Hi (Bye) Mom! - Gambino Ford Closing

Posted by Anonymous

The Buffalo News is reporting that Gambino Ford on Rt 78 in the town of Lockport is closing.

Gambino Ford in the Town of Lockport is closing, under a program Ford Motor Co. is using to consolidate its dealer network. The dealership, located at 6157 S. Transit Road, will probably close its doors next week, owner Patrick Gambino said Tuesday. “The offer was on the table for any dealer in the metro [Buffalo] area to raise his hand,” Gambino said. “They’d like to close more.” However, Gambino said the Ford incentives to sell a dealership are now off the table. Other area Ford dealers bought out the Gambino dealership, Ford corporate spokeswoman Marisa Bradley said. The terms were not disclosed.

Mr. Gambino has taken a Ford buyout offer under its dealership consolidation plan. For example Ford has 4,000 dealerships to Toyota's 1,000. Sales profits spread around 4X the number of dealers make for weaker dealers overall. Especially in today's world of consolidation and high volume - low per piece profit. I always expected some other Ford dealer would go first, like the one up by 78 and 104 since Lockport is a more central location. But I also thought Gambino could be one of them since the # of vehicles in the lot had drastically reduced since the late 90's/early 00's.

Gambino was the first dealer I ever noticed to give little tag lines in their adds. "...Come on down. Hi mom." At least 10 years before Mr. Fucillo brought his "Huuuuuugggggggeeeeea" to this part of the state. I bought my first vehicle from Gambino back in 1998 and it was my first experience in Lockport (living in Lancaster at the time). Heading to a mountain bike ride I swung in to look at a vehicle in the used lot. That '97 F150 4x4 gave me 155k miles before I sold it due to gas prices and some parts starting to wear out. 5 days of price dickering gave me an OK deal for my first ever vehicle loan. I miss that truck ;)

UPDATE: 01-06-09

Ki-Po, which operated on the old Gambino used car lot next door had recently cleared the lot out. The Buffalo News is reporting that Ki=Po has not closed the location and will decide to either move used vehicle operations back there, or open a yet to be named new care dealership on the site. I'm curious what brand they wold be considering? I'm also curious if Toyota will end up buying the Gambino property to expand their lot size and use the new-in-2000 Ford service center building for their own.


Molson Canal Concert Series

Posted by Anonymous

(Image - Molson Canal Concert Series Security - Lockport NY Jun '08)
The LUSJ is giving the Molson Canal Concert Series #2 on its Top 10 of 2008 list. There were a few good threads on this topic on the LUSJ forums which have since reached their expiration date and are no longer around.
Initially there were many posting about grid lock and ticketing sprees due to lack of parking, drug dealers from the other side of the Harrison Complex taking over from the south, Urban Tower residents taking over from the north, among many other exaggerated pessimistic premonitions which all failed to come true.
I was there for the first show, Lou Gramm, and was initially concerned about the turnout until things really picked up by the time he went on as the main act. Two contributing factors I could see were Lockport being a rather unknown location and that the concerts were being held on a day when a majority of people work until 5pm. My initial feelings were the concert should have stuck to Sat evenings creating "day long" atmosphere possibilities and that the Moslon Concert Series website could have done more than showing a picture of a moving truck announcing a move to "unknown" Lockport. A picture or two of the venue could have gone a long way to initially selling the series here.
The Friday nights grew on me as the series went along. I've always enjoyed trips to Thursday in the Square in Buffalo but it always carried the downer of knowing that I had to return to work the next day. This series made for a very nice "Friday Night Happy Hour" experience. Being a 4 block walk from my house was a great bonus. As the series went on I noticed that 97 Rock would highlight the performer that night as their "Artist of the Day" and promote the show.
Through out the series I was amazed by the variety of people attending. Families with kids in strollers, kids on shoulders, teenage kids, the 20 somethings, middle agers, and the elderly were all present and any that I had the opportunity to strike a conversation with had nothing but good things to say. The police/security presence was always noticeable but never felt over bearing. Locating vendors one "long block" away over on Elm seemed to be too far to gather them a lot of traffic. If they could be found some space on Locust or the lot on the other side of it both the vendors and the concert goers would both make out. Subdelicious seemed to do very well located just across from the east entry next to the stage.
I was able to attend Lou Gramm, Nazareth, Riders on the Storm, REO Speedwagon, and Jeff Martin. Lou Gramm has lost a bit of his voice but the rest of shows had above average sound quality for an outdoor venue that was not designed for acoustics. The only show I could hear from home was the Riders show and it was only if I put my head out the window and focused on it.
I look forward to next summer's shows. This will be the second year of a three year agreement to host a minimum of 8 shows per summer. LUSJ reported that the Charlie Daniel's Band has been shown to be confirmed for the 14th of August. His website confirms this as of now. I'm not to familiar with most of his work but I shall see how good Devil Went Down to Georgia sounds live.
Overall I found it to be a very positive experience. And at a rough cost of $0.50 per resident per "free" show in city tax money, quite the entertainment value and promotional tool.
When industry boomed, thousands of people mulling around Main Street was an
everyday thing. Suffice to say, it’s been a while since “busy” and “downtown”
went into the same sentence routinely

This is way over simplified. Mass demolition urban "renewal" blunders, lack of regional planning, etc had a lot more to do with the massive decline of DT activity than the loss of some industry. There is also no reason it can not be planned back in and recreated if residents truly want to see it happen again. Those are topics for other days. ;)


Lockport Church Mergers

Posted by Anonymous

(Image - Transfiguration Church, Buffalo NY)

Back from the holiday break. I hope yours was as wonderful as mine was.

The LUSJ had the Lockport parish mergers as #3 of its 2008 top 10. I guess two issues emerge in my head during these church consolidations.

The first is the effect of forcing closures upon a parish, especially ones that show relative health and those that show a solid base of parishioners with the will and drive to be given an opportunity to build things back up. Upon various visits to churches on the east side of Buffalo I've met some of the most dedicated people I've ever met attempting to preserve not only structures but a history of the parishioners that came before them. The church would be better off helping these people, willing to give up their time and fight for a cause, to succeed instead of alienating them.

It would be nice to see the diocese itself give St. Mary's its own fate back with the growth they have shown instead of falling into "absolute" decision stances that have set the church back in the past. Why push aside 150 years of history? They are not running a gov't or corporation. There is no need for the church to become merger happy. Efforts would be better placed at keeping the church relevant in our society and our neighborhoods while keeping up with technology at connecting with people. Internet social sites, forums etc show the need for society to connect with each other is still there and largely suppressed in our day to day activities in faceless conglomo-land and household isolation.

The second is what to do with the buildings themselves. The image above is of the Church of the Transfiguration on Sycamore in Buffalo that was closed in 1993 and then subsequently sold. St Mathews on East Delavan is facing a similar slow death by decay after being sold to a smaller congregation that could not afford to upkeep it, then taken in foreclosure by the city of Buffalo and then sold at auction only to continue to sit there. St Gerrard's on Bailey is among others that are new to the ever growing list of magnificent old churches cast aside in the disposable society we have become. It appears that the diocese is still clueless on what to do with the ones in Lockport longer term too:

St. Joe’s has been retained as an oratory and citywide religious education
center. The disposition of the merged churches has not been decided. Nothing has
been sold, and St. Mary’s parish has been growing since the merger announcement
in 2007.

These structures are one-of-a-kind and unlikely to ever be constructed again. Just look at churches built in the last 30 years: is it a church? an office building? a store? If closure is the only option, the church needs to ensure these structures are able to be sold and reused in a capacity with minimal restrictions that allows them to be profitable in their new uses. Those who in the past put their heart and souls into building them in the past deserve nothing less.

I'll pre-emptively end my ranting here ;)

(Image - Flight of Five Detail)

Buffalo News had an Update on the Flight of Five project today.

“The stars are in misalignment. The stock market is in the tank, and the state budget is nowhere,” Welsby said. “Perhaps for that $1.8 million we can restore two complete locks. We can work our way up. In the meantime, we don’t give up our hunt for money.” The current investment woes hurt the availability of money for foundations, just as Flight of Five decision makers were planning a push to solicit grants from Erie County foundations. Toward that end, the city hired Full Circle Productions for 7,500 to produce a seven-minute promotional video, which was shown at Monday’s meeting.

This tiered approach makes sense to me. Even two locks would work well in defining the lower approach to the locks and showcasing how the older manual locks worked. I'd think locking through all 5 would be tedious and time consuming for a tourist anyways. This also puts off having to immediately deal with the flat concrete access bridge over the top lock.

I'll also try to see if it is possible to get a copy of the video or get a link to it if it ends up posted elsewhere. I'll have to ask later though since the delegation is of to Albany today:

The recommendation from Welsby’s engineering firm, Wendel Duchscherer, to limit the project comes as a city delegation drives to Albany today to meet with officials of the State Canal Corp. to try to settle a wide range of issues that have impeded the project, the city’s top tourism development priority.

The delegation includes Mayor Michael W. Tucker, Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano, City Treasurer Michael E. White, Welsby and David R. Kinyon, chairman of the Flight of Five Committee. One of the issues to be debated is a legal tangle over whether the city needs a long-term lease to gain access to the state property for the restoration work, or whether a short-term permit will do.

Original post here:Flight of Five 2011 Opening?


SPCA Winter Guidlines - Slow News Weekend

Posted by Anonymous

(Image - our mutt in holiday decor)

Slow news weekend so I'll bring up the LUSJ article on winter guidelines for pets.

No major revelations there except maybe:
Dog owners should never let dogs off their leashes on snow or ice, because dogs
can easily lose their scents and get lost during a snowstorm. They may panic and
run away, Chille said.

Prior to winter I did some Internet searching on this topic and came away with our new dog needed booties because walking her in the snow was similar to me walking barefoot in the snow next to her. Well 3 out of the 4 booties shown above were MIA within one block from the house on the first snow walk. We have since reverted back to no booties, but instead take much shorter walks than those in the warmer months. Looking back over my life, I can not recall one dog amongst family or friends that used booties. Guess I was suckered into being over protective? ;)

LUSJ Article

Buffalo News Article

Ulrich placed a final bid of $61,000 to eclipse the bids for individual pieces of the property. Thankfully this keeps the interior intact and holds out hope to try to lure a new operator in. City made out with $54,000 after auction fees.

With the net auction proceeds, the debt is down to about $321,000. Ottaviano said the city will seek a judgment against Calieri in court to try to go after any real property or businesses that are held in his name.

The Village Eatery is owned by Lockport Village Eatery Inc. “We’d have to find out who owns the shares of that corporation,” Ottaviano said. Calieri did not return a call seeking comment.

I figure the GDLC would have searched out who owns what etc to actually establish what is backing up the loans before giving them out.

Whatever may end up in there, I hope they have offer up a nice range of specialty drafts.

Original thread here: Default on Metropolitan Bar and Grill


Empty Main St? - Parking Garage Editorial

Posted by Anonymous

LUSJ Editorial on parking ramp preliminary concept sketches.

As nice as the park and overlook is, retail/mixed use and park/overlook would have been even better, but agreeably the bigger risk. Thankfully the surface parking is sparse and behind Ulrich’s building in the current preliminary proposal sketches. For a public project I am pleasantly surprised with these initial visions.

But I offer a counter point to some things about retail and parkland. To this day it is a common held notion that parks and open space are positives for creating development when the opposite is more readily seen in practice. I used to also think parks were always an easy obvious answer (should have seen my Sim City creations ;) )

Where someone usually finds a busy and successful park it is usually immediately surrounded by existing dense mixed use streets that provide a constant amount of people to the park. It offers a “boring” restful break from the interesting and busy streetscape. Unfortunately a park does not work in reverse. If nothing is there and the street is boring, a boring park will not add much to the surroundings but some boring high maintenance greenery. It will also feel less safe and inviting with less people around discouraging use. Look at Ida Fritz Park where West Ave turns into Main. It is busy for activities like Cruise Night and Taste of Lockport but rather empty otherwise with no retail spurred around it.

Just how many empty street level store fronts are on Main St? The south side of the first block seems in good use but then you have the uninviting wasteland of the wide bridge and then Friendly's (some how miraculously built to the street). The other side is half full and along with City Hall pretty uninviting. The big bridge pretty much cuts off the first block from the rest of Main St to the east.

Next block the Mason's Building (full?) a big street side parking lot Papa Leo's Plaza (full/almost full?) and the NCCC building (non-retail). Other side of the street is the Scrito Building (full?), small parking lot gap and then Locks Plaza (full?) but with the retail unfortunately pushed away from the street/sidewalk. Overall the block is pretty full put with street facade gaps.

Next Block you have Ulrich's building (non-commercial) with Mill's jewelry next door, old ramp and big gap, Urban towers and The Bewley (almost all full last I looked) on one side; Chinese food building (1/2 full) Ulrich City Centre (Full Until Metropolitan Closed) and the old empty bank perpetually for lease by Granchelli. This block is also pretty full for the most part. Though another negative is that most of the UCC complex uses the rear entries off the parking lot and covers the Main St windows ( a big thank you to Wilhelm and Ashe for their wonderful street front displays)

Next block the Ulrich Building with no street side retail on the one side, F&M building perpetually for lease by Granchelli while it dies thru decay, Victory Christian Center building which is a big blank wall with who knows what's inside and then HSBC bank on the other. Basically a dead block inviting no one to pass either way across it. It is about as valuable as the wide bridge in luring people to continue on. At the same time it doesn't really have any retail opportunities at this time.

Next block: Palace Theater with both storefronts in use. Social Services building (no retail) and then the Rite aid (plaza?) which is pretty full on the retail street level (but once again separated from the side walk by a parking lot) Other side of Main St: Old Post Office which is very cool with some places inside but they are hidden from street life and discovery. YMCA and Library are next. They offer no retail but are at least up to the Street to keep the flow and in use. Next two buildings are in use on the retail level. Then we have the First Niagara building with no retail.

So where is the huge vacancy problem on Main? For how separated and disjoint it is I'd say it is doing relatively well. Small business turnover should be expected, especially in a fledgling area. How many people here would go to a mall and keep walking past huge sections that weren't stores or past sections that were parking to get to ones that were 50 yards or more away and keep doing that over and over? One could bring up the rehabbed buildings on Richmond (Canal St.) as being empty but those also suffer from being separated by a block long gap. Luckily the gap is the Locks which give them long term hope.

What Main St needs is a continued push for developments such as UCC to fill in the gaps on Main St. Make sure that zoning requires them in DT. Get people there and once there continually lured up and down the street by having interesting open store fronts etc. Once they are tired of the stimulation they could rest at the park or over by the locks. Every development is a small part which when added up makes a huge difference. They need to be done properly in line with what is desired of Main St.

Main St's plan should be infill built around occupying existing gaps with
1) Mixed use buildings up to the street/side walk
2) Permeable Store fronts that grab people's interest and invites them in.
3) Parking behind the buildings and street side to not alter the flow of people from store front to store front along the sidewalk.

Some mixed use above the parking ramp along Main would have went toward that goal while still allowing a park and over look behind it. It would have offered "eyes" to look over the park with for example a restaurant patio at the rear and apartments above. A much bigger risk yes but only because an empty park would still seem like a positive with never ending potential where as an empty store front(s) would not be given the same optimism.

The parkland and hidden ramp are 100x better than what is there and is very commendable. I was pleasantly surprised by it. But it could be even better with another missing gap filled in similar to what UCC did across the street to continue to unify Main St once again and reverse the disjointed wastelands urban "renewal" efforts created. The more opportunities you have for businesses to be close and build off each other, the more you will see things grow, the more people you will see and the more you will see any created park space being used more. Or if this is desired to be park land and parking, then have other plans to fill in gaps close by on Main St. and stick to them to make it all work.

People will point to malls as examples of success. Malls are an inside out old Main St. Main St moving forward must return to what would now be considered an inside out mall: Continuous and inviting where people draw people and storefronts endlessly draw people on. Then you can worry about the parks and open spaces (little fountains in malls) where people will rest from all the action that drew them there to begin with.

As the paper quoted the Mayor, this is a 50 year decision. It should be reflect how we want DT Lockport to function and look in 50 years. But regardless of if the safer option is chosen, I’ll be enjoying the overlook from time to time as I do now on my walks and it will only improve.

Original parking ramp post with more sketches

LUSJ reporting a possible softening stance. That the council decided to tell the traffic board to let them decide seems out of place. Noted this portion:

After a weekend drive around the city really looking at residents’ parking arrangements, he added, he may go next to the zoning board and ask it to not treat every front-yard parking variance request the same.

Please do not allow zoning variances for front yard parking. Street parking way before front yard parking should be a given every where but one lane alleys.

If there are to be more permits handed out. Make sure the fees go to street improvements.

Updated original topic here: The Great Over-Night Street Parking Debate . Please comment there.

(Image - Kayaking thu Lock 34 in Lockport NY)

Buffalo News: Editorial

Buffalo News Article 1 and Article 2.

There will be elements that might bother purists —a wa - ter wheel, for
instance, and recreated canal locks that serve an important practical function
but were not used at this end of the canal — but there are elements of delight
as well. The Liberty Pole is back....
My question here may be a little premature since the plan is preliminary, but why are they discussing placing recreated canal locks in Buffalo's inner harbor? Especially when 30 mins north here in Lockport you have the real deal in two operating electrical locks and a push to restore the old northern Flight of Five locks? If this was private investment I would say good luck. But having a very heavy public investment, would it not make more sense to put some of the state money toward the Flight of Five restoration and then cross promote both places and the region as a whole?

WNY's cultural/tourism push has been based on having the "real deal" to offer. A prime example of which is the $50 mil Darwin Martin House restoration and another is the unearthing of the Commercial Slip on the site in discussion. Why are we then putting money into "fake" pseudo-historical artifacts when we already possess one of the marvels of early 19th century American engineering? It is smart of Buffalo to use its historical place as the Western Terminus of the old Erie Canal. It would be even smarter for all relevant portions of Erie and Niagara county to use their portion of the Erie Canal history as part of a team instead of trying to tell the whole story them self.

And as a side note: the image above has me wondering if there is anywhere to rent canoes or kayaks along the canal in Lockport? Locking thru in one of them is a fun and unique experience while just paddling along the canal is nice and relaxing in itself.

Older topic here: Flight of Five 2011 Opening?

From Buffalo News:

Polls will be open from noon to 9 p. m. Tuesday. Voting sites include the high school for those who live outside the city limits.
Voting will also take place in Washington Hunt Elementary School for the 1st Ward; the Board of Education offices for the 2nd Ward; Anna Merritt Elementary for the 3rd Ward; Charles A. Upson Elementary for the 4th Ward; and Roy B. Kelley Elementary for the 5th Ward.

Article also further explains funding:

Coder said that’s because of the rules for the state building aid on which the district is depending to pay for the projects.

She said the athletic complex “would not be aidable if it passes on its own, because [projects eligible for aid] have to be connected to work in a building.”

Schrader said even if everything passes, there’s no guarantee the project would be built. The district will have to send a formal funding request to the state Education Department, which isn’t required to say yes.

“The state could refuse. Economic climate, whatever,” Schrader said.

Coder said the district plans to sell $26 million worth of 15-year bonds to borrow money for the project. The principal and interest costs of the bonds are supposed to be 90 percent covered by state aid.

The remainder of the coverage comes from slightly over $3 million in a district capital reserve fund and $940,000 from a state grant that’s already in hand through a program called EXCEL, for “Expanding Our Children’s Education and Learning.”

No matter what your choice, get out and vote tomrrow: Tuesday the 16th.

Older post/dicussion here: Lockport Schools: Capital project


The Great Over-Night Street Parking Debate

Posted by Anonymous

(Image - Small driveway on High St. Lockport NY)

The on-street parking debate has surfaced again. From recent LUSJ:

Article 2008-12-10

Article 2008-12-11

and Buffalo News:

Article 2008-12-11

A resident on Irving Street is arguing with city hall over street parking permits and/or being allowed to have a tenant of her 2-family house park on the right of way between the street and sidewalk. City hall appears to be very stingy in handing out the $40 street parking permits as LUSJ reports only currently 14 are issued. But they counter with the fact that those 14 are out of 17 requests.
The city code states:
§ 183-23. Parking prohibited.
9-27-1989; 6-18-2003]
No vehicle shall be left parked or standing on
any public highway in the City of Lockport between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and
6:00 a.m.
The parking of vehicles at any time upon such portion of a
designated street or highway within the City boundary with a pavement width of
less than 21 feet is hereby prohibited. The City Clerk shall keep a record of
such streets on file as determined by the Department of Engineering.
Parking between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Effective September
1, 2003, no vehicle shall remain parked upon any street in the City's Central
Business District between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless the owner
has applied to the Traffic Advisory Board, and received from the City Clerk upon
recommendation of the Traffic Advisory Board, an authorized parking permit;
provided, however, that this section shall not apply to physicians while making
professional calls to or any ambulance or vehicle of a funeral director while
such vehicle is engaged in professional calls.
Authorized parking
permits shall be issued by the City Clerk upon recommendation of the Traffic
Advisory Board, upon verification that suitable off-street parking is not
available and that it is impractical for the owner to provide off-street
All permits shall be effective from January 1 through
December 31 of each year. The annual fee for such permit shall be $40. Payment
shall be in cash, check or money order drawn on United States funds made payable
to the "City Clerk." The fee is nonrefundable and will not be prorated. In the
event a check is returned for insufficient funds, the permit shall automatically
be revoked without further notice to the permit holder, and a penalty of $15
shall be charged. A replacement fee of $1 shall be charged for lost or stolen
Permits must be displayed from the rear view mirror of your
vehicle and may not be transferred from vehicle to vehicle. Failure to properly
display said permit shall result in the issuance of a parking ticket.
As widely seen, most municipalities in Erie and Niagara county have no overnight parking in the winter. Buffalo I know is one exception and relies on alternating sides. Growing up on the east side of Buffalo I was familiar with that system and the mess that it usually left throughout the winter. If residents of a municipality that prohibits on-street parking are able to survive the 4 months of Nov-Mar should they not be able to use the same system for the other 8 months?
I will admit it can be a 60-180 second pain in the ass to shuffle vehicles in the driveway. I also know I'd be more inclined to leave my rusty chore truck "out of my way" in the street while leaving the two newer vehicles in the driveway. But I do also enjoy the cleaner streets and the open night vistas that no on-street overnight parking allows. I do feel much safer walking the dog after dark without being wedged between a wall of cars on the streets and houses on the lots.
“We’re talking about a four-hour window,” Pasceri said. “For four hours, that’s
when all the streets would be plowed, when all the crime would happen? I don’t
believe it.”
This statement, while "true", does not fully represent reality. It is not as if the streets are filled with cars until 2AM and they are then moved to off-street parking. The no overnight ensures a vast number of vehicles are off the street long before the 2AM cut-off.
I am not expert in parking by any means. It is one of my more passionate subjects yet I have yet to obtain any books on it. Its value and correct implimantation is often misunderstood. I do look forward to obtaining a copy of The High Cost of Free Parking after I finish 4 books that I currently have queued up. If an area is not paved to hell and back it is often construed as inconvenient or not resident friendly etc. I feel that is a false assumption. We can see the type of environments that it gives us. This will pry have to be a topic I'll have to revisit down the road once I am able to read up on it a bit and become more informed.
There is pry a solution somewhere. One could pry involve higher permit fees to curb misuse (overuse) with the funds going back into infrastructure improvements on the streets they are used on. Possibly allow landlords to apply for them so they can distribute the cost of the permit over the 12 month rental period for their tenants? Your thoughts?
UPDATE: 12-15-2008:
LUSJ reporting that after deliberations the city decided to keep the parking system as is.
UPDATE: 12-16-2008
LUSJ reporting a possible softening stance. That the council decided to tell the traffic board to let them decide seems out of place. Noted this portion:

After a weekend drive around the city really looking at residents’ parking arrangements, he added, he may go next to the zoning board and ask it to not treat every front-yard parking variance request the same.

Please do not allow zoning variances for front yard parking. Street parking way before front yard parking should be a given every where but one lane alleys. If there are to be more permits handed out. Make sure the fees go to street improvements.


Google Street View has arrived in Lockport

Posted by Anonymous

View Larger Map

Well Google Street View finally has Lockport all "mapped" out. For those unfamiliar, GSV allows one to "virtually" walk down any street in an area where one of their vehicles has driven the street. A patented 11 lens roof mounted camera simultaneously takes hi-resolution images which are then stitched in software. More information here. You can even walk the streets of Rome.

There are also sights dedicated to "funny" images found in street view:
Best Pictures from Google Streetview

And of coarse there are several privacy related lawsuits on going over the use of this technology.
The picture of my house shows my front steps were yet to be stained, so I figure Google is still using the "at least 6 months old" imagery rule.

What do you think of this technology? I've found it useful when visiting new places. It makes it very easy to look for landmarks when on your way. With the imagery being at least 6 months old, I am not too concerned with privacy. Though if they had happened to have caught me landscaping in the front yard with plumbers crack showing, I'd be sure to request the image's removal.... ;)

(Image - Genessee facade of Grace Episcopal)
LUSJ Interview with Rev. William Winston

First off it is wonderful news to hear that Grace Episcopal now has a resident priest. It is hard to imagine a parish having to go that long without one. Being a product of 13yrs of Catholic/Jesuit schooling, I always found comfort and stability having a consistant "face" to the parish. Every band can use a good front man. ;)

This quote was a highlight for me:
We tend to be the folks, wherever I’ve been, across the nation, who go where angels fear to tread.

as was this one:
I think Episcopalians have a reputation anyway, in any community, of being extraordinarily active in the community, encouraging excellence, and working against the evil, the real evil in a community, and they’re addressing the real problems. I say “real” intentionally, because I know that sometimes people will make a big do about a problem that’s not a real problem, or a “safe” problem.

It made me think of the "Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays" crusade. It has seems to have quieted down a bit but it would appear to me that a lot of those efforts could have been placed in more focused efforts to do deeds that promoted Catholicism a opposed to "intimidating" people to say a certain phrase. Especially during a season that has had a secular relevance for quite a while now and is a season that is meaningful to a number of religions. I say inspire them to use it.

From Grace's "History Page" it mentions:
During the third fifty years the Church interior was renovated, the outside repainted and the Parish House remodeled. On February 2, 1975 the Church and second floor of the Parish House were destroyed by fire. Only the stone walls and the towers were left standing. The congregation voted to remain in the inner city and reconstruction began in April 1976. Our present house of worship was rededicated on Sunday, May 22, 1977.

Anyone remember this or have any pictures to share? It is wonderful that they remained committed to the site and the city and rebuilt.

I, along with my girlfriend, have been meaning to check out Lockport's parishes for a while now. Following Drew Ludwig at Lafayette Presbyterian Church on Elwood in Buffalo has reinvigorated my desire to be a part of a parish that is community based and all inclusive while also looking to push the boundaries of what a church can be for a neighborhood. Toward the end of summer I started shooting the front facades of a few of Lockport's churches. Grace Episcopal stands out with how it bookmarks Cottage St (before it bends at Genessee) looking from Main St. Once I finally have access to my new camera body on Christmas morning (such a tough wait for a great gift!!!) I plan to contact several churches to do a more thorough exterior and interior shoot of each with a concurrent goal of learning about each. If anyone is active in any of these churches and has an "in" for me, let me know. I'd be happy to do a little write-up here.

I also find it fascinating that we now have someone who is not only a friend of Stephen King but someone who has personally consulted on one of his books. I have been a big King fan since picking up the first "Dark Tower" book back in high school. I am sometimes let down by how he ends his stories (maybe because I don't want them to end?)but I never fail to become immersed in the worlds and characters he creates. He is one of the few authors who's words seem to effortlessly translate to a palpable word for the visual-tangible person I am.

Some more of my Churches of Lockport pictures.

This disregarded?

For this?

A great local example of my last post "Smart Code- Form Based Zoning" has just popped up in Buffalo. Here is the Buffalo News article. A 4 story highway off-ramp hotel with surface lots was chosen as the preffered option by the "Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency" while a 10-story mixed-use hidden-parking competing proposal was not allowed to present based on not meeting current zoning codes for the strip of land; even though the design nicely meets the goals for the site listed in the award winning Queen City Master Plan accepted by the common council in 2006 and preffered by the nearby waterfront condo owners.

Discussions/Images/Commentary on Buffalo Rising:

Zoning Inspired

Planning Inspired

Even though there may other underlying factors here (political insider/build the easiest/quickest before next elections, etc), the vote was rested on the current zoning requirements. It reinforces how all those "pretty" visions we routinely see in plans for an area almost never come to be. The Zoning is either against, or not defined enough, to produce what we plan and envision for an area. (See Chapter 3 of the Smart Code Slide Show)

It will be interesting to see what happens when it reaches city council vote since the three dissenting votes on the board came from city council members. It appears many residents are already writing in.

As Lockport moves ahead will our city codes give us more of the types of environments that we enjoy or will we continue to get auto-centric islands? If the ice rink, Flight of Five and any other future development ever give rise to a new hotel downtown, etc will we get an island off by itself or something that becomes a dynamic part of Main St./downtown/street scene?

We don't know what the future will offer us. but for now, we can help ensure if it does offer us something, our codes will help ensure it moves torward a "whole greater than the sum of its parts"


Smart Code - Form Based Zoning

Posted by Anonymous

Since I was young I have always been fascinated with the built environment around me. Growing up on the east side of Buffalo, I was cradled in a mix-use environment that was very stimulating and that still holds endless curiosity with me.

I, like many others, pine for the "old days" of a vibrant mixed use living environment (for me it was still there in the 80's ;). See my recent Nostalgia post. The question is how do we get back there? As we can see form recent development on Main St, current zoning can give us projects ranging from the people and car friendly Ulrich City Center to the typical auto-centric site plans of the Walgreen's and Family Video properties.

There is a push in Buffalo to institute a "smart code" to be ensure that the award winning city master plan that was adopted a few years back can actually be implemented. It is a form based code system which goes beyond the usual "use, density, and parking" defined in most typical zoning ordinances. The ordinances which have shown to give auto-centric site plans which consume vast amounts of land, offers little long term benefit to the area, and often depresses the value of the surrounding neighborhoods (NIMBY lawsuits anyone?).

I'd ask those interested in what our streets and neighborhoods look like to watch this slide show. It is put together for Buffalo and thus offers an example that is tangible to all of us. It gives a wonderful history lesson of development and examples from Buffalo's current "outdated" zoning and examples of successful form based coding in other cities. It takes about 20 minutes to skim through and get the jist of it depending on how fast you click through it. I found it easy to "study" many of the slides and took more time.

Please comment on what you think of the proposed code system and its goals and how you think something like this would apply here in Lockport. I sent this slide show of to Mayor Tucker also. Our DT was dismantled parcel by parcel (or block by block during urban "renewal") and it will also be put back together parcel by parcel. What do we want the sum of the parts to be? If you have a counter point link showing how great auto-centric planning is, please feel free to share it.

Lockport Zoning for comparision. I have yet to go completely through it.

Here are several quotes from the


Cities have to move to a new system. They should look at the streets they like and the public spaces they like and then write the rules to get more of what they like and less of what they don’t. Conventional zoning doesn’t do that. It just gives a us a use and a density and then you hope for the best.

In the US, types of form-based coding go back to the colonial days. The 1733 Plan of Savannah Georgia laid-out by General James Oglethorpe, is one of the most studied and celebrated city plans in the world.

Conventional zoning typically regulates three basic metrics: use, density, and parking. However, to produce great public spaces, regulating only these three things has proven insufficient. A fourth metric is necessary: design. Form-based codes add that necessary fourth dimension to the development process.

Unified codes are effective because they integrate different elements of a project usually spread across several municipal departments – agencies that often to not communicate with each other under the current system.

It is important to note that FBC’s do not specifiy any particular style. As along as the basic scale, proportion, and siting requirements are met, buildings can be any style….historic districts may have some finer control…”

UPDATE: 12/05/08 - Added sample slide images


Thanksgiving Lull

Posted by Anonymous

(Image: my first T-day back in 1976. Photo by my grandfather)

Welcome to December. I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend. This discussion blog for Lockport has passed two-weeks old with few issues. Thank you to everyone who has visited (292 unique visitors since I started tracking). I'm pleasently surprised.

This started out as a place to avoid some of the lack of respect to posters found elsewhere and to be a place to preserve ideas where they will not be removed after a certain period of time. The biggest "complaint" so far has been the ease of finding new comments, especially for older posts. Most users who frequent forums are used to the threads with the most recent comments getting moved to the top. Unfortunately that is not an option in this format which is more time of post driven. For those registered to comment, you do have the option of following comments to that post by selecting "Subscribe by e-mail" which I show below highlighted in yellow. You can also un-subscribe thru the same process. Comments will appear in your e-mail without having to check here for them.

I also have the side bars showing 5 recent comments (not necessarily the 5 latest) and a link to see the last 25 comments posted to the blog. I also show which posts I have updated with new information/links/pictures/etc. If I can make anything else easier, please let me know by e-mail which can be found in my profile or leave a comment in this post Thank you to those that have given feedback so far.

As for the "lull" portion of my title, I did not come across anything post-inspiring in the LUSJ or the Buffalo News over the Thanksgiving break. I do have a couple topics non-article related which I will be posting on soon. If anyone has any topics, as always please let me know. I hope that more of those that used to post on the LUSJ forums will join back in. I enjoy conversing about where we live and what could make it better even if the veiws don't agree.

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