ECC Follow-up

A coda of sorts to the ECC piece I did yesterday

  • – Transportation and alleged “remoteness” are the chief complaints that the anti-STEM-in-Williamsville people provide to prove their point. It, therefore, follows that improved transportation is the cheapest and most effective solution. 
  • – The opposition to expanding North Campus and including STEM is being led by a coalition of political and activist forces – not by ECC students themselves. Although ECC North is the oldest and main campus in the entire system, and although it accommodates the most students – the majority of whom are suburbanites – (correction: about 400 more students at North are from Buffalo than from the suburbs. However, a heat map shown on page 41 of the report designating North as the best location for the STEM building shows that most of these Buffalo kids live near the border with Amherst and Cheektowaga – around Cayuga and Wehrle and remarkably close to the North Campus. Thank you to David Steele from Buffalo Rising for pointing this out) the people bankrolling this have an ulterior motive. It’s unclear what that is, but it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine developers salivating over a large tract of available land between Main, Youngs, and Wehrle in “remote” Williamsville, by the airport and I-90. 
  • – Erie County loses $5.3 million every year in chargebacks to neighboring counties. That’s for Erie County kids who, for some reason, choose to attend community college in Niagara, Genesee, or elsewhere. 
  • – Community Colleges uniformly serve commuters. They are generally located as conveniently as possible to serve all commuters, not just some. For instance, Westchester’s is in Valhalla. Genesee’s is on the outskirts of the town of Batavia. Monroe County’s is outside the I-390 loop, between Brighton and Henrietta. Albany County doesn’t have one
  • – I was wrong yesterday – NFTA doesn’t run the shuttle bus. The people who attend ECC pay a transportation fee covering parking and an NFTA pass. So, we don’t have to improve a shuttle bus, but implement one that’s dedicated for these students, much like UB operates between its South and North campuses. 


  • The comments I’ve heard from actual ECC students who don’t have cars do suggest that transportation is an issue. And the door to door time via Metro is only part of the issue. How well the ECC class schedule meshes with the the bus schedule – if it does at all – is just as big a factor.

    An hour to get to class can be a problem in its own right, but if your choice is to arrive 90 minutes before class or 30 minutes after it started you can begin to see why accessibility is about more than travel time alone.

    • …and face it. Once said students are all done with their last class on Friday they have no problem driving down to Chippewa. The downtown drive doesn’t bother them at all.

  • It becomes impossible to support a regional urban core, admit the problems generated by this region’s “sprawl” and on the other had support expansion of ECC in Williamsville over downtown Buffalo.
    The only thing I see favoring this expansion in Williamsville is the availability of cheap land. The very same thing that favors sprawl in housing. Only that land favors Williamsville. All other factors favor downtown.

    • “all other factors favor downtown”…..Except the FACT that many do not want to travel downtown for an education (ie the loss of revenue to NCCC etc.). In addition where would the new building go downtown if they build new , but more than likely and the costly renovations to an older building……

      • For one thing, the study commissioned by ECC found that the buildings the school already owns downtown are underutilized. The study also identified a number of vacant buildings near ECC as potential candidates for ECC use – just not for the STEM building for whatever reason. It’s obvious from reading the study that the North location was a foregone conclusion and the study was just an expensive rationalization.

        Further, why should you create an entire new ECC-only bus line (which would surely result in hiking fees on ECC students) when instead you could build (or better yet, reuse) a building in the same city that the majority of ECC students live in that is already amply served by public transportation that is already paid for under the current fee regime and that complements the city and state’s current “meds and eds” economic development scheme?

        • “The study also identified a number of vacant buildings near ECC as potential candidates for ECC use – just not for the STEM building for whatever reason.”
          That reason may be the same reason so much is done wrongly in this county. Developers and contractors have an unprecedented grip on Erie County, all that goes on, all the decision making. Brand spanking new construction, needed or not, allows them an avenue into all our wallets.

      • As ECC already has a campus in Williamsville (and Orchard Park) it would be hard to finger the downtown campus for students going to NCCC.
        The day of living at home with parents while attending a community college is gone. Students want to live away from home, away from parents. My son could have lived with his mother and gone to GCC or lived with me and gone to ECC, saving a bunch of money. He elected to go to FLCC.
        My guess is these young hotbloods would much rather live downtown as opposed to Williamsville. You have Chippawa, night life and lots of stuff to do. What are they going to do in Williamsville? Dine at four and five star restaurants?
        I believe the Williamsville expansion plan requires new buildings. As robrobrobislike (below) points out the downtown facilities are underused. Also there are all kinds of possible sites near the existing building. Even an adequate section of the old HSBC tower could be used.

  • Let’s get real for a moment. This isn’t about shuttle buses, parsing the definition of “remote,” commute times, or the nefarious schemes of developers hoping to get their hands on that sweet Williamsville sod. It’s a fight over whether amenities properly belong in the city or the suburbs. That’s it.

    • I think amenities properly belong where they’re most needed. The heatmap in the STEM report shows that most of the city residents attending North Campus live quite close to it.

      • I agree that amenities belong where they are most needed. 6,593 Buffalo residents attend ECC. 448 Amherst residents attend ECC. The heatmap on page 36 of the report clearly shows that the overall student population is centered on Buffalo. It also shows that the largest density of city residents attending North Campus are geographicall centered on Main St. in the University district, where it is easiest to catch public transportation to North.
        Somewhat unrelated, but the report makes the point that more Buffalo residents attend North than attend City. I wonder how many students would attend each campus if the course offerings were identical (not practical, I know)?
        I also wonder if students take courses/majors that they are less interested in solely because it is available at the campus closest to home and easiest to get to. Are we funneling kids into pre-determined slots by locating certain programs at certain campuses? If building trades are located in the city and STEM located at North, is that done on purpose in order to give those with cars opportunities for careers with higher earning potential? Maybe it isn’t intentional, but will that be the result anyways? If someone from Elma wants to study STEM and has a vehicle, they can drive wherever the courses are offered, North, South, or City. But if the poor kid with no car wants to take STEM classes which are only located on North he needs to embark on an epic journey every day to get there. Instead he goes building trades and has a lower lifetime earning potential.
        Let me explain my epic journey comment. Let’s say a kid lives at 500 Northampton (I picked because it is an easy number and street to remember). He has class from 10-11am and 12-1pm on North Campus today. In order to get to class he needs to leave his home at the latest by 8:35, take a bus to the subway, take that to the end, then jump on another bus and arrive at 9:34. After class, let’s say he has a job at the Galleria (very common for city kids). He then has to take 3 buses to get to the Galleria, departing at 1:14 and arriving at 2:48. He then works from say 3-9pm (if his job is accommodating to his travel needs). He can then grab the bus which leaves the mall at 9:32 and arrive home at 10:43. This kid now spent almost 4 hours commuting that day to go to work and school. Compare that to city campus. He saves about 45 minutes on the morning commute, and about 45 more minutes on the commute to work. Giving him time to grab a bite to eat before his shift, or maybe gives him more options to work different shifts or jobs.
        I understand that this comment is long and somewhat rambling, but I’ve known many people who rely on public transportation, and greater density of centrally located public facilities would improve their educational and employment opportunities immensely. As a result, I can get rather long winded about the subject.

  • My understanding, based on data published by ECC, is that 52% of North Campus students reside in Buffalo. I am trying to wrap my head around how the math makes that majority from the suburbs.

  • Metro Bus service to the North Campus is abysmal. There is no reason to believe that it will, or should, improve. Cost savings, and improved services, can be provided by the consolidation of ECC downtown. Beneficial resources are already located downtown. So what if developers are salivating over the prospect of land on Wherle Drive, that can be leveraged to finance a superior City Campus.

  • – Erie County loses $5.3 million every year in chargebacks to neighboring counties. That’s for Erie County kids who, for some reason, choose to attend community college in Niagara, Genesee, or elsewhere.
    Complete that equation. What does Erie County gain from students commuting in from other communities? To what extent could that revenue be increased by having this facility located at north campus as opposed to the city campus, proximate to the BNMC?

    • Perhaps because North Campus is more convenient for people commuting in from rural counties, thanks to its proximity to the Transit corridor and exit 49 off the Thruway, I’m not so sure that would make a big difference.

  • The elephant in the room is racism, class-ism, and uptight white suburban-ism.

  • ECC’s mission is an affordable education from a 2 year school, not pandering to the erroneous preconceived notions, by suburbanites, about schooling downtown. A 17% graduation rate is indicative of failure. Surely, a consolidated, superior City Campus would lead to a higher success rate. The parking issue is a red herring. Parking was much more inconvenient at the classes I attended at North. The walk, in the dead of winter, was frequently longer on that wide open, sprawling campus. I never paid to park while attending City Campus. On the rare days when driving was bad, I found it more convenient to take the Metro Rail, or a Metro Bus, downtown for classes. Park and Ride lots make that a very viable option for students commuting from the eastern suburbs.

  • I would think that real leadership would question why there is a scheme of charge backs and would think of a way to fix this. What happens when NCCC inevitably loses those STEM students that will now attend ECC North? Logic seems to suggest that NCCC will then upgrade their facilities in order to attract back those students they lost. And since much of this money is paid for by NYS residents via sales and income taxes this internecine student tug-of-war is a destructive waste for everyone.

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