BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - If you’ve been in the Elmwood Village recently, you may have noticed one of the only public lots is now closed, making parking more difficult.
The empty property is privately owned and is now planned to be developed into retail and apartment units. The owner chose to let people park there for free, for many years. So while developing the lot will certainly add to the community, many shoppers are frustrated by what it takes away.
For supporters of Buffalo’s Elmwood Village, there are two sides to the issue of lack of parking.
“It’s good to see a parking problem here because it means we’re all doing very well, but at the same time, it can be frustrating for residents and visitors,” said Carly Battin, executive director of the Elmwood Village Association.
But the frustration is only likely to worsen, now that the free parking lot on the 700 block of Elmwood is now closed leaving the village with about 40 fewer parking spots.
Some Elmwood Ave. patrons News 4 spoke to had comments such as “I think it’s going to be sorely missed” and “It’s becoming more and more difficult [to park]”.
“There’s parking issues,” Dawn Caine added.
Victoria Brogan can really speak to the frustration because she’s a Buffalo resident who comes to Elmwood Village often and once had her car towed from here.
But she doesn’t blame the owner of the now-closed lot next to Globe Market. The owner, Benchmark Development, kept it as a free lot, by choice, for many years. And when its development is complete it will only add more stores, more residents and more shoppers to the village.
Brogan wants the City of Buffalo step up and address the parking issue. “It’s wonderful. It’s nice to see the city thriving. It really is. It just has to take into the consideration the patrons,” Brogan said.
The Elmwood Village Association is working with the city to allow more parking on the two-way side streets, like on Ferry Ave., to allow cars to park on either side of the street.
The city already relaxed parking restrictions on West Ferry between Richmond and Delaware, Lafayette Avenue between Colonial Circle and Delaware, and afternoons on Ashland and Norwood Avenues between West Ferry and Lafayette. But that leaves a lot of walking for shoppers who drive many miles to get to the Village.
Battin points out, if someone were going shopping at a mall, they would end up walking just about as much after finding parking in the back of the lot.
When it’s completed, the new development will include two stores and 24 apartment units.