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Buffalo Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP)

In other aquatic fronts, the community is invited to peruse Buffalo Green Code’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (see here). To start, the program’s website maps out the waterfront revitalization area boundary. From there, the site is broken down into a handy guide that does an excellent job at mapping out the lands and structures in question, the goals, green initiatives, boating, water policies, wildlife habitats, marinas and parks, the players, the process, etc. The Buffalo Waterfront Development Advisory Committee addresses accessibility, transportation projects, diverse use, planning and design and financial payback.

After reading through the fact sheet, I decided to compile some of the key components (long term and short term)…

To start with, a read through the Fact Sheet sums up a few recent developments…

“In May 2014, the NFTA issued a request for proposals for the purchase of its remaining Outer Harbor land holdings. the 50 acre site, has 1,583 feet of frontage along Lake Erie. It features a 548,000 square foot brick and steel building (a former Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant), a 95,248 square foot warehouse, a 4,468 square foot pre-engineered steel building, a 7,006 square foot building (“Filbin Building”) and 500 parking spaces. Proposals are due to the NFTA on July 1, 2014. The site is currently zoned M-3 Heavy Industrial. However, the Green Code has designated the site for mixed use (N1-C).” – LWRP

And then there’s the following call to action plans, which pertain to connectivity:

Transportation Projects

T1. Complete the Niagara Street/Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway Reconstruction Project from Niagara Square to Ontario Street;

T2. Finalize the design and implementation of the Scajaquada Expressway boulevard feasibility project;

T3. Improve the Virginia/Carolina I-190 interchange at Niagara Street as a City waterfront gateway;

T4. Implement the Erie Street Extension project from Main Street to Lakeside Boulevard;

T5. Implement the Cars on Main Project from Terrace to South Park; and

T6. Design and implement the Perry Street/Cobblestone Connection, consistent with the Ohio and Niagara Street efforts.

Moving on, these other key elements are outlined on this comprehensive “to do” list:

Public Space/Amenity Projects

A1. Implement the Black Rock Canal Park Improvements; waterfront structures, particularly the Buffalo Smelting Works, Agway Grain Storage Building, Grain Elevators and Freezer Queen…

A2. Complete heritage interpretive elements of Broderick Park improvements;

A3. Implement the LaSalle Park/Black Rock Canal shoreline stabilization project;

A4. Coordinate public investments in the Erie Basin Marina, Small Boat Harbor and NYPA First Buffalo Marina docks and boating service facilities to maximize benefit to the boating community;

A5. Implement the Grain Elevator and Waterfront Bridge lighting project; and

A6. Develop a master plan for the City’s parks, open spaces, trails and greenways.


^Black Rock Canal Park

Here are some more critical moves that will get the waterfront moving in the right direction:

Public Facility Rehabilitation

PF1. Relocate or screen the City’s auto impound to reduce visual blight;
PF2. Repurpose the Cotter Point former army storage building;
PF3. Explore opportunities to utilize the Colonel Ward Pumping Station historic structure for public access and waterfront revitalization activities;
PF4. Phase development of public parcels in Canalside and Erie Basin Marina
PF5. Reactivate the DL&W Station;
PF6. Reactivate the Ford Terminal Complex on the Outer Harbor, including public access along the water’s edge; and
PF7. Secure the City-owned Cargill Pool and Concrete Central grain elevators and study opportunities for reuse and heritage interpretation.


^Colonel Ward Pumping Station – Rendering Courtesy John Montague


^Great Lakes Center @ Cotter Point


^Great Lakes Center @ Cotter Point


^Cotter Point (or former seaplane launch site at LaSalle Park?)

BRO readers will be happy to see these short term points addressed:

Minimize at-grade parking facilities within the LWRA (area) to preserve land for public access along the water’s edge and adjacent in-land commercial development;

Minimize waterfront truck traffic to the maximum extent practicable, redirecting through traffic to non- waterfront routes, while supporting truck traffic associated with local business;

BRO readers will be happy to see these long term points addressed:

a. Reduce the footprint of the I-190 and the adverse impacts on Niagara Street redevelopment areas, public access and property values. Options previously considered include improved regional traffic management, relocation of the I-190 in Black Rock/Riverside to the Tonawanda rail corridor and/or the conversion of Route I-190 to a boulevard;
b. Reduce the impact of the I-198/I-190 interchange on Scajaquada Creek, Black Rock Canal and the Scajaquada Harbor redevelopment areas, public access and property values;
c. Develop the Buffalo River Greenway as the southern complement to the Jesse Kregal Creekside Trail system;
d. Construct a connection between the Tifft Street and Route 190 to redirect truck traffic from the waterfront inland and support the redevelopment of the Riverbend Brownfield Opportunity Area; and
e. Remove the Skyway bridge overpass.


^Niagara Street Waterfront Corridor Concept (Artist’s rendering for illustration purposes only)

Let’s not forget about our international border…

Support the creation of attractive landscapes that welcome travelers from Canada through the
1. Revitalization of former industrial structures and vacant lands along Niagara Street, north of the Peace Bridge to Ferry Street; and

2. Development of landscape gateway features

i. along Route I-190 in LaSalle Park;

ii. between the Hope VI housing project and Route I-190;

iii. at the Carolina/Virginia Thruway interchange; iv. at Porter Avenue; and

v. at the US Peace Bridge Plaza.

Support improved connections between the US Shoreline Trail and the Niagara River Parkway trail bicycle and pedestrian trail system;

Support cross-border recreational boating and fishing with clearly identified marine border check-in sites;

Promote improve passenger train connections along the waterfront from downtown Buffalo through Niagara Falls to Toronto;

To boom or not to boom?

The Niagara River Ice Boom should be periodically reviewed to determine any potential adverse impacts of ice boom operations on:
a. water recreation and industry;
b. the Buffalo microclimate and growing season;
c. Lake Erie evapotranspiration rates and water levels; d. fish and wildlife and their habitats; and
e. Niagara River erosion and sedimentation patterns.

There is a comprehensive action strategy (see here) that takes the viewer/reader through some of the visions, from Black Rock Harbor Village…


^Black Rock Harbor Concept (Artist’s rendering for illustration purposes only)


^Black Rock Harbor Concept (Artist’s rendering for illustration purposes only)

to Scajaquada Creek Harbor…


^Scajaquada Creek Harbor Concept (Artist’s rendering for illustration purposes only)


^Scajaquada Creek Harbor Borrowed Concept 

to the Cobblestone District…


^Cobblestone District Concept (Artist’s rendering for illustration purposes only)

and on to Ohio (Street) Boulevard and Riverworks…


^Ohio Street Corridor and Riverworks Concept (Artist’s rendering for illustration purposes only)

Transportation Projects (see here) range from early connector concepts that would connect Niagara Street to Lasalle Park via a boulevard (but still apparently being considered), to the Scajaquada Expressway Boulevard Project…


^Earlier concept showing grand boulevard connecting Niagara Street to new waterfront parkway and LaSalle Park

to the Erie Street waterfront connections…


^Realignment of Erie Street to reopen the connection between Main Street and the waterfront. This effort would re-establish the vista of the waterfront from downtown, recreate the historic Ellicott radial street pattern, improve pedestrian access and safety, and provide new urban development sites to help move the City to the waterfront. This project also provides opportunities to transform bridge underpasses from barriers to gateways through the use of lighting, artwork, signage and wayfinding. – LWRP

The Green Code LWRP Fact Sheet is broken down into everything that you ever wanted to know (or didn’t want to know) about our waterfront (see here). It also deals with Local Implementation, State and Federal Implementation, Consistency Review and Stakeholder Engagement & Consultation for those who want to get into the numbers and the policy (see contents).

Some of these ideas and visions have been around well before Buffalo Rising has been around. I’m surprised to see some of John Montague’s renderings even make an appearance. The good thing is that many of these incredible visions are not forgotten, and are being kept on the table to possibly implement with other, newer projects that are gaining momentum.

I was equally surprised to not see any of the other LaSalle Park Master Plans brought back to life (see here). This is an ideal waterfront parcel to reconsider where naturalized shorelines can be introduced (further away from the Pumping Station).

Also I believe that the one Cotter Point rendering was also considered for the former seaplane launch at LaSalle Park (not to be forgotten in the grand scheme of things). Maybe this committee should also be looking at what’s going on with the CPO Club (see here), considering that many of the surrounding areas are still apparently being considered for revitalization.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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