(WBEN) The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has begun tearing down the first of it's Metro Rail platforms on Main Street, as part of the effort to bring cars back to the area that was once conceived as a pedestrian mall.
The final run of the Metro Rail last night was the last one to carry passengers to or from the Theater District Station. Today the station in the 600 block of Main Street is is closed and work has begun on tearing it down.
"Following the removal of Theater Station, Metro customers, including persons with disabilities will continue to have access to the Theater District from the Fountain Plaza Station via signalized pedestrian crosswalks with disabled access features. The distance between Theater Station and the Fountain Plaza Station is 546 feet," the authority said in a prepared statement.
With the closing of Theater Station, Fountain Plaza Station becomes the first and last station in the Free Fare Zone. Work on returning traffic to Main Street has been underway since 2008, but demolition of the stations marks the first large scale infrastructure changes to accommodate it.
MetroRail began construction in 1978 when the retail climate downtown was stronger. The line opened in 1985 with plans for a 6.4 mile pedestrian plaza and fare free zone, where the rail could drop people off for shopping or various special programming. But in the intervening years, ridership and retail waned, prompting the push for return of vehicular traffic
Fountain Plaza now becomes the first and last station in the fare free zone.