The Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) has released plans for streetscape and other improvements along Ellicott Street downtown. The Ellicott Street Placemaking Plan (here) contains design principles to guide development of the project area and calls for incremental streetscape enhancements to create a strong linkage between downtown and the Medical Campus as well as better connections from near East Side neighborhoods to downtown. The plan focuses on Ellicott Street from Sahlen Field to Goodell Street.
“The placemaking plan incorporates stakeholder engagement, public-private partnership opportunities, property and infill development concepts and recommendations for development tools and implementation strategies,” says BUDC President Brandye Merriweather. “This strategy is one of the many outcomes of our Race for Place efforts. This effort looks not only to improve connections between city blocks and buildings, but most importantly it looks to connect the Buffalo community.”
The project looks to improve the public setting to attract and encourage continued investment, real estate development, talent attractions and add to downtown’s quality of life for employees, residents and visitors.
The above section diagram shows the design for Ellicott Street, retaining the 60-foot right-of-way. Fundamentally, the street will remain two-way, with one lane in each direction, parking on each side and 10-foot sidewalks. The travel lanes will be shared spaces for multi-mobility, including bicycles, buses and cars. The parking lanes would accommodate temporary patio expansions. At intersections, bump outs would extend the 8-foot width of the parking lane to shorten crossing distances.
A placemaking strategy for the Ellicott Street corridor was a key recommendation of the previously-released Downtown Infrastructure and Public Realm Master Plan. It was determined to be a priority project due to its existing character, potential to become a true mixed-use neighborhood, infill potential and its proximity to other investments such as the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the 201 Ellicott project, and future redevelopment of the Mohawk Ramp.
The document includes massing diagrams for potential development on M&T Bank’s parking lot behind the Market Arcade (above) and improvements to the Central Library to soften the visual barrier the building creates spanning Ellicott Street (below).
The Ellicott Street Placemaking Plan is intended to function as a playbook for the revitalization of the Ellicott Street Corridor and can be used as a guide for other streetscapes in the city as well. Moving forward, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation is the leader, but not the sole owner of this strategy. BUDC is expected to seek partnerships with public, private and non-profit stakeholders to develop buy-in to the common vision and investment in Ellicott Street as a major economic and quality of life initiative for downtown.