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Piazza Genesee di Buffalo – Part 2

Author: Architect Charles Gordon

Flower District/ M & T Campus Vision Piazza Genesee di Buffalo – Part 2 in 7 part series – See Part 1

It’s always the case that great infrastructure, aka the Public Realm (streets, sidewalks, etc), drives private investment. Who can imagine Manhattan’s legendary Flatiron building footprint without the unique geometry first created by 5th Avenue/Broadway intersection?

A new intersection – a piazza shared between pedestrians, bicyclists and autos [and buskers]… created by “deforming Chippewa Street termination at Genesee”… is now the challenge for Buffalo. Albeit a challenge (not easy), it’s also very doable and will add to the “String of Pearls” along Genesee.

FIG 3 string of Pearls--hail of shrapnel

FIG 4 Piazza Genesee di Buffalo 1

What is it & Why do it

This new PLACE is really little more than re-align Chippewa Street over vacant land near Genesee Street. The resulting intersection at Genesee approximates 90 degrees, a configuration with very simple geometry – loved by most Urban Planners and Civil Engineers. A very similar initiative to terminate Broadway at Washington Street 25 years ago tremendously enhanced Lafayette Square/Thursdays at the Square.

FIG 6 Inspiration for piazza 1

FIG 7 Inspiration for piazza 3

The paving & sidewalk Design and the DETAILS create the Piazza.

FIG 5 Inspiration for piazza 1

FIG 8 Inspiration for piazza symphony Circle

FIG 9 Piazza di Buffalo Inspiration

What will this new street accomplish?

New Chippewa termination will:

  • Reduce asphalt by over 300%

FIG 2 reduce sea of asphalt

  • Redeem highly valuable real estate for higher/ better use –pedestrians most especially
  • Enable space for the Piazza
  • Transform an Unsafe & Unsightly intersection in a single investment initiative…

FIG  1.1 surface parking at every  corner

FIG 1.2create a place at Genesee Chippewa intersection

…into potentially THE most vital place in the future M & T Downtown Neighborhood District

FIG 11    low level Birdey lkg toward Piazza 2

FIG 12  LKG W up new CHIPPEWA-- Piazza Genesee di Buffalo

How to get it done

Getting it done will not be easy nor simple. BUT the target area is wholly owned by either M&T or City of Buffalo. The land is vacant except for parking. The initiative will require some typical underground utility relocation; and might undo some, but certainly not all, of ongoing streetscape improvements to Genesee Street.

I argue that Private Investment will surely follow a very sound bankable public investment – it always has before.

Next: Maureen’s Alley and the “HUB block”

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