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Canalside: The Flip Side

As the momentum of Canalside starts to shift, there are always going to be people who don’t like to see the tides of change rolling in. Instead of green space and large concerts, there will one day be infill and mixed use buildings.

There is also a recent train of thought that The Skyway should come down, in order to free up more space for this infill and added infrastructure. Some people love the thought of The Skyway coming down. Other people aren’t so keen on the idea.

One BRO reader submitted an email to us this morning, which provided her assessment of the situation. She’s a fan of not changing anything, for fear that Buffalo will screw it all up. What we would like to pass along to this reader is that there was always a plan to build at Canalside. And if The City can ever improve ingress and egress to the Outer Harbor, it’s the perfect place to position the concerts that are currently being hosted at the Inner Harbor.

The Active Skyline by Nicholas Karl

As for The Skyway, instead of simply studying what it would take to tear it down, why not study all of the different options. There was a time in NYC when the plan was to remove all of the defunct elevated railroad tracks. After a monumental fight, the tracks were left intact and today it’s now known as The High Line.

Following is the aforementioned email from Kathy S:

I was thinking “Why don’t we make The Skyway into a High Line park sort of thing?” I did a search to see if the idea had been considered. That’s how I found BRO (see some ideas). And I could not believe a reader’s response about high density housing! Right–we just got the waterfront back, so let’s block it off with high density housing.

I am a 60-something who enjoys alternative rock and have been to every Kerfuffle since 107.7 started it. Plus a few other concerts as well.  “Meet you at Hanover and Prime” is a slogan in our family, and by the way, I live in Alden.  Many, many bands have remarked on the unique setting for concerts, and how much they enjoy playing the interesting Canalside venue. I too was on the “tear it down” bandwagon until I started going to the concerts, with The Skyway as a dramatic and acoustic backdrop.  I’ve heard that “We shouldn’t get too attached to the Canalside area as a concert venue.”  Well, in my humble opinion, to mess that up would be another classic Buffalo error. People like me come downtown precisely because of that space. We spend money there. We pay parking attendants. We buy food and beverages.  And souvenirs and more tickets! We visit the local establishments, not just the vendors within Canalside.

Skyway Park – Urbanist Tim Tielman’s idea to use half The Skyway as a park, which would free up the other half for development.

I’m so happy to come downtown now.  We probably come down at least once a month (up from once a year), and that number is rising. We’ve been downtown three times this month!  

2017 will be an interesting year for Canalside and the Outer Harbor. The wheels have been set in motion, and the destiny for these two major waterfront areas is changing. Not everyone’s going to like what they hear, but hopefully they will like what they eventually see.

Learn more about the proposed Skyway Park

Photo: Lead photo Chae Hawk | Photo by Christina Laing | Renderings Scott Wood

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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