University Heights, Buffalo, NY

Monday, November 23, 2009

Video from Buffalo Rising Story

Buffalo Rising on "University Slope"

Full article here
University Slope - Again
by Steel

A year or so ago I wrote a BRO story on a portion of University Heights that I took upon myself to call "University Slope". I did not have a very extensive or very good set of photographs of the neighborhood at the time; now that I do, I have put together this slideshow stroll through one of Buffalo's least known neighborhood treasures. This section of University Heights occupies a triangular area at the north end of the city, west of the UB Main Street Campus.

The streets sweep up a gentle but dramatic (by Buffalo Standards) slope. The bell tower of Hayes Hall on campus forms an elegant backdrop to many streets. In recent years, University Heights has been painted with a broad brush as a place with growing urban problems including crime, rowdy students, badly managed absentee property, and poor city services. This neighborhood really does not fit that stereotype, hence I gave it a new name.

What one finds in this portion of the city is actually a picturesque enclave of streets with well-kept (mostly owner occupied) houses. The streets wind and angle in a complex weave as they fit into the triangle between Kenmore Avenue and Main Street. You feel enveloped within this comfortable setting as you explore its small blocks and mini parks lined, with comfortable houses mostly in the homey craftsman style. You will even find a major Buffalo art gallery (UB's Anderson Gallery) here. The people who live here are friendly and eager to brag about their hidden treasure. Check out the slide show and see if you agree.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buffalo CarShare comes to University Heights

Buffalo CarShare, the rapidly expanding nonprofit car sharing service, has chosen the parking lot behind St. Joseph’s University Church as its newest hub location. The organization was created six months ago by University at Buffalo urban planning graduates and has since become a popular transportation alternative for over 130 dues-paying Buffalonians. With a growing fleet of vehicles concentrated in downtown and the Elmwood Village, the car at St. Joseph’s is the first and only uptown location.
The service allows its users the advantages of driving a car without the hassles that accompany car ownership. Members rent the car on an hourly basis, typically for errands, shopping, or other brief trips. Cars can be reserved either online where the availability of their cars is shown or over the phone. Once reserved, the member uses an electronic key to access the car and then returns it to the same spot for the next member to use. The cost of the service is $5-$8 per hour with a small additional mileage charge, depending on use. There is also a monthly membership fee of either $5 or $20, also depending on use. Membership is available to anyone 18 or older with a relatively clean driving record. Once accepted, members are insured through Buffalo CarShare to drive any of the vehicles in their fleet.
Contact Buffalo CarShare at 898-0850 or online here to enroll in this unique neighborhood amenity.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Evidence of UB abandoning the Heights

A $57 million project for north campus while south campus waits for crumbs to fall from the table.
Why wasn't this project proposed for University Heights?

600-bed dorm planned at UB North Campus

Work has begun on a 600-bed residence hall on the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst.The $57 million project is being built on land between John James Audubon Parkway and the residence halls at the Ellicott Complex. It will feature a more “living learning” design intended to mesh campus residential and academic space.

“The entire first floor of the building will demonstrate the vibrance of 24-hour-a-day academic activity, a principle in the living learning concept,” said Joseph J. Krakowiak, director of university residence halls and apartments. “The first floor has a wide variety of settings for classroom spaces, for study groups, for individual study and a casual cafe.”

Opening is scheduled for August 2011.

The new South Ellicott Suites is significant to the North Campus for a couple of reasons, said Robert G. Shibley, senior adviser for campus planning.

For one, the project will include features that will be the gold standard in environmental design and serve as a demonstration for what UB wants to do when constructing future buildings.

Second, it’s the first step toward building a mix of housing and retail along Lee Road, a campus access road, to create more of a “Main Street” through the campus spine, Shibley said.

As part of the project, Lee Road will be extended to the Ellicott Complex across Audubon Parkway, where a traffic circle will be installed to slow the vehicles.

“It starts the evolution of Lee Road as UB’s new Main Street,” Shibley said.

UB faces more competition in the student housing market, as developers in recent years have built hundreds of private student apartments just across the road from the university.

Still, Shibley and Krakowiak don’t anticipate a problem filling up the new residence hall, which is geared toward sophomores.

Sophomores tend to want a little more space and privacy than the traditional campus housing but may not be quite ready for an apartment, Krakowiak said.

The new residence hall will have a “suite style” design, which includes two double bedrooms, a bathroom, storage and a dressing area.

A 2,000-square-foot Market Cafe on the first floor will have seating for 50 people.

“First-floor spaces have extended flexibility and capability to offer different educational settings as required,” Krakowiak said. “Space is available for faculty offices, seminar rooms and impromptu study.”

The project will be built without state money, Krakowiak said.

State education law allows the university to enter into agreements with the UB Alumni Association and UB Foundation, which would borrow money for the project. Payments collected from students living in the residence hall would go toward the cost of building and operating the facility.

UB — which has nearly 29,000 students — currently has about 1,350 beds on the South Campus on Main Street, about 4,000 beds in residence halls on the North Campus and about 2,200 beds in apartments on the North Campus.

The last time housing went up on campus was in 2002, when Creekside Village — apartments for graduate and professional students — opened on the northwest edge of the North Campus.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Makeshift memorial at University Heights slaying scene, "law enforcement and the university are ineffective in policing the student population"

Buffalo News, November 03, 2009,

Peer into the few square yards of ground along Lisbon Avenue near Cordova Avenue and the tragic tale that unfolded there at 4:30 a. m. Saturday tells itself.
A dozen or so flickering votive candles surrounded by bouquets of flowers, a football and pictures and messages of love and friendship are what you see first.
But a closer look Monday evening — 2 1/2 years later— painted a more sinister picture of the events leading up to the death of 19-year-old Jacob Herbert, a 2008 graduate of Clarence High School.
Just over the sidewalk from the memorial, remnants of medical equipment —a pair of syringes; an empty box of atropine sulfate, an injection to treat cardiac arrest; an intubator; and spent roll of gauze tape — were left behind the grass.
A few steps down the street, empty cognac and rum bottles lie just off the sidewalk.
Herbert, according to law enforcement authorities, was one of a dozen or so people who returned to a house party at 112 Lisbon Ave. that police had shut down twice earlier that night. Herbert was stabbed multiple times during an argument that erupted as the third party let out.
Despite the trail of evidence that paramedics attempted to save Herbert’s life, the teen died.
Now, neighbors and friends are left wondering why.
Why wasn’t the party shuttered after police first broke it up around midnight? Why did it continue after they dispersed partiers again 90 minutes later? Why were no arrests made? Why was the party allowed to rekindle a third time?
“That’s a question for the kids,” said Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman. “Who persisted and came back?”
DeGeorge said authorities first responded at about midnight after fielding 911 calls from neighbors concerning loud noise.
Police arrived to find a “large house party” described by De- George not as a “college, fraternity or University at Buffalo party” but rather a “mixed group party” consisting of “upwards of 200 people.”
Officers “shut down the party” and ordered revelers to “disperse and go home,” DeGeorge said.
After receiving more complaints, they returned at about 1:30 a. m. and did the same thing.
But the party reconvened again later that morning.
“For whatever reason, certain individuals persisted and came back to the party,” De- George said. “The victim and a few other people came back to the party.
“About 4:30 a. m., there were 15-20 people there. Most of the people were leaving and some type of argument broke out between Herbert and some individual. Herbert was stabbed multiple times.”
Herbert is the city’s 50th homicide victim of 2009. A woman acquaintance of Herbert, who said her name was Danielle, visited the memorial at dusk Monday. She called Herbert “very athletic and very popular.” She was not at Saturday’s party.
A 33-year-old next door neighbor who identified herself only as Mrs. L. Randle said student rowdiness is disruptive to the neighborhood — particularly toher— the mother of a newborn.
“The college students are out of control,” Randle said. “They’re all up and down the street screaming and hollering.”
Claiming law enforcement and the university are ineffective in policing the student population, Randle believes their methods — or lack thereof — culminated in Saturday’s events.
“They need to talk to the kids and the parents about partying,” Randle said, “and there should be a penalty when they don’t act right.”
No connection seems to exist, however, between UB and Herbert or the hosts of the party.
Still, some mourners who gathered at the memorial Monday evening also said Buffalo and university police need to work more closely to curb rowdy, and sometimes violent, behavior.
“Don’t you feel like this is something that could have been prevented?” asked one neighbor who wouldn’t give his name. “[Police] should have never left the scene.”
Another who identified himself only as “Kevin” was disturbed not only by the violence but also by the medical items left behind at the scene, calling it “sloppy” and “disrespectful” for the family of Herbert who gathered to mourn there Sunday.
Jay Smith, spokesman for Rural/Metro Medical Services, said crews clean up after themselves unless they’re specifically asked not to by police but added that the scene Saturday morning was especially “chaotic.” Herbert’s condition was so dire, Smith said, that two paramedics worked on him during transport to Erie County Medical Center.
“Because of the patient’s condition . . . they didn’t stick around the scene very long.”