Buffalo must encourage development towards neighborhoods where the majority of the urban fabric remains intact. To the extent that housing and commercial development is permitted in neighborhoods with significant vacancy, the city must ensure that it meets the highest standards. As part of the zoning ordinance, the city will consult with residents about adopting standards such as LEED-ND in these areas to ensure high quality development.  

6  Reinforce  walkable  neighborhoods.     6.1  Support  efforts  to  revitalize  neighborhood  centers.     •  Identify  the  mixed-­‐use,  walkable  neighborhood  centers  –  from  major  centers   such  as  Seneca/Cazenovia  and  Jefferson/Utica,  to  pedestrian  pockets  or  four-­‐ corners  such  as  Clinton/Baitz  and  Five  Points  –  and  target  their  regeneration  as   focal  points  for  daily  life.     •  Prioritize  revitalization  efforts  within  neighborhood  centers  located  on  transit   routes  with  strong  market  potential  and  stakeholder  commitment.     •  Coordinate  transit  planning  with  efforts  to  rebuild  neighborhood  centers.     •  Rebuild  weak  market  neighborhood  centers  through  focused  infill  and  reha-­‐ bilitation  within  the  pedestrian  shed.     •  Safeguard  the  economic  potential  of  neighborhood  centers  with  zoning  provi-­‐ sions  that  protect  their  intimate,  pedestrian-­‐oriented  character.     •  Remove  restrictive  regulatory  barriers  while  encouraging  and  providing   incentives  for  new  to  smart,  compact  development;  Encourage  and  provide   incentives  for  new  smart,  compact  development.     6.2  Build  on  existing  neighborhood  strengths.     •  Identify  and  support  the  form  and  character  elements  of  traditional  neighbor-­‐ hoods  according  to  Buffalo’s  distinct  urban  transect.     •  Reinforce  the  distinctive  roles  of  neighborhood  centers,  where  economic  and   social  activity  is  concentrated;  and  neighborhood  edges,  intended  as  places  of  less   intense  activity.     •  Recognize  the  role  of  neighborhoods  in  providing  a  balanced  mix  of  shopping,   work,  schooling,  recreation,  and  all  types  of  housing.     •  Reinforce  and  enhance  traditional  networks  of  straight  streets  and  short  blocks   that  provide  equally  for  pedestrians,  bicycles,  and  automobiles.     •  Locate  and  design  civic  buildings  to  promote  their  public  status  on  prominent,   visible,  and  accessible  sites,  including  important  street  intersections  and  sites  that   terminate  a  street  view  or  face  an  important  natural  or  cultural  feature.   •  Introduce  regulatory  tools  to  protect  Buffalo’s  existing  and  desired  neighbor-­‐ hood  character,  including  guidelines  on  building  type,  height,  disposition,  visual   and  functional  permeability,  parking,  signs,  landscaping,  and  ancillary  structures.     • Support  the  creation,  rehabilitation  and  maintenance  of  greenways  and  trails,   parks,  playgrounds  and  recreation  facilities  so  that  all  residential  areas  in  the  City   of  Buffalo  have  access  within  a  1/4  mile  distance  of  their  homes.  

6.3  Capitalize  on  neighborhood  assets.    

•  Focus  infill  development  and  promote  productive  uses  near  existing  walkable   neighborhood  centers  and  civic  spaces,  schools,  community  centers,  and  senior   centers  to  recognize  their  value  as  community  hubs.     •  Focus  public  realm  improvements  within  walking  distance  of  reconstructed   schools,  particularly  those  that  increase  the  safety  and  comfort  of  children  walking   and  cycling  to  school  following  the  Safe  Routes  to  School  Model.     •  Permit  Pursue  productive  neighborhood  sensitive  reuses  of  historic  school   buildings  scheduled  to  close.     •  Build  upon  neighborhood  planning  efforts  such  as  the  Larkin  District  Plan,  Al-­‐ lentown  Neighborhood  Strategy,  and  Fruit  Belt  Neighborhood  Strategy.   • Assess  existing  vacant,  abandoned  and  left  over  open  spaces  as  potential  assets.   •  Allow  housing  types  of  every  variety  in  their  appropriate  locations,  taking  into   special  consideration  the  needs  of  the  elderly,  children,  and  the  mobility-­‐impaired.     •  Remove  barriers  to  housing  affordability,  such  as  restrictions  on  granny  flats,   minimum  parking  requirements,  excessive  lot  area  standards,  and  limits  on   multifamily  housing.     •  Focus  affordable  housing  initiatives  around  priority  transit  routes  to  foster   combined  housing  and  transportation  savings.     •  Reintegrate  “superblock”  developments  back  into  neighborhoods.     •  Establish  legal  clarity  for  home-­‐based  businesses  and  workshops.     •  Establish  legal  clarity  for  residential  renewable  energy  systems,  such  as  small   wind,  solar  thermal/photovoltaic,  and  district  geothermal  systems.   6.5  Establishinterim  alternative  alternative  uses  and  improve  management  practices   for  vacant  land.     •  Support  Prioritize  the  use  of  vacant  land  to  expand  parks,  recreation,  gardens,   and  habitat  areas,  and  other  innovative  uses.     •  Develop  a  typology  of  interim  reuse  strategies  for  vacant  land,  including  corner   gateways,  cut-­‐throughs,  multiple  parcel  connections,  split  lot  greening,  and  rain   gardens,  among  others.    Establish  criteria  for  which  uses  and  which  spaces  are   transitional  uses  and  which  are  permanent  land  use  changes.     •  Permit  and  promote  and  promote  the  development  of  community  gardens  on   public  lands,  with  landscaping  and  beauticiationbeautification  standards  that   ensure  community  benefit.     •  Work  with  community  organizations  toAllow  develop  pilot  projects  for   aesthetically-­‐pleasing  and  environmentally  beneficial  constructed  wetlands,  forest   6.4  Maximize  housing  choice  and  affordability.    

reserves,  municipal  orchards,  and  urban  agriculture  within  high-­‐vacancy  blocks  to   reduce  City  maintenance  expenses.     •  Minimize  regulatory  barriers  to  adaptive  reuse  of  vacant  properties  to  prevent   blight  and  abandonment.     • Continue  integrating  the  City’s  data  systems  into  a  single  point  of  entry  as  a   precursor  to  a  Buffalo  Niagara  Property  Intelligence  Network  for  anticipating  and   reacting  to  neighborhood  trends  and  specific  property  interventions.     Establish  a  land  bank  under  New  York  State’s  enabling  legislation  that  consolidates   vacant  property  acquisition,  management,  and  disposition  within  a  single  entity.   Revamp  city  policy  so  that  all  vacant  parcels  and  properties  are  acquired  within  the   land  bank.    Implement  a  clear  and  rigorous  classification  system  to  determine   which  are  appropriate  for  short  term  redevelopment  and  which  are  appropriate   for  other  uses.       Create  a  clean  and  green  strategy  which  employs  local  residents  through  non-­‐ profit  partners  to  beautify  and  maintain  vacant  lots.   •  Incorporate  strategies  for  the  inclusion  of  “eyes  on  the  street”  through   mandatory  fenestration  coverage,  regulations  on  fence  heights  and  types,  and   other  means  of  visual  surveillance  of  public  and  semi-­‐public  space.     •  Provide  guidance  for  the  design  of  spaces  and  buildings  to  create  perceptible  and   clearly  delineated  gradients  and  access  points  between  public  and  private  realms.   • Strictly  enforce  maintenance  standards  and  building  codes   •  Mandate  the  incorporation  of  symbolic  barriers  indicative  of  defensible  space,   particularly  in  campus  and  larger  institutional  settings         7  Improve  transportation  options     7.1  Improve  street  design.     • Code  the  streets  identifying  all  corridor  place  types  by  adopting  the:  The  Complete   Streets  Thoroughfare  Assemblies,  Transit-­‐Oriented  Development  and  Bicycling   Modules  in  the  SmartCode,  which  can  be  accessed  here:   http://www.transect.org/modules.html     Develop  a  “complete  streets”  design  manual  and  specifications  based  upon  the   street  codes  to  ensure  that  in  all  roadway  facility  upgrades,  including  lane-­‐marking   contracts,  all  appropriate  bicycle  and  pedestrian  facilities  as  well  as  stormwater   management  mitigation  are  included  as  a  matter  of  course.   Code  Buffalo’s  existing  overbuilt  highway  infrastructure  to  begin  the  discussion  of   upgrading  our  highways  to  pedestrian-­‐friendly,  bikeable,  high-­‐capacity  urban   boulevards  that  reconnects  to  the  Joseph  Ellicott  radial  street  grid  pattern.    

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6.6  Increase  public  safety  through  effective  urban  design.    

Incorporate  by  reference  the  National  Association  of  City  Transportation   Officials'  Urban  Bikeway  Design  Guide  (2010)  as  the  implementation  guide  for  the   City's  Complete  Streets  Policy.     Map  a  conceptual  framework  for  the  full  build-­‐out  of  a  Buffalo  bicycle  facility   network,  including  a  system  of  on-­‐street  bicycle  lanes  and  cycle-­‐tracks  as  well  as   off-­‐street  paths  (including  rails  to  trails).  Establish  city  policy  to  include  the   development  and  maintenance  of  a  minimum  of  ten  (10)  miles  of  bicycle  facilities   annually.   Incorporate  by  reference  the  Institute  for  Transportation  Engineers’  Designing   Walkable  Urban  Thoroughfares:  A  Context  Sensitive  Approach  (2010)  as  the  guide   for  the  design  of  new  and  reconstructed  streets  in  Buffalo’s  neighborhood   contexts.     Map  a  conceptual  framework  for  the  implementation  of  walkable  urban   thoroughfare  improvements  in  focused  areas  over  time.  Adopt  a  targeted   approach  for  streetscape  beautification  and  “right-­‐sizing”  of  Buffalo’s  priority   mixed-­‐use  neighborhood  centers,  taking  into  account  the  need  to  deploy  limited   resources  to  sites  that  will  generate  high  returns  on  investment.  Establish  city   policy  to  include  the  maintenance  and  repair  of  a  minimum  of  ten  (10)  miles  of   pedestrian  facilities  annually.   Identify  candidates  for  “road  diet”  strategies  across  the  city  that  would   rationalize  traffic  flow  and  align  roadway  capacity  with  desired  design  speeds.     Maximize  on-­‐street  parking  facilities  and  charge  market-­‐rate  pricing  to  ensure   the  availability  and  convenience  of  parking  for  motorists,  while  creating  dedicated   on-­‐  street  spaces  for  car  sharing  initiatives.     Provide  sidewalks  along  both  sides  of  all  general  access  streets,  with  the  excep-­‐ tion  of  alleys.     Maximize  on-­‐street  parking  facilities  and  charge  market-­‐rate  pricing  to  ensure  the   availability  and  convenience  of  parking  for  motorists,  while  creating  dedicated  on-­‐   street  spaces  for  car  sharing  initiatives.     •  Maximize  on-­‐street  parking  and  consider  dedicated  spaces  for  car-­‐sharing   initiatives.     •  Strive  forImplement  reasonable  design  speeds  for  general  access  streets  that   calm  traffic,  reduce  pedestrian  crossing  distances,  and  promote  efficient  motor   vehicle  movement.     •  Introduce  features  that  have  been  shown  to  effectively  improve  roadway  safety,   such  as  timed  pedestrian  signals  and  curb  extensions.     •  Craft  maximum  block  size  standards  to  facilitate  a  connective  street  network,   and  avoid  cul-­‐de-­‐sacs.  

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•  Plant  and  maintain  native  shade  trees  between  the  street  and  sidewalk  along  all   neighborhood  streets.     •  Ensure  street  lighting  of  the  proper  scale,  aesthetics,  and  intensity.     •  Reduce  the  negative  effects  of  highways  high-­‐capacity  roadways  on  adjacent   neighborhoods.     7.2  Encourage  walking  and  cycling.     • • Support  the  NFTA’s  goals  to  implement  “Bikes  on  Buses”  on  all  vehicles  in  the   Authority’s  bus  fleet.     Incorporate  the  City's  bicycle  parking  policy  directly  into  the  general  provisions  of   the  Zoning  Ordinance  for  simplicity  and  ease  of  use  by  the  investment  community.   Consider  ways  to  strengthen  the  bicycle  parking  policy.   Increase  the  number  of  youth  attending  neighborhood  schools  by  50%  so  children   can  choose  to  walk  or  bicycle  because  it  is  safe,  accessible  and  convenient.   Increase  the  number  of  students  walking  and  cycling  to  school  in  the  City  of   Buffalo.   Enhance  pedestrian  facilities  within  a  one  (1)  mile  radius  of  all  transit  stations.   Enhance  bicycle  facilities  within  a  three  (3)  mile  radius  of  all  transit  stations.   •  Use  road  maintenance,  construction  and  reconstruction  projects  as   opportunities  to  create  great  pedestrian  environments,  focusing  investments   around  neighborhoods,  employment  centers,  parks,  and  schools.     • Implement  the  City’s  1998  of  Buffalo  Greenway  plan  to  provide  further  bike  and   pedestrian  connectivity.    Routes  should  be  prioritized  1)  to  extend  or  loop  existing   trails  (such  as  the  Erie  Canalway  Trail);  2)  to  provide  linkages  between  existing   parks;  3)  to  access  local  destinations  (such  as  the  Central  Wharf);  4)  in   recreationally  under-­‐served  neighborhoods;  and  5)  to  utilize  existing  abandoned   rail  beds  in  and  adjacent  to  neighborhoods  (such  as  the  DL&W).     •  Complement  walkability  investments  with  land  use  policies  that  encourage   mixed  uses  within  close  proximity  to  each  other.     •  Furnish  sidewalk  widths  to  facilitate  maximum  pedestrian  use,  and  install   pedestrian  ramps  at  all  street  corners  in  accordance  with  ADA.   • Ensure  striping  of  crosswalks  and  ensure  pedestrian  crossings  are  as-­‐of-­‐right   (pedestrians  do  not  need  to  push  a  button  to  be  allowed  to  cross  the  street)  and   provide  adequate  time  to  comfortably  cross  the  roadway.     Permit  and  implement  mid-­‐block  crosswalks,  using  a  combination  of  striping,   signage  and  signalization  as  appropriate.   Set  requirements  for  street  furnishing  and  amenities  such  as  benches,  garbage   cans  and  recycling  stations.    

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•  Plan  for  and  implement  a  phased  series  of  road  diets  in  response  to  reduced   traffic  volumes,  increasing  space  for  pedestrians,  cyclists,  and  tree  lawnsgreen   infrastructure  wherever  possible.     •  Embrace  Mayor  Brown’s  Bicycle  Mobility  Project  by  continuing  to  install  bicycle   facilities  as  part  of  routine  roadway  construction  projects.     •  Continue  installation  of  bicycle  racks  in  neighborhood  centers  through  ongoing   implementation  of  Mayor  Brown’s  Commercial  District  Bicycle  Rack  Program.     •  Encourage  sidewalk  cafes  to  enhance  street  activity  and  attract  more  pedestrian   traffic.   7.3  Promote  transportation  alternatives.     • Support  the  construction  of  a  new  downtown  Amtrak  station  built  to  express  the   highest  ideals  and  noblest  traditions  of  the  city.  Planners  should  consider  reserving   a  location  near  the  foot  of  Main  Street  for  such  a  station.     Establish  as  a  regional  priority  a  proposed  “extreme  makeover”  of  the  NFTA’s   Metropolitan  Transportation  Center.  As  intercity  bus  travel  rises,  the  first   impression  provided  to  visitors  to  Buffalo  will  be  vital.     Align  land  use  policies  with  high  frequency  bus  corridors  to  identify  focal  areas  for   public  and  private  investment.     Support  the  conversion  to  hybrid  technology  of  all  vehicles  in  the  NFTA’s  bus  fleet   to  increase  transit  rider  comfort  and  environmental  performance.     Call  for  “Bikes  on  Buses”  to  be  implemented  on  all  vehicles  in  the  NFTA’s  bus  fleet   to  encourage  intermodal  transit.     Call  for  a  design  competition  for  a  new  standard  Buffalo  bus  shelter,  modeled  after   similar  competitions  in  Toronto  and  New  York.     The  light  rail  system  should  be  expanded  to  provide  better  access  to  residents  with   stops  located  within  a  1⁄4  mile  of  all  residential  and  commercial  parcels.   •  Protect  rail-­‐to-­‐trail  opportunities  and  incorporate  vacant  rail  corridors  into   greenway  plans  where  appropriate.     •  Support  a  robust  transit  system  by  focusing  compact  neighborhood  development   and  employment  density  in  areas  with  high  transit  accessibility.     •  Revisit  Reverse  policies  that  give  undue  preference  to  automobile  use  at  the   expense  of  transit,  such  as  minimum  parking  requirements.     •  Support  the  NFTA’s  efforts  to  rationalize  schedules  and  fares,  increase  service   frequency,  and  create  a  priority  bus  network.   •   Consider  streetcars  as  another  mode  of  public  transportation.  

• • • • •

 

Environment  
Planning   for   a   sustainable   environment   means   creating   compact   neighborhoods   and   districts   that   will   save   energy   and   protect   the   quality   of   air,   water,   and   land.   Natural   systems   become   part   of   the   solution   to   lessen   the   impacts   of   urban   living,   while   pro-­‐ tecting  against  the  abuse  of  resources  that  threaten  the  city’s  long-­‐term   development   objectives.     Parks   and   open   spaces   provide   tangible   economic,   environmental,   and   social   benefits.   The   plan   will   protect   open   space,   support   an   accessible   and   integrated   network   of   open   spaces,  and  work  to  ensure  that  no  residence  is  located  more  than  a  quarter-­‐mile  from   an  open  space.     Consistent  with  these  principles,  the  plan  applies  to  areas  that  can  support  the  long-­‐ term  goals  of  both  open  space  expansion  and  riparian  setbacks.  Principles  will  help   conserve  water  as  recreational,  economic,  and  habitat  resources  by  fitting  the  ecological   function  of  locations  on  the  water’s  edge,  while  working  to  expand  access  to  the  water.   Stormwater  and  snow  melt  management  and  the  emerging  response  to  Buffalo’s   combined  sewer  overflow  problem  will  be  addressed  by  using  vacant  lands  to  reduce   runoff  into  the  sewer  system.     GREEN  INFRASTRUCTURE:  UNDER  DEVELOPMENT    

Green  Infrastructure  can  provide  an  array  of  environmental  s ervices  through  natural  processes   in  the  city.    These  b enefits  will  b e  reinforced  through  zoning  including  the  role  of  vegetation  in   weather  modification  and  pollution  control,  habitat  and  its  connectivity,  productive   landscapes,  and  so  on.    A  major  role  that  Green  Infrastructure  can  play  in  the  City  is  to  h elp  In   order  to  reduce  the  volume  and  frequency  of  overflow  events  from  the  city’s  combined  s ewer   system.     The  Buffalo  Sewer  Authority  (BSA)  is  currently  d eveloping  a  Long  Term  Control  Plan  (LTCP)  in   accordance  with  the  national  Combined  Sewer  Overflow  (CSO)  Control  Policy  issued  b y  the   United  States  Environmental  Protection  Agency  (USEPA)  in  1994.  The  LTCP  identifies  the   necessary  improvements  to  comply  with  the  requirements  of  the  Clean  Water  Act,  including   attainment  of  current  or  revised  water  quality  s tandards.     The  BSA  is  a lso  in  the  midst  of  Consent  Decree  negotiations  with  the  USEPA  and  the  New  York   State  Department  of  Environmental  Conservation  (NYSDEC)  regarding  the  updated  LTCP.  The   final  LTCP  will  b e  a  multi-­‐million  dollar,  multi-­‐year  program  to  abate  impacts  of  CSOs  and   improve  water  q uality.     The  LTCP  will  u ltimately  recommend  a  combination  of  traditional  or  gray  infrastructure   improvements,  a long  with  more  innovative  green  infrastructure  improvements.  While  the  gray   infrastructure  solutions  will  primarily  b e  located  underground,  in  the  right-­‐of-­‐ways,  or  on   publically-­‐owned  properties,  the  potential  green  infrastructure  solutions  may  require  use  of   private  properties  such  as  vacant  lots  or  brownfield  sites.     The  BSA  is  represented  on  the  Buffalo  Green  Code  Technical  Advisory  Committee.  At  this  point   it  is  too  early  in  the  LTCP  process  to  be  able  to  identify  specifically  how  the  Green  Code  can   assist  BSA’s  LTCP  process.  When  the  LTCP  is  completed  next  year,  the  city  will  work  to   incorporate  comprehensive  green  infrastructure  s trategies  into  the  zoning  ordinance.  

8  Enhance  natural  resources     8.1  Identify,  Pprotect  and  restore  sensitive  habitats.     •  Reconnect  fragmented  ecosystems  with  linear  open  space  systems  and  establish   buffer  requirements  for  protection.     •  Encourage  native  landscaping  and  tree  planting.     •  Preserve  and  enhance  the  urban  forest  by  providing  suitable  growing  environ-­‐ ments  for  trees;  and  increasing  tree  canopy  coverage  and  diversity.     •  Incorporate  old  growth  tree  protection  and  replacement-­‐in-­‐kind  provisions  into   the  zoning  code.     •  Restore  the  night  sky  by  basing  permissible  levels  of  brightness  on  the  type  of   place  being  lit,  use  the  best  principles  of  the  Dark  Sky  Initiative  recognizing  that   light  should  not  be  directed  upward  nor  to  the  side  as  light  can  travel  hundreds  of   miles.     • Institute  a  form  of  tree  preservation  /  canopy  protection,  incentivize  increased   canopy  on  private  land  and  increase  efforts  on  public  lands  and  streets.   •  Create,  regulate  and  enforce  controls  to  protect  slopes,  flood  plains,  wetlands,   farms,  and  coastal  waters  and  streams  from  inappropriate  development.     • Establish  standards  for  maintaining  stream  and  river  banks,  including  the  removal   of  invasive  species  and  planting  of  naturalized  riparian  vegetationovergrowth.     •  Restore  naturalized  edges  on  nonworking  waterfronts.     •  Allow  Encourage  and  incentivize  on-­‐site  and  district  stormwater  and  snow  melt   management  practices  tailored  to  urban  context.     •  Minimize  impervious  surfaces  and  allow  and  require  the  use  of  permeable   pavement.     •  Implement  Continue  to  test  green  infrastructure  solutions,  such  as  constructed   wetlands,  green  streets,  downspout  disconnection,  rain  gardens,  bioswales,  and   green  and  blue  roofs,  to  minimize  combined  sewer  overflows.       9  Reinvigorate  public  health     9.1  Promote  healthy  and  sustainable  environments   • • Redefine  “Open  Space  Districts”  to  include  community  gardens,  clean-­‐and-­‐ green,  and  other  non-­‐traditional  gathering  spaces  that  promote  healthy  living.   Support  and  promote  innovative  development  strategies  including  open  space   requirements,  zoning  incentives  and  others.  

8.2  Enhance  riparian  environments.    

• •

Ensure  development  and  design  standards  that  promote  public  safety  and   community  health.   Combine  park  &  recreational  planning  with  programming  to  target  obesity  and   poor  health  among  citizens  in  neighborhoods,  particularly  where  these  conditions   as  prevalent  and  engage  public/private  partner  ships  to  address  community  health   in  these  neighborhoods.   Mitigate  and  move  to  eliminate  the  impacts  of  highways  and  high  volume   roadways  on  neighborhood  residents.     •  Advance  Support  the  scheduled,  phased  implementation  of  both  the  Complete   Streets  Policy  and  the  Healthy  City  on  the  Great  Lake  addendum  recommendations   to  the  Comprehensive  Plan.   •  Prioritize  ongoing  sidewalk  maintenance  in  all  seasons  to  encourage  walking,   taking  into  special  consideration  the  needs  of  the  young,  the  aged  and  the   mobility-­‐impaired.     •  Support,  adopt  and  implement  plans  for  Safe  Routes  to  Schools  and  Safe  Routes   for  the  Elderly.    

9.1  2  Promote  active  living.    

Assess  and  improve  the  quality,  upkeep,  safety  and  cultural  appropriateness  of   existing  neighborhood  play  spaces  and  Support  ensure    the  creation,   rehabilitation,  and  maintenance  of  parks,  playgrounds,  recreation  facilities  and   open  spaces  within  a  ¼  mile  of  all  city  residences.   Ensure  opportunities  for  structured  and  unstructured  physical  activity  in  all   seasons  (ice  rinks,  sledding  hills,  splash  pads  and  pools,  etc.)   Implement  the  City’s  Bicycle  Master  Plan  as  per  the  criteria  in  Section  7  above.   •    Remove  barriers  toEncourage  and  provide  incentives  for  developing  grocery   stores,  healthy  corner  stores,  outdoor  markets,  and  farm/er’s  garden  stands   throughout  the  city,  prioritizing  underserved  neighborhoods  and  facilitate  the   acceptance  of  EBT/SNAP  payments  in  all  venues.at  convenient  locations   throughout  the  city,     while  preventing  vendors  from  selling  individual  items  and  stolen  property.    

• •

9.23    Enable  Create  a  healthy  local  food  systemproduction  and  distribution.    

Restrict  unhealthy  food  options,  such  as  fast  food  restaurants,  adjacent  to  or   near  school  facilities  while  encouraging  on-­‐site  or  adjacent  gardens  and  facilitating   acquisition  of  land  for  these  purposes  where  appropriate.   Ensure  that  urban  agriculture  can  flourish  on  public  and  private  property  by   adopting  zoning  regulations  that  permit  home  gardens,  community  gardens  and   urban  farms  where  appropriate.  

•  Protect  existing  and  allow  for  the  establishment  of  new  small-­‐scale  urban   agriculture,  with  appropriate  guidelines  on  the  design  of  greenhouses,  hoop   houses,  and  the  like.     • Ensure  that  urban  agriculture  can  flourish  on  public  and  private  property  by   adopting  zoning  regulations  that  permit  home  gardens,  community  gardens,  urban   husbandry  (bees,  chickens,  fish,  etc.)  and  urban  farms  where  appropriate.   •  Permit  defined    Allowurban  agriculture  activities  in  high-­‐vacancyall  five   neighborhoods  as  a  long-­‐term  use  place  types,  with  guidelines  for  uses,  quality   design,  and  strict  standards  governing  safety  and  aesthetics.     •  Allow  produce  sales  as  a  temporary  a  conditional  or  permitted  use,  with   appropriate  limitations  on  location,  size,  and  time  of  operation,  in  multiple  place-­‐ types  throughout  the  city.     • Promote  economic  development  and  neighborhood  revitalization  through  the   creation  of  a  strong  local  food  system,  including  encouraging  new  innovations  in   the  production,  processing,  distribution,  sale,  consumption  and  disposal  of  food   and  lend  support  to  the  development  of  a  regional  food  policy.  

9.3  Promote  healthy  and  sustainable  environments   Redefine  “Open  Space  Districts”  to  include  community  gardens,  clean-­‐and-­‐green,  and   other  non-­‐traditional  gathering  spaces  that  promote  healthy  living   Support  and  promote  innovative  development  strategies  including  open  space   requirements,  zoning  incentives  and  others   Ensure  development  and  design  standards  that  promote  public  safety  and  community   health   Support  and  promote  innovative  building  technologies  including  water  catchments,   green  buildings,  green  roofs  and  others     10  Preserve  natural,  cultural,  and  historic  resources     10.1  Protect  and  enhance  open  spaces.     •  Inventory  permanent,  appropriated,  left-­‐over,  and  informal    open  spaces  in  the   city  and  createdevelop  criteria  for  protection  protections  for  them.     •  Identify  the  typological  characteristics  of  various  open  space  types  and  reinforce   these  characteristics  through  provisions  in  the  zoning  code.   •  Identify  and  Pprioritize  open  space  investments  within  neighborhoods  with  a   park  or  public  space  deficit  so  that  all  residential  areas  in  the  City  of  Buffalo  have   access  within  a  1/4  mile  distance  of  their  homes.     •  Ensure  high-­‐quality  design  of  open  spaces  to  promote  (1)  human  use  (user   comfort,  safety,  accessibility,  and  year-­‐round  use);  (2)  economic  use  (;  enhance  the   quality  of  place;,  and  increase  value  to  adjacent  properties  and  environmental  

services);  and  (3)  habitat  value  (type  of  habitat,  connectivity,  protection  for   sensitive  areas  and  so  on).     • Prevent  further  encroachment  of  parks  and  open  space  for  city/  state/  federal/   private  infrastructure  and  promote  future  park  restoration.     Code  land  adjacent  to  Buffalo’s  overbuilt  highway  infrastructure  along  the   waterfront  (190/  Routes  5)  to  plan  for  reuse  as  highways  are  calmed  and  upgraded   to  pedestrian-­‐friendly,  bikeable,  high-­‐capacity  urban  boulevards  that  reconnects  to   the  Joseph  Ellicott  radial  street  grid  pattern.     •  Support  planning  initiatives  for  the  Niagara  River  Greenway,  Buffalo  River   Greenway,  Black  Rock  Channel  Greenway,  the  DL&W  (The  Del)  Greenway  and   Outer  Harbor  Greenway.     •  Support  on-­‐going  efforts  to  restore  the  health  of  the  city’s  water  bodies  such  as   the  cleanup  of  watershed  contaminated  lands,  green  infrastructure  in  public   rights-­‐of-­‐way,  the  establishment  of  vegetated  buffers,  and  the  establishment  of   appropriate  land  uses  adjacent  to  these  water  bodies.     •  Establish  a  pedestrian-­‐scaled  framework  of  streets,  blocks,  and  development   parcels  at  the  foot  of  Erie  Street.     •  Recognize  Scajaquada  Creek’s  ecological  and  recreational  potential  including  1)   supporting  the  ongoing  corridor  redesign  by  NYDOT;  2)  eliminating  untreated   sewer  and  stormwater  outfalls  into  the  creek;  3)  establishing  a  continuous  linear   park;  and  4)  taking  steps  toward  daylighting  the  buried  portion  of  the  creek.     •  Integrate  the  land  use  policy  framework  of  the  City  of  Buffalo’s  Local  Waterfront   Revitalization  Program  (LWRP)  into  the  zoning  code.     •  RequireConsider  a  minimum  100  foot  buffer  zone  along  nonworking  waterfronts   into  the  zoning  code  to  ensure  public  access.     •  Require  development  to  acknowledge  both  the  water  and  the  street  as  principal   frontages,  to  avoid  treating  either  entrance  as  a  “back  door.”     10.3  Preserve  cultural  and  historic  resources.     •  Reestablish  lost  elements  of  the  Ellicott  street  network,  and  reserve  former   rights-­‐of-­‐way  for  restoration.     •  Reestablish  lost  and  incomplete  elements  of  the  Olmsted  park  and  parkway   system,  and  reserve  its  borders  for  the  highest  grade  of  development.     •  Align  land  use  and  zoning  efforts  with  the  forthcoming  Buffalo  Preservation  Plan.      

10.2  Support  waterfront  access  and  usage.     •

Implementation  
  Future  Place  Type  Maps  -­‐  General  Principles     The  place-­‐types  on  the  “Future  Land  Use  Maps”  reflect  the  recommended  use   for  each  block.     Neighborhood  place-­‐types  are  a  mix  of  residential,  support  services,  open  space,   and  civic  institutions,  distinguished  by  the  relationship  of  the  building  to  the  lot  and  the   block.    Ensure  a  minimum  of  11-­‐12  units/acre  to  ensure  sufficient  density  for  local   services.   Clusters  of  residential  blocks  should  be  encouraged  to  develop  centers.  These   pedestrian-­‐oriented  place-­‐types  should  always  be  mixed-­‐use  in  character,  with  a   walkable  building  form.     Residential  superblocks  that  do  not  fit  the  character  of  the  adjacent  neighbor-­‐ hood  are  encouraged  to  redevelop  as  place-­‐types  more  consistent  with  the  block  and   street  patterns  of  the  surrounding  neighborhood.     Where  an  increase  in  intensity  or  mix  of  use  would  be  appropriate,  neighbor-­‐ hood  and  retail  blocks  within  a  5-­‐minute  walk  of  transit  stations  have  been  changed  to  a   more  intense  form  of  development.     Automobile-­‐oriented  convenience  retail  is  located  contained  at  the  edges  of   neighborhoods,  adjacent  to  existing  retail  centers,  along  high-­‐volume  arterials,  or  near   limited-­‐access  highway  interchanges  and  is  phased  out  as  redevelopment  occurs.     Heavy  manufacturing  districts  are  changed  to  light  manufacturing,  unless  there  is   an  existing  or  planned  heavy  manufacturing  use.     Open  spaces  generally  reflect  only  those  lands  that  are  publicly  owned  or  man-­‐ aged.  The  need  for  additional  open  spaces  requiring  land  acquisition  should  be   addressed  in  a  separate  study.    However,  many  open  spaces  in  the  city  are  owned  by   institutions  or  are  private.  Lands  associated  with  office  parks  could  be  provided  with   incentives  to  provide  public  access  and  accommodations  and  currently,  there  is  a   100/setback  along  the  Buffalo  River  for  habitat  protection.  This  strategy  could  be  used   in  other  places  for  habitat  protection.   Abandoned  transportation  corridors,  and  City-­‐owned  land  that  is  part  of  a  long-­‐ term  plan  for  expanding  transportation  networks,  are  designated  as  open  space.  should   be  designated  as  a  separate  category  as  they  have  been,  in  the  past,  appropriate  for   other  uses  and  should  have  been  saved  for  transportation  corridors.       Blocks  that  would  benefit  from  the  greater  intensity  of  a  downtown  develop-­‐ ment  character,  such  as  those  along  the  radials  extending  out  from  the  central  business   district,  on  Main  Street  between  Goodell  and  North,  and  west  of  the  BNMC,  are   designated  Neighborhood  Urban  Core  place-­‐types.    

A SUSTIANABLE TRANSPORTATION AGENDA Background Mayor Byron W. Brown announced on Earth Day 2010 the start of a process to implement the Buffalo Green Code, an exciting initiative to transform Buffalo's neighborhoods along place-based principles. In 2011, this ambitious two-year effort to create a new land use plan and zoning code for Buffalo is well underway. “Our zoning reform effort will act as the foundation for the new place-based economic development strategy for Buffalo’s neighborhoods in every section of the city,” the Mayor said at the project announcement in the Larkin District. “The new zoning ordinance will be known as the Buffalo Green Code. It will embody 21st century values about economic development, sustainability, and walkable, green urbanism.” The new Buffalo Green Code includes the first citywide land use plan since 1977 and the first zoning code since 1951. The project is an unparalleled opportunity to actualize the smart growth and sustainability objectives of Buffalo's Comprehensive Plan (2006). Green Options Buffalo congratulates Mayor Byron Brown on his leadership for taking on this bold and ambitious project. It is in the spirit of collaboration with Mayor Brown's initiative for a Buffalo Green Code that Green Options Buffalo submits for the City’s consideration its Sustainable Transportation Agenda. This Sustainable Transportation Agenda is our organization's take on how to create a more competitive Buffalo that embraces healthy, environmentally sustainable, and community-friendly transportation. Introduction Mayor Byron W. Brown is moving forward on a new land use plan and zoning code for the City of Buffalo. This initiative promises to make Buffalo healthier, wealthier, and more attractive to talent and investment. Cities across North America and Europe are competing to be the most livable, the most vibrant, the most sustainable—all in an effort to gain the upper hand in the global competition for knowledge workers and the capital needed for job creation. As a global economy makes these resources even more mobile, high quality places will continue to have an advantage in attracting and retaining these resources. Quality of place matters more than ever.

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda

As has been demonstrated in many successful cities, Green Options Buffalo believes that in order to create a competitive city, sustainable transportation policies are vital and indispensable. As the City of Buffalo rolls out a new land use plan to inform an entirely new zoning code, we are reminded that transportation—the public realm of streets, sidewalks, bicycle facilities, transit corridors, and the like—directly impacts and largely determines the use of the land. Transportation uses themselves compose a significant share of the city’s land area, and an even larger share of the land under the direct public control. A land use plan cannot be credibly advanced without addressing the key linkages between transportation, land use, and economic development. Peer cities like Pittsburgh, Madison, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis, Chicago—all are realizing the economic development and talent attraction dividends of sustainable transportation policies and investments. Buffalo has already started to engage in this competition through the adoption of a Complete Streets Policy, the Mayor's Bicycle Mobility Project, the GBNRTC's Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan, and the NFTA's Transit Service & Restructuring Survey. Already Buffalo ranks high among the top 100 cities in sustainable transportation performance. The U.S. Census American Communities Survey (2009) reveals: • Buffalo is #7 in the country in car-independence, with 31.42% of all households going car-free, a higher rate than in San Francisco (28.56%) and Chicago (28.85%). • Buffalo is #20 in the country in bicycle commuting, with a bike modal share of 1.35% (up from 0.43% in 2000). The percentage of commuters using bikes to get to work in Buffalo more than doubled with a 158% increase from 2000 to 2009. • Buffalo is #12 in the country in both the walk to work and the transit to work categories. Buffalo has nearly the same proportion of people making work commutes by transit (12.52%) and by walking (5.43%) as Portland, Oregon (12.89% and 5.47%, respectively), widely cited as a leader in sustainability. Walking and taking transit to work increased by 19% and 7%, respectively, from 2000 to 2009. Buffalo must tell the story of these successes and build upon them. But the city has a long way to go before it is competitive with the most successful and forward-thinking peer cities. Buffalo should consider making a primary objective to be at least #7, or as high as our highest current ranking, in all of these categories among cities nationally. This will require assertive and coordinated efforts to transform Buffalo's transportation policies and infrastructure, yet the pay-off will be in increased livability, sustainability, and economic competitiveness. This transformative process must begin with Buffalo's new land use plan and zoning code.

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda The Sustainable Transportation Agenda outlines seven agenda items to achieve this #7 performance benchmark: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Create a biking city. Embrace walkable urban thoroughfares. Code the streets. Transform the highways. Create gateways. Take transit. Don't forget the cars.

As suggestions for the upcoming land use plan and zoning code, these ideas are submitted to inspire the conversation about what kind of city Buffalo can become. Green Options Buffalo hopes its Sustainable Transportation Agenda will be a valuable contribution to ongoing community dialog on the Green Code. Create a biking city. Creating a Buffalo that invites its citizens to bike its streets will require new and innovative approaches to bicycle planning. The 2009 National Household Travel Survey indicates 28% of all trips in the United States are one mile or less, so shifting more of these trips from car to bike is achievable. Minneapolis is consistently rated America’s #1 biking city, so snow and cold aren’t limiting factors. Small efforts have already produced more bicycle use in Buffalo. More comprehensive efforts will indubitably generate more. Increasing Buffalo's bicycle use will improve people’s health, produce personal and public cost savings, and reduce the per-capita carbon footprint. To create a biking city, the new land use plan should: • Incorporate by reference the National Association of City Transportation Officials' Urban Bikeway Design Guide (2010) as the implementation guide for the City's Complete Streets Policy. The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide provides cities with the state-of-the-practice solutions that help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for cyclists. • Map a conceptual framework for the full build-out of a Buffalo bicycle facility network, including a system of on-street bicycle lanes and cycle-tracks as well as off-street paths (including rails to trails). Include mileage goals for complete build-out. • Support the NFTA’s goals to implement “Bikes on Buses” on all vehicles in the Authority’s bus fleet. • Set a commuter mode share target for bicycling.

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda

To reinforce bike-friendly development patterns, the new zoning code should: • Incorporate the City's bicycle parking policy directly into the general provisions of the Zoning Ordinance for simplicity and ease of use by the investment community. Consider ways to strengthen the bicycle parking policy. Embrace walkable urban thoroughfares. Creating a Buffalo where walking is a pleasure will require a retrofit of infrastructure that has long favored the car over the pedestrian. To tip the pendulum back toward walkability, the City should pursue pedestrian comfort as a priority objective for all street design. To create a walking city, the new land use plan should: • Incorporate by reference the Institute for Transportation Engineers’ Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach (2010) as the guide for the design of new and reconstructed streets in Buffalo’s neighborhood contexts. The guide assists communities in improving mobility choices and community character through a commitment to creating and enhancing walkable communities and restoring the multiple functions of urban streets. It provides guidance and demonstrates how context-sensitive design principles and techniques may be applied where community objectives support new urbanism and smart growth: walkable, connected neighborhoods, mixed land uses, and easy access for all modes of transportation. • Map a conceptual framework for the implementation of walkable urban thoroughfare improvements in focused areas over time. Adopt a targeted approach for streetscape beautification and “right-sizing” of Buffalo’s priority mixed-use neighborhood centers, taking into account the need to deploy limited resources to sites that will generate high returns on investment. • Set a commuter mode share target for walking. Code the streets. Creating a Buffalo where people linger in and cherish their streets will require redesigning them for people. A number of American cities, such as New York and San Francisco, have come out with manuals and toolkits to guide the design of streets. Other cities, such as Miami, have created regulatory manuals in which street design methods are directly integrated into zoning codes. These form-based codes almost always include basic design regulations for “street typologies” matched to neighborhood and district contexts.

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda

These cities’ policies have been essential elements in facilitating livability and placemaking objectives. Using the ITE's walkable urban thoroughfares design manual as a starting point, the City might consider including design regulations for new and reconstructed streets as part of a “unified” zoning ordinance. This would necessarily require the repeal of Buffalo’s 1969 subdivision ordinance and the incorporation of replacement zoning regulations that more closely match the smart growth objectives of Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan. This process is easier than one might think. The street design guidelines in the Smart Code, a model form-based code, are only two pages in length. Transform the highways. Creating a Buffalo where value is restored will require a re-think of its overbuilt highway infrastructure. As projects in New York, San Francisco, Portland, and Milwaukee have demonstrated, highway removal can be achieved without negatively impacting regional mobility. Replacing highways with boulevards has in fact attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment and saved billions of dollars that would have been spent on highway reconstruction and maintenance. Cities everywhere, including New Orleans, Louisville, St. Louis, Syracuse, and Seattle, are now giving serious consideration to upgrading highways to pedestrian-friendly, high capacity boulevards reconnected to their street grids. In fact, the removal of the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans was first proposed by Jacques Gourguechon, now on the project management team for the Buffalo Green Code. A study by Harvard economist Ed Glaeser determined that every new highway passing through a central city reduced its population by about 18%. In Buffalo, highways trampled historic neighborhoods, emptied arterial streets of retail-sustaining commuter traffic, fueled the flight of people and jobs to the suburbs, and divided neighborhoods from each other and from the waterfront. Buffalo’s land use plan can begin the highway-removal discussion by declaring key corridors as “highways without futures.” Planning for the conversion of these corridors—including portions of Route 5, the Kensington, the Scajaquada, and I-190—to attractive, traffic calmed boulevards is now realistic and mainstream. Such bold steps can return economic activity and value to city neighborhoods. Will Buffalo take the leap and join progressive cities like Syracuse?

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda Create gateways. Creating a Buffalo that is a pleasure to visit will require new intercity gateways. Grand Rapids is building a new $4.6 million Amtrak station. Schenectady, NY is building a multimodal station, too, to the tune of $13 million. St. Louis recently completed its downtown Gateway Transportation Center for $31.4 million. Even Niagara Falls, NY, is moving forward on a $44 million multimodal station prepped for high-speed rail at its historic U. S. Customs House. Buffalo already has an amazing airport. Now it’s time to build a new Amtrak station and a Metropolitan Transportation Center that proclaims to visitors: you have arrived in a great place! Trains and buses represent the most sustainable forms of intercity travel. Encouraging these modes of travel can only make Buffalo greener and more prosperous. With gas prices and short-trip tourism on the rise, intercity rail and bus are also the two fastest growing modes of travel. To create a visitor-friendly city, the new land use plan should: • Support the construction of a new downtown Amtrak station built to express the highest ideals and noblest traditions of the city. Planners should consider reserving a location near the foot of Main Street for such a station. • Establish as a regional priority a proposed “extreme makeover” of the NFTA’s Metropolitan Transportation Center. As intercity bus travel rises, the first impression provided to visitors to Buffalo will be vital. It’s time to make intercity bus travel—and Buffalo—chic! Take transit. Creating a Buffalo where public transit is a first choice, not a Plan B or Plan C for getting around town, will require some new ideas. In 1971, Mayor Frank Sedita proposed constructing a light rail rapid transit system linking downtown Buffalo to its suburbs. The NFTA followed. Fifteen years after this idea was introduced by the Sedita administration in its 1971 downtown plan, the Metro Rail was a reality. It’s time to complete Sedita’s vision by completing the Metro Rail system, with new linkages to UB’s North Campus and the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. While forging these connections may take time, it’s never too early to start the planning work. The land use plan and zoning code should anticipate these investments by making

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda future Transit Oriented Development (TOD) neighborhoods “transit ready” while strengthening rules that direct high-intensity development to Metro Rail’s existing station areas. In 1950 the last of Buffalo’s streetcars were decommissioned by the International Railway Company (IRC). Cities across the nation, including Cincinnati and Portland, are reintroducing streetcar systems as smart growth and economic development drivers. In every case, these comparatively inexpensive fixed-rail investments are yielding huge job, investment, and development dividends for their respective cities. In Buffalo many of the city’s bus corridors, such as the Elmwood and the Hertel/Fillmore, have ridership numbers that exceed that of the cutting-edge streetcar systems. Planners should give serious consideration to suggesting streetcar displacement of some of these high ridership bus routes, giving Buffalo back this “Cadillac” of public transit options. The Obama administration recently revised federal rules to make it easier for cities to secure federal funding for streetcar projects, so the time is ripe to consider a Buffalo Streetcar Feasibility Study. To make Buffalo more transit-friendly in the near term, the land use plan should: • Support the NFTA’s efforts to rationalize bus schedules, increase service frequency in the central city, and create a high frequency (<15 min. peak hour frequency) bus network. • Align land use policies with high frequency bus corridors to identify focal areas for public and private investment. • Support the conversion to hybrid technology of all vehicles in the NFTA’s bus fleet to increase transit rider comfort and environmental performance. • Call for “Bikes on Buses” to be implemented on all vehicles in the NFTA’s bus fleet to encourage intermodal transit. • Call for a design competition for a new standard Buffalo bus shelter, modeled after similar competitions in Toronto and New York. • Set a commuter mode share target for transit. Don’t forget the cars. Creating a Buffalo where motorists can get from place to place safely and efficiently while really enjoying the trip will require a new look at urban mobility.

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda In the last century, moving cars fast was the only objective. Today’s traffic engineering takes a more holistic approach to street design. This sustainable approach guarantees motorists can move slower, without undue delay; more efficiently, without dangerous speeds; more pleasurably, without running over the neighbor’s cat. To make Buffalo more motorist friendly, the land use plan should: • Call for the conversion of all remaining one-way streets, unless right-of-way dimensions preclude it, to two-way streets to make the city easier to navigate. • Establish a citywide roadway design speed of a maximum 20 mph to ensure motorist safety. • Identify candidates for “road diet” strategies across the city that would rationalize traffic flow and align roadway capacity with desired design speeds. Maximize on-street parking facilities and charge market-rate pricing to ensure the availability and convenience of parking for motorists, while creating dedicated onstreet spaces for car sharing initiatives. CONCLUSION Green Options Buffalo is pleased to contribute its thoughts on Buffalo’s future. Since planning initiatives like the Buffalo Green Code happen perhaps once every generation, we realize the singular importance of the effort and the likelihood that a similar opportunity will not arise again in the near future. Creating a more competitive Buffalo, we believe, is the objective of the new Green Code. Buffalo needs to compete by offering higher-quality places, value-adding development, and more and higher quality transportation options. Buffalo needs to compete by investing for triple-bottom line returns: economic, social, environmental. Buffalo needs to compete by embracing change as well as its finest traditions. As the City of Buffalo moves forward on this ground-breaking initiative, Green Options Buffalo offers the following general suggestions to the City: Include indicators of success. Assign related indicators of success to new policies in the land use plan to determine how well these policies are functioning. As management consultant Peter Drucker puts it, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Defining indicators of success and crafting a methodology to examine successes and failures will help create accountability.

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Sustainable Transportation Agenda Explain ties to the bigger picture. Help build the argument for “why design matters” by describing how the Green Code fits within the larger movement to reposition Buffalo in an increasingly competitive global economy. Why is this process important? That needs to be explained lucidly to the public to create excitement and buy-in. Link to peer cities as resources Pick up the phone, read other plans, check out websites from other cities. Share your stories and ask other planners around the country for lessons learned. Consider a peer review for any final product. Link concepts with tools and graphics Provide design tools and graphics, not merely concepts and narrative. It is essential to include simple, clear graphics to help explain the new land use and zoning policies as well as more abstract issues such as “maintaining a human scale,” “creating street enclosure,” or “improving multimodal transportation.” The recently adopted Connecting El Paso, for example, is especially easy to navigate and understand, using photographs and illustrations as examples to describe key concepts, along with simple text. Publicize Never underestimate the power of publicity. After this forward-thinking plan and code are adopted in 2012, hire a branding firm to take market the final product to a national audience. Get all the awards, recognition, speaking engagements, and media coverage the City can muster. This project can help sell Buffalo! Special thanks to the City of Buffalo for its consideration of this Sustainable Transportation Agenda. Green Options Buffalo promotes healthy, environmentally sustainable, and community-friendly transportation. We hope the Green Code will, too!

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