How to Make the Train Station Great Again!

Why not replace this empty parking lot with an ice-skating rink, like the city plans to do elsewhere in the city, and the state plans to do on Goat Island in Olmsted's once-natural Niagara Falls State Park?

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It’s impossible not to notice that during the 23 and 1/2 hours a day when the four score or so daily Amtrak passengers at the new Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center are not in the process of arriving or departing, the station takes on this empty, deserted kind of appearance, so we at the Reporter have some suggestions for Mayor Paul Dyster and the cohort of local public officials who brought us this gleaming citadel for making it look a little busier, thus enticing more people to step inside, check it out and maybe even decide to start taking a train instead of their usual, convenient, heretofore-preferred mode of transportation.

And He’s Buying a Stairway to Heaven… or at least Mayor Dyster’s version of it, his very own train spotter’s paradise.

For example, many roadside diners have been known to have a special arrangement with a nearby used car lot. The car lot is good enough to allow several of their cars to be parked outside the diner, lending it an air of prosperity and serving to draw in passersby who are reassured by the illusion. Perhaps the mayor could arrange for a local car dealer to use the train station as a staging area for their 2018 models. The city could even hire round-the-clock security to keep an eye on them. That wouldn’t cost too much.

The city could do a better job at promoting the Underground Railroad museum next door in the refurbished Customs House. Admission could be charged for peering through the window of the locked entrance door to the historic building where the various unexciting exhibits are looking pretty lonely these days.

Seniors could be encouraged to do “station walking,” much as they do “mall walking,” and they wouldn’t have so far to go to do so. The stairway would enhance the aerobic benefits, and the view from the second story picture windows of the closed factory on the other side of the parking lot would enhance the experience.

Clean architectural lines with a postmodernistic ambiance – but where are the people?

Here’s an still better idea: hold meetings and community events in the train station. It would be necessary for everyone to bring their own snacks or lunch, however, since the food service promised by Mayor Dyster, along with other retail, hasn’t materialized. Visitors could be instructed to bring their own toilet paper to help defray the cost of operating the huge station.

Then again too, extra bodies in the cavernous facility would have an added bonus: just think of all the body heat emanating from the collective humanity, helping to keep heating bills in check. That could make a major contribution towards all the green sustainability certifications that Mayor Dyster and his favored contractors strove so mightily to achieve.

A call to Niagara Falls citizens – we need to all pitch in and help – let’s fill those empty seats!

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4 Comments

  1. Meanwhile, literally down the road at the Niagara Falls Ontario train station, they are happy to report that their weekend-only summer tourist train is expected to handle 25,000 passenger trips this season. A couple of weeks ago, a single train brought in 750 tourists in one go (some of whom had to stand).

    There is potential demand out there if you can figure out how to tap it. You’ve got the train station. Now you just have to figure out the border issues and how to get a train there.

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