Upon any mention of the city's Union Ship Canal, most people have no idea what you're talking about. That will soon change. The parkland surrounding the canal is finally taking shape, and I must say that it's looking like this inlet will soon become a major destination for cyclists, runners and anyone else who enjoys the waterfront (see plans
). The Union Ship Canal, or Ship Canal Commons as it is being branded, is the final Outer Harbor destination within city limits. It is located at the furthermost point of Tifft Nature Preserve and is home to an industrial office and manufacturing park. Despite the industrial nature of the land, the public park that surrounds the canal is loaded with features that you might not expect to find, including gigantic mounds of grass that mimic the old coal piles that were once piled along the water's edge (lead image).
The lamp standards are in place, the perimeter stone walkways and railings are installed, tree plantings have begun, roadways and roundabouts are ready, even the metal Union Ship Canal entrance sign has been positioned. The vista from the top of the grass mounds (with stone walking paths) is incredible. This is what a real canalway is supposed to look like. There's plenty of room for small craft boating activity, and a canoe and kayak launch is planned. A pedestrian bridge is situated at the lake entrance and a second bridge is on the way. It looks like much of the planting will one day obscure various industrial boxes at Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park
, which will be of great aesthetic benefit.
As I mentioned, this is the city's lakeside bike path terminus that culminates with a sweeping route along the perimeter of the canal. Once open, cyclists will have plenty to see and do at various locations along the entire route.
^Giant mound to mimic placement of coal piles - perfect for kids and scenic views
^View from on top of hill with stone path
^Construction of bike and jogging path at entrance with plantings
^Steel girders will be holders for historic and interpretive signage
^The concrete structure is a launch area for car-top water craft