Improvements at LaSalle Park are now underway. Road construction has begun at the far end of the park. Once again, it’s too bad that there was little to no public input on this project. We could have been looking at another tremendous opportunity to expand upon our waterfront vision, but instead it looks as if the City decided to put a temporary bandage on this one. LaSalle Park should have much better pedestrian and cycling amenities, similar to Ring Road at Delaware Park. Instead, the park continues to be mainly allocated to cars, so that people don’t have to walk and can simply drive to their park destination. A more dedicated running and cycling track should have been designed, giving Buffalonians another reason to keep in shape. Other cities are clamoring to cater to bike culture – often times in Buffalo it’s an afterthought.
In fact, an entire Master Plan for the park should have been put forth. There were talks about introducing a naturalized shoreline back in 2010. The seawall is in deplorable condition, which means that it’s the perfect time to get a plan of action together. Unfortunately, once again, if a naturalized shoreline is constructed, there will still be cars parked diagonally along the waterfront. The cars and the parking should have been designated to the I-190 side of the park, where most of the football and softball games are played. Anyone with picnic supplies could have walked from those lots to the water – it’s not that far. Instead we continue to cater to car culture in our park systems and along our waterfront.
There are so many missed opportunities at LaSalle Park. The seaplane launch should be converted into a launch for kayakers. A staging area with limited parking could be designed, solely for loading and unloading personal watercraft. Not to mention seeing any sort of Maintained Meadows and/or rain gardens which would help retain greenery – instead the City parks are mowed to no end, and are therefore scorched. All the City had to do was take notes from some of the more revered and forward thinking parks in Buffalo, including River Fest Park and Wilkeson Pointe. In the end, LaSalle Park will continue to be known for an excessive amount of cars and litter that we have simply gotten accustomed to over the years.