By Matthew Ricchiazzi:
I would never suggest putting a stadium on the waterfront if it inhibited public access —- but what if we could build a waterfront stadium in a location where it could uniquely improve public access? Let me suggest this for your thoughts: a Buffalo Bills Stadium built on top of a fully functioning sewage treatment plant on Bird Island.
The West Side and our waterfront north of Front Park to Riverside needs a lot of work. Reconfiguring the Interstate 190 — into an at-grade all-access boulevard that weaves through new densely developed mixed use streetscapes abutting the water’s edge — would transformationally relink the city to its waterfront, and would invite untold sums of new investment.
This stretch of waterfront has been treated like a muddy backwater — something that we’ve turned our backs to with industry, sewage, railroads, and highways — rather than embrace, shape, and redefine.
So let me suggest a few improvements: narrowing of the Black Rock Canal for new development sites and waterfront park space; redeveloping the Black Rock Wharfs into a vibrant residential district; beginning the preservation-oriented rebirth of the Niagara Street industrial corridor, but with a broader mix of uses; and utilizing the Belt Line for local mass transit.
Matthew Ricchiazzi holds an MBA in Finance and Private Equity, and a BS in Urban Planning, both from Cornell University. He founded Change Buffalo PAC to promote issues of new urbanism in Western New York. He can be reached at changebuffalo.org.