18 May 2006

Quick Math

Think about what it takes for every person who comes to work at an office job downtown to drive there. As a general rule, every office worker is budgeted about 125 square feet of space for their daily activities. On the other hand, when designing a parking lot, ‘transportation planners’ dedicate 300 square feet to every spot. Now consider the absurdity of attempting to build a vibrant downtown which is dependent on the automobile. About 2 ½ as much space would be needed for parking as for general office functions.

But let’s say for a minute that you decided that parking ramps were, in fact, the motif by which you wanted to characterize your city. Currently, there are about 50,000 people per day working downtown. Let’s say the ten year goal is to increase employment by 20% and every one of our new employees wants to drive to work. Let us put aside the purely spatial concerns in locating this many new parking spaces, which are by no means minimal (about 3,000,000 sq. ft. - as a point of reference, the entirety of the newly renovated LCo at Exchange is about 600,000 sq. ft. so think of 5 structures the size of LCo built for and surrendered to parking cars!). Speaking in monetary terms only, on the conservative side, each ramp space will cost about $15,000 to build. For 10,000 structured parking spaces, then, will cost $150 million to house the cars these new workers come in.

fill'er up!

25 March 2006

not to say i told you so...

The bastards at Radio Shack are closing their downtown store after expanding four miles away on Delaware. The Bendersonisation continues...

06 March 2006

I agree with Flavor Flav...

I have an idea on how the PBA can draw enough revenue into the city so they can get their pay raises.

It's called residency.

Move into the city, pay property taxes, spend your paycheck (which, by the way, starts at more than twice the median household income in Buffalo) at local stores, and be a presence in the neighborhoods that pay for you to write parking tick... er, serve and protect, that is.

Or you could just keep being punitive and vendictive to people who have no control over the situation. Your choice really, because we, the residents of Buffalo, certainly don't matter much to you one way or the other.

01 March 2006

Hey, Elmwood, if you don't want the traffic, send it my way...

If you are complaining about traffic in Buffalo, I'm sorry, but you need to get out more.

Maybe if we get enough of the "T-word" we'll actually see a push for public transit.

Or is that too urban? Too five-stories?

Heaven forbid.

Coppola wins?

Guess who the happiest person in Buffalo today is?

I would say Antoine Thompson.

Not even Marc Coppola himself can be happy with 56% of the vote in a district that is 6:1 Democrats.

September is going to be interesting if Coppola, Egiru, Thompson, and Gaughan jump in.

And if Lenny can't get the boys to play nice and one the losers snags a minor party line, Jacobs could have a decent shot in the general.

But for now, who's going to spin the wheel of political favor for Coppola's Delaware District council seat?

21 February 2006

More bad news for downtown retail?

With a new store up near Comsumer Hell - er, Square - on Delaware and Hertel, I can't see the downtown store surviving. That sucks.

I'm not a fan of corporate stores by any means, but try and buy something electronic related anywhere else near downtown.

Bendersonization continues.

Business First of Buffalo - 11:00 AM EST Monday

RadioShack will close hundreds of stores

RadioShack saw profits plummet 62 percent in the fourth quarter, and the company said it plans to shutter 400 to 700 company-owned stores

The 18-month plan includes replacing older, slower moving merchandise and improving and investing in top-performing stores. The company also plans to align overhead costs to extract more profit per square foot.

RadioShack operates approximately two dozen stores in the Buffalo market. Spokeswoman Wendy Dominguez said the company has not identified all of the stores that will be closed, but expects to release a list of store closings within about two months. The company's turnaround plan includes closing distribution centers in Charleston, S.C., and Southhaven, Miss.

Fort Worth, Texas-based RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) reported net income for 2005 of $265.3 million or $1.78 per share compared to $337.2 million or $2.08 per share in 2004.

"RadioShack failed to achieve its financial objectives in 2005," said CEO David Edmondson. "We implemented several key changes, (but) we must move at a much faster pace with a greater sense of urgency, and that is what necessitates our turnaround plan."


15 February 2006

Wanna buy a grain elevator?

50 ELK, BUFFALO 14210 $124,900


13 February 2006

Let's Go Obstuctionists!

You think Buffalo is a difficult place to get something built? Try New York.

Ok, Buffalo isn’t New York. But New York of today is not New York of 30 years ago.

New York is sometimes referred to as hyper-urban. And by U.S. standards, it seems to be a decent description. As other cities were hurting, New York was dying. The city was plagued by abandonment, arson, vacant property, high crime, a shrinking population, and a state imposed control board (hmm….). Now that cities are coming back (and, yes, for all its problems, I still put Buffalo in that category), New York is bursting with development pressure.

Many factors caused New York renaissance, not the least of which was citizen involvement – and it wasn’t citizens who cried ‘get out of the way’ and ‘let the experts do their jobs’. It was citizens who took neighborhoods back when leaders called for ‘benign neglect’. It was citizens who found capital to literally rebuild their neighborhoods. And once community groups showed it was profitable to reinvest, it was citizens who forced developers to play by their rules and build their communities in the vision the residents laid out – from inclusionary affordable housing to usable public space and neighborhood amenities. Sure, citizens have lost many battles, but there have been none that have gone uncontested and few that haven’t won at least some concessions.

And digging in and fighting for what is right works. There are communities written off long ago that are once again attractive and viable places. Next time you’re in New York: go to Harlem, go to Bed-Stuy, go to the South Bronx. And bring home with you inspiration and the realization that your neighborhood has value too.

But without an active and enlightened citizenry to demand quality communities, we will continue to get the lowest common denominator in all regards, built to code, cheap as possible.

But at least there’ll be ample parking.

Is that what we want to define us as a community?

Then don’t let it happen.

Ok, so you still think we’re not like New York. Then try any city that has self-respect enough not to let anybody do anything, anywhere, just because it’s something, somewhere. Try Portland. Try Seattle. Try Boston.

Here’s hoping we can add Buffalo to this list as well.

It's either that, or live with the consequences.