City Officials Announce Tentative Agreement re: Long-Term Lease of Ellicott Goodrich Garage

Mayor Brown and Council President Pridgen have announced a tentative agreement between the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus for a long-term lease of the Ellicott Goodrich Garage which, if passed, would allow the BNMC to build a new parking garage on that site which is adjacent to the Buffalo General Medical Center, Gates Vascular Institute/CTRC, and the Oishei Children’s Hospital and Jacobs School of Medicine (both currently under construction). This would add parking for patients, visitors, and employees to the current transportation system.

Where will the displaced parkers be temporarily located during demo/construction?

Parking occupancy overall the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is currently at 70 percent, meaning we have ample additional parking to accommodate those who currently park at the Ellicott Goodrich Garage (EGG) in other locations. We have space in the Michigan Goodrich Garage (MiGo) to temporarily accommodate the parking needs of patients and visitors who are currently parking in the EGG. The MiGo is located on the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and High Street, directly adjacent to the Buffalo General Medical Center (BGMC) and the Gates Vascular Institute (GVI), and provides relatively easy access via walking or shuttle to and from the hospital facilities.

The BNMC Transportation and Parking Project Management Group (including staff from the BNMC, Kaleida Health, UB, and Roswell Park) have been working diligently on a strategy to ensure that that all patients and visitors can easily be relocated to the MiGo, as the garage was built with this additional capacity during reconstruction in mind. Kaleida and BNMC will also operate a complimentary and wheel-chair accessible shuttle service to safely and efficiently move patients and visitors between the MiGo and BGMC/GVI main entrances. Valet services will also be enhanced at both the GVI and BGMC entrances to accommodate an anticipated increase in valet traffic.

No existing MiGo parkers will be displaced from the garage, although employees will be asked not to park on those levels reserved for patients and visitors.

How are you mitigating additional employees parking in the neighborhoods during this time?

We do not expect any of the temporarily displaced parkers from the EGG to park in the Fruit Belt and/or Allentown neighborhoods. The vast majority of people who park in the EGG are patients and visitors of BGMC and GVI.  We will continue to direct them to first-class valet services at the main hospital entrances as well as parking and shuttle options in the MiGo. In addition, the relatively low number of employee permit holders who currently park in the EGG will also be given access to the MiGo.

The BNMC continues to work to mitigate the impact of employee parking in the Fruit Belt.  The BNMC and our partners are also in the midst of a Parking Study funded by the NYS Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to help inform legislation and develop a model residential parking program in the Fruit Belt neighborhood. We are currently in the data collection phase of the Parking Study, working with Fruit Belt residents, institutional partners, and local elected officials to assess current employee parking behaviors and surveying residents to determine their unique parking challenges and needs. The BNMC staff hosted several events and went door-to-door to survey residents, churches and business owners; we expect to have results to share by November 2015.

How will this new garage fit into the BNMC’s overall parking strategy?

This new garage provides a dramatic increase in convenient parking and improved customer service for the growing number of patients, visitors, and employees on the Medical Campus, in particular within the Buffalo General Medical Center, Gates Vascular Institute, the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.  As a quickly growing Medical Campus in a dense and urban area, there is a critical need to ensure ample parking for patients and visitors while at the same time ensuring safe, efficient and sustainable transportation access for employees, students and neighborhood residents alike.

What is the timing for garage construction?

Demolition of the current EGG and construction of the new garage is expected to take 18-21 months depending on start date. The parking facility is expected to be partially occupied in May 2017 and fully constructed by November 2017. The contract will include MWBE construction goals.

How many spaces will this add to the BNMC parking system, and is it enough to accommodate the expected growth in the number of employees?

The EGG will expand from its current 892 parking spaces to just over 1,800 spaces. We are also in the process of acquiring additional off-Campus parking which will provide a modest increase to our overall parking inventory. It is the BNMC’s mission to work with our partners to develop a wide array of parking and transportation options to accommodate nearly all commuting needs for the entire BNMC population.

Currently, BNMC, with the assistance of its Transportation Project Management Group, has been exploring a number of nearby satellite parking options, including those on the NFTA Metro Rail line to the north and south.

In addition, we continue to work with our regional partners to manage and grow the GO BNMC commuter toolkit, an innovative program designed to provide employees with better access to healthier, greener and affordable transportation options.

Has GO BNMC been successful?

Yes, over the past three years we have developed several programs that have successfully encouraged drive-alone commuters to consider changing over to alternative modes of transportation (e.g. transit, carpool, biking, and walking).  This includes incentive programs, educating employees about their options, and providing infrastructure improvements for safer and more efficient travel modes.  Since launching GO BNMC, we have seen a 4% reduction in the number of employees driving alone to the Medical Campus.  Moving forward, we are also seeing an increase in housing options in the downtown area, in the surrounding neighborhoods, and along the Metro Rail line. BNMC and partners are also working to create programs to encourage employees to live in these areas, which provide greater access to these alternative commuting modes and, in turn, dampen our on-campus parking demands.