Weekly Feature

2008-09-24 / Front Page

Audubon complex occupants want to see bus route established

by JESSICA L. FINCH Associate Editor

The Amherst Audubon Complex is a major hub in the town, housing the Senior Center, Main Library, police department and courts — but there is no public transportation to get there.

Each of the facilities are in constant use by not only town residents but those from surrounding areas.

Department heads say they would like to see a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority bus route established that includes the complex, following Council Member Dan Ward's Sept. 15 resolution asking for such.

"It really would help," Amherst Library Director Roseanne Butler Smith said.

She has had library users complain about not having public transportation, and people have been dropped off assuming there is a bus route and are left scrambling for a ride home.

Amherst Police Chief John C. Askey agreed, saying it would be beneficial for those needing to go to headquarters.

"There are a lot of people we deal with who have to resolve issues and need to get out here," he said.

When asked if he has heard complainants, Askey said yes, and that some people have said they can't get to the headquarters due to lack of public transportation.

"That can happen, it may be true, or an excuse, but having the route could help," he said.

Askey added that it would reduce the number of cars in the headquarters' parking lot, save on gas and may be more convenient for some. Throughout the day, taxis can be spotted outside the court and headquarters, which are generally a lot more expensive than taking a bus.

Ward said he has contacted the NFTA several times about the need for an additional route through resolutions in 2001, 2004 and 2006.

"The Amherst Town Board hereby requests (again) that the NFT-Metro division of the NFTA establish a regular bus service to the Amherst Audubon government complex as soon as possible," Ward said in his resolution.

On the NFTA's Web site (www.nfta.com) there is a feature called Metro Trip Planner. The start point selected was Williamsville Court and North Cayuga Road (point A) and the end point was the Senior Center, 370 John James Audubon Parkway.

Instructed to leave point A at noon Sept. 19, the arrival time was 2:49 p.m. at Sylvan Parkway and John James Audubon Parkway, a half mile from 370.

The Web site also has the feature, "See the closest stops near a location," and when 370 J.J. Audubon Parkway is entered, there are four sites. The closest, North Forest Road and Weinberg Campus, is .26 miles. The site also states, "walking is not advised for this route."

The four other locations range from .33 to .43 miles. Again, walking was not advised for three of the four locations.

Basically, The Amherst Bee's conclusion was the trip would take two hours and 49 minutes and users would have to walk a half mile on a road not recommended for pedestrians.

The same Trip Planner gave a different route, an hour and 15 minute trip, when leaving at 9 a.m. Sept. 19. When various times and days of the week were selected, the results varied.

The Web site, MapQuest, calculates a total estimated drive time of 10 minutes and a total estimated distance of 6.23 miles from Williamsville Court, 5565 Main St. to 370 J.J. Audubon Parkway.

NFTA spokesman Doug Hartmeyer was out of the office and unable to comment on the Town Board's request.

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